Executing a comprehensive digital banking strategy can be a daunting task. Especially when you have to navigate multiple technology conversions to give your members the experience that they expect and deserve. That’s exactly the position Cindy Dickey found herself in at Fairmont Federal Credit Union. It was September of 2012, when Cindy and her team tackled the first conversion. She was vice president of quality assurance and risk management and tasked with moving her members from a very antiquated online banking solution to a new platform. Just five years later, Cindy and her team would find themselves in a similar situation. This time, Cindy would scour the provider landscape to evaluate technology advancements that had been introduced since the last conversion. That process would include comparing their current digital banking platform and partner – Alkami – with new solutions that had recently come to market. After an extensive vendor evaluation process, Fairmont decided to stick with Alkami.
“I guess you could say that we said yes to Alkami twice,” Cindy said as she reflected on the journey her credit union has traveled over the past decade. Today, as Fairmont Federal Credit Union’s newly appointed CEO, Cindy is still talking about the partnership she has formed with Alkami. “Back in 2012, we were just the second credit union on the Alkami platform. Then, in March of 2017, when we looked at the company and platform again, I could not believe the advancements Alkami had made. I remember that day well. We were all sitting around the conference room table watching Stephen Bohanon, the founder of Alkami, talk about the company and demonstrate the soon-to-be-released version of their platform. I turned to one of my executive team members and said this is amazing. They have brought to life the experience we have been wanting to provide our members for years.” Although Fairmont Federal Credit Union had been on Alkami’s platform since 2012 — this was the first time that Cindy really had the opportunity to engage directly with Alkami’s team — and what a difference that would make for Cindy moving forward.
She said, “We wanted to compete with the larger institutions and online banking providers. And after that meeting, we knew that Alkami could get us where we needed to be. So, in 2017 we decided to form a direct relationship with Alkami.” Cindy understood that moving Alkami’s platform, from their core vendor to a new instance that provided her team with more functionality and control, would require another conversion — but she knew it would be well worth the effort.
The technology transition didn’t come without challenges for Cindy and her team. In fact, she remembers when they ran into a technical issue along the way. “It was an issue that was outside of Alkami’s domain and I walked into a meeting where the team was troubleshooting the situation. I could tell they had someone on the phone and I suddenly realized that it was Stephen. I said to myself, why is he on this call? This isn’t even an Alkami issue. Stephen heard that we were having issues and wanted to help. He and everyone at Alkami genuinely wants to support us and truly desires to see our team succeed.” Cindy went on to say, “That’s when you know you have the right partner … when they are in the mix with you every day. We know that Alkami will always be there for us when it counts.” Cindy values that Alkami will not only be there to extend a helping hand, but also provide candid, transparent feedback when needed. She said, “You want to work with a partner that has similar beliefs and convictions, but you also want someone that can push you to become better at what you do. That’s precisely what we found in Alkami. By providing us with expert guidance, the team at Alkami has helped expand our thinking, equipped us with best practices, and strengthened the relationships we have formed with our members.”
Looking back, Cindy attributes much of Fairmont Federal Credit Union’s digital banking success to one thing: Relationships. “That’s the most rewarding part of all of this, the trusted relationships we have formed with every team member that we have worked with at Alkami. They are transparent, humble and honest people.” The partnership with Alkami has not only been a huge success for Fairmont members, it has also helped Cindy on a more personal and professional level. “For me, as a newly appointed CEO, I have learned a lot from Stephen and his leadership team. I think back when we first met and I remember him sharing his vision and mission for the company. You could see the passion in his eyes. Working with them now for several years, I can tell you it’s not just something they say. They strive to live their mission every day. In many ways, Alkami has shown me firsthand what it takes to build a successful culture, communicate a compelling vision and remain customer-focused while experiencing rapid growth. I think about what they have done at Alkami and I guess you could say that I hope to emulate much of the same here at Fairmont Federal Credit Union.”