Technology has changed the face of banking, and it’s time for your branch to catch up or be left behind. Integrating your automation with your core is no longer something that can stay on your wish list—it has become a critical element of branch transformation that must be in place before your branch can effectively move into the future. And on the other side of the coin, core providers know that they need to make their core systems easier to integrate with, but there are a lot of things standing in their way.

CFM exists to help financial institutions build enterprise-level core integrations that work with the technology they already have in place, and with the core providers to make integration easier for their current and future clients. And since our integration advisors are experts at all this stuff, we figured we would interview our Director of Technology Alliances, Sonny Horton, so he could help you understand the process of core integration and create a plan that will produce the operational effectiveness and elevated level of service that today’s banking environment demands.

Q: First things first: who are you, what do you do here at CFM, and most importantly… what’s your favorite thing about your job?

A: “I am Sonny Horton, Director of Technology Alliances at CFM, and I develop new core channels as well as manage existing channels. And I think my favorite thing about this job is the impact I am able to make on the industry with every single new core integration we develop. For example, every time we integrate with a new core, not only does the core provider benefit by gaining the technical edge they need to stay relevant, but all their current and future clients now have the ability to integrate all of their cash automation and other peripherals into their core to become more efficient than ever before.”

Q: Can you explain how CFM works with core providers? 

A: “As financial institutions have more choices when it comes to core providers (our studies show it now can take under a year for a client to make a provider switch), it is more important than ever for cores to have modern, full-featured automation integrations in order to stay relevant. We generally work with core providers in one of two ways: (1) their developers integrate with CFM’s own rich API, or (2) if the core exposes a sufficient API, CFM can write an integration leveraging that API. Either way, this integration provides access to cash recyclers, kiosks, and other peripherals eliminates a heavy branch footprint by establishing an enterprise-level architecture, and allows for the implementation of CFM’s award-winning technologies, such as RTA (Remote Transaction Assist), which enables the Universal Associate Model, and our tablet-based associate product, known as Nomadix.”

Q: What’s preventing core providers from making the integration process easier for financial institutions? What kind of effort goes into integration?

A: “Simply put, they don’t generally have the domain knowledge that CFM has developed after integrating as many makes and models of cash dispenser or recycler available over the past 10 years or so, coupled with the lack of bandwidth to take on such a task. With a focus on compliance, stability, and security, many core development teams don’t have the time available to them, or the domain knowledge to do it efficiently or completely. On the other hand, here at CFM we do it so often that we’ve got it down to an art: our team has the critical domain knowledge and proven experience to build an effective universal integration for you that not only aligns with, but enables, current strategies such as open branch designs, universal associates, tablet-based associates, and self-service.”

 Q: Speaking of things slowing down core providers, what are the top challenges facing core providers today?

A: “I am glad you asked this one too, because this is a big part of my job. In fact, not too long ago I made a video about the 5 leading issues I saw challenging core providers. (see above) But without pulling that up, I would say, in no particular order those challenges include: retaining existing clients, expanding their product offerings, increasing speed to market, a better alignment with market needs, and attracting new clients.”

Q: Why should core providers work with CFM? 

A: “The core’s clients are shopping around because they want modern, open branches and the ability to implement retail-like services models, such as the Universal Associate Model. This requires a core system that provides complete and effective integrations.  If a core can’t enable the best in-branch experience, they stand a chance of falling closer to the bottom of the list during the RFP and evaluation process. The good news is that if they work with us, we can get them closer to the top of that list.”