Government // Enterprise Architecture
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InformationWeek 500: Fiserv Banks On Facebook App To Lure Younger Customers

MyMoney is geared toward credit unions seeking to cater to younger, Internet-savvy customers who are unlikely to walk into a brick-and-mortar branch.

Credit unions have an aging problem, and Fiserv set out a year ago to solve it. Battered by the cratering home mortgage business and vise-like credit markets, many financial institutions are seeking new ways to attract younger consumers. For regional credit unions, this problem is particularly acute because their customer base isn't getting any younger.

The average age of a credit union customer is 47 and creeping upward. This means that, unless credit unions can start replacing their older members, they are going to start seeing a rapid decline in business. Like many banks, credit unions have begun exploring online social networking as a way to acquire and retain customers from generations X and Y.

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In February, Fiserv, a provider of back-end bill-payment and transaction technology to financial institutions, launched a Facebook application called MyMoney that lets users of the popular social networking site do basic banking tasks such as paying bills, making transfers, and checking balances. Developed in-house specifically for Facebook, MyMoney is geared toward credit unions seeking to cater to younger, Internet-savvy customers who are unlikely to walk into a brick-and-mortar branch, says Fiserv's executive VP and CIO, Richard Jones.

"If they want to attract these Generation Y consumers, they have to go where they are," Jones says, "and Facebook is a clear place to find them."

Fiserv's executive VP and CIO, Richard Jones -- Photo by Jean Shifrin

Facebook fan Jones

Photo by Jean Shifrin
So far, 36 credit unions have signed on to use MyMoney; Fiserv plans to launch a wider marketing campaign for the application in the fall to go after its 2,200 member credit unions. Later this year, the company plans to start marketing the application more widely to its thousands of bank customers.

More than 1,000 Facebook users have downloaded the MyMoney application, says Fiserv product manager David Reed. "It's probably exceeded our expectations," he says. "We didn't think it would take off that quickly."

MyMoney is just one reason Fiserv is No. 4 in this year's InformationWeek 500 ranking. When Jones joined the company last January as CIO, he faced a python-swallowing-a-goat challenge: how to integrate technologies from 11 Fiserv acquisitions since 2006 while presenting customers with a unified set of products and services. To accomplish this feat, Jones has crafted a set of IT initiatives as part of Fiserv CEO Jeff Yabuki's broader Fiserv 2.0 business strategy.

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During Fiserv 1.0, Jones says, the company acquired lots of products, including those related to online, risk management, bill payment, and check clearing. "With Fiserv 2.0, we need to tie these together in a common architecture," he says.

Instead of selling financial institutions individual software products, Fiserv has focused its strategy on the ability to offer a range of services in a unified fashion so that clients can choose from them as if they're choosing from a menu, Jones says. The challenge, then, was to integrate all these different assets and create a more holistic, coherent suite of services for the company's bank and credit union clients, who themselves are faced with rapidly changing IT demands, stagnant IT budgets, and changing customer banking habits.

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