Case Study: Windstream Financial Federal Credit Union

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Based in Lexington, Ky., the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union is a not-for profit financial cooperative. With five branches and 17 ATM machines located throughout the Bluegrass, its sole purpose is to serve the financial needs of its members by offering them quality service and products while maintaining a financially strong institution. Instead of planning for stockholder profits, credit unions such as the UK Federal Credit Union focus on serving their membership

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Case Study: Windstream Financial Federal Credit Union

  1. 1. Case Study: University of Kentucky Federal Credit UnionThe Company:Based in Lexington, Ky., the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union is a not-for profitfinancial cooperative. With five branches and 17 ATM machines located throughout theBluegrass, its sole purpose is to serve the financial needs of its members by offering them qualityservice and products while maintaining a financially strong institution. Instead of planning forstockholder profits, credit unions such as the UK Federal Credit Union focus on serving theirmembership.The Challenge:“When I was hired in 2005, we had $182 million in assets. Today, we’ve more than doubled thatamount, with more than $400 million in assets,” says Kathy Begley, vice president of operationsand credit at the UK Federal Credit Union. “We’ve added 20,000 members and expanded ourstaff by more than 40 percent to meet our members’ needs.”“Our members tend to be more tech-savvy, so they were quick to embrace the idea of bankingonline. They are always looking for more web functionality and mobile functionality,” saysKevin Lynch, the credit union’s IT manager. “That posed a significant challenge to us; as wemoved toward a Web 2.0 environment and providing additional online services, our existing T1line was not cutting it. Everyone noticed a drastic slowdown in network response time as weadded services, and we knew something had to change.”The challenge was heightened, Begley says, because of their customers’ expectation to beavailable 24/7. “We needed an infrastructure that provided us with both redundancy and therobustness so that we could make changes quickly,” she says.The credit union’s existing infrastructure was built on a centralized, point-to-point network. Forexample, its phone system was a physical system; if the credit union needed to move or add aphone line, its IT staff had to physically add the line, connecting it to the central location.Growing limitations like that helped Lynch realize that what had previously worked increasinglyno longer met his needs, nor the requirements of the credit union’s members.“We needed to move to a network that connected branches through a Metro Ethernet networkinstead of the way we’d been doing things, and needed an improved phone system as well,”Lynch says. “Our driving factor was that our operations had been centralized. If we had a poweror communications problem at our central location, we had a problem everywhere. We neededan infrastructure that would allow us to diversify our network operations, and allow us to operatemore effectively.”
  2. 2. The Solution: WindstreamWorking with Windstream team of consultants, the UK Federal Credit Union realized it neededmore than just an upgrade to its Internet connection; it would benefit from an improvement to itsphone systems as well. “We attended a Windstream seminar to learn more about unifiedmessaging, with voice over IP (VoIP) telephony at its core,” Begley says. “They helped usrealize it would help us build a more robust system, with the features and functionalities weneeded as we continued to grow.”Windstream’s “Hi-Touch” approach was crucial to helping the credit union develop and deploy asystem that met their business’ specific needs. “They showed us that by implementing anMPLS networking system, we could diversify our operations,” Lynch says. “They worked withus to craft a solution. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve sat with them to work things out.They really get to know our business and our setup. They’ve been good about listening to whatwe need, and have offered suggestions on how we can be even better.”Windstream helped the credit union overhaul its data and voice services, setting it up with a PRI23-channel voice system and an Ethernet-based IP network for data. Windstream alsoimplemented B1 analog lines for UKFCU’s fire alarm system, provided Internet service andphone conferencing capabilities, and delivered Cisco enterprise-grade PBX equipment and othersystem enhancements.“I really like how we get an email when someone leaves us a voice mail,” Begley says.“Advantages like that, and internal instant messaging drive productivity and get immediateresults.” She adds that the while the new phone system is far more efficient than what the creditunion previously had, the efficiency has been accomplished without having to hire more IT staff,except for an additional programmer. More importantly, Windstream provides continuous support at every stage. “If something goesdown, the responsiveness is incredible. We consider them to be as much of a partner as avendor,” she says.The Future:UKFCU is continuing to partner with Windstream to develop customized solutions for businesscontinuity, disaster recovery and colocation strategy. “Windstream has helped us developsolutions that not only meet our needs today that are user-friendly and admin-friendly, but whichalso give us a lot more flexibility, laying the foundation for the future,” Lynch says.“I’m appreciative of how willing they’re willing to work with other vendors,” Begley says. “I’veseen cases where different vendors don’t like to work together, putting us in the middle. That’s awaste of our time. By contrast, Windstream puts our needs at the very top and developssolutions to make it work.”
  3. 3. “We’ve been with Windstream for years,” Begley adds. “The one thing that stands out aboutWindstream is that they’re truly a partner to us. Windstream brings us new things all the time,helping to make us more efficient. I feel like they’re always there for us to make us the best wecan be. They really know our business, and that’s the result of a long-term workingrelationship.” 

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