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First American CU Conquers Innovation at its Core

Phil Peters, CEO at First American Credit Union, was on a very expensive legacy core. The average monthly invoice went on for six pages! The functionality was antiquated, and it was keeping his credit union from innovating. When a colleague asked Peters if he’d heard of Prodigy, he hadn’t but he was about to!


When First American Credit Union was in the market for a new core, CEO Phil Peters and others in the leadership team kicked the tires with a number of options. They were looking for a modern core that would work with the credit union to help it modernize and grow, so it could continue serving its members long into the future. More than likely they were looking for a cloud-based solution that could scale up with the $113.2 million credit union, as well as allow the credit union to partner with the vendors it chose – not that were chosen for the credit union – to best serve its members.

Choosing those partners can be overwhelming – from digital banking to ALM, Peters acknowledged, especially for leaders of smaller credit unions like his. Asking your peers what systems they’re using, he advised, is the best way to solve for that problem. Other cores say they can do everything for you, but they cannot be great at all those things, and it makes it much more difficult to break away when the time comes, he said.

Quote icon with man in suit and tie

We’re receiving twice the products and services at
half the cost!

- First American CU, CEO Phil Peters


Although Peters claims he was “almost sold from ‘hello,’” after meeting Prodigy CEO Amber Harsin, his due diligence would have to go deeper than that. In fact, he thought Prodigy sounded too good to be true. He traveled to Utah and the First American team was very thorough in its selection process, as credit unions should be when making such a big decision that can have a huge impact on the credit union’s future.

The technology was clearly different from most of what is on the market for credit unions today. In addition to the scalability of the cloud, it would allow for constant data backups to ensure seamless business continuity and rapid disaster recovery. Its streamlined user experience could prove to be a great benefit, especially when training existing employees during the conversion and when training new hires.

Additionally, First American wanted the freedom to work with any business partners it chose. Just two of its prospective cores had the open architecture the credit union desired.


What really tipped the scales in Prodigy’s favor, however, Peters said was the people – internal and external. The Prodigy team had the expertise required, but the CUSO is also deeply rooted in the credit union philosophy and 8 Cooperative Principles. The dedicated culture of the employees at Prodigy are beyond compare, according to Peters.

“Amber built a great team that is ambitious and humble,” he observed.

On top of that, the credit unions on the platform serve as tremendous resources, too. They’re all in a community chat, constantly sharing policies and procedures, asking questions and providing support.

“We try to partner with CUSOs in general for the collaboration and genuine impact we can have on our services,” Peters said. “Prodigy takes it to another level. Get to know the network of Prodigy.”


First American converted to Prodigy in 2017 and has never looked back. Peters described the process as relatively painless. The innovations it’s been able to implement with numerous best-of-breed partners has been “tremendous.”

“It’s been a real game changer for us,” Peters said, pointing out the incredible savings his credit union was able to reap from the open architecture. “We’re receiving twice the products and services at half the cost! And all the partnerships since the conversion have been incredibly reliable.”


Prodigy is leading a movement to revolutionize what credit unions think core processors can do. Fully cloud-based, Prodigy is on a mission to democratize modern technology and bring leading-edge products and services to credit unions of all sizes. What that means is the CUSO can serve credit unions large and small, like First American, with an open architecture that allows for scalability and superior integrations at lower costs to best serve our members.

Amber Harsin

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