The core processing system is the brain for every credit union — it controls various systems and enables different departments to operate as one, member-serving unit. As of June 30, 2021, 29 core providers were competing for the business of a movement that is shrinking in numbers but not in impact.
The total number of American credit unions decreased from 5,275 as of June 30, 2020, to 5,136 one year later. But, fueled by pandemic-related relief measures, total shares at those cooperatives increased $226.5 billion (15.0%) from $1.5 trillion to more than $1.7 trillion during that same time.
Loans, meanwhile, grew $56.8 billion (5.0%) from $1.1 trillion as of June 30, 2020, to more than $1.2 trillion as of June 30, 2021. Membership, too, is growing. Annual membership growth was 3.9% as of June 30 as the number of members increased from 123.7 million to 128.5 million.
Fiserv Slips A Little But Still Dominates Market Share
Fiserv remains the 800-pound gorilla in the core processing room, with 29.4% — 1,510 of 5,136 credit unions — using one of its family of 15 platforms. That’s down 1.4 percentage points from last year. Of the 139 credit unions lost in the past year, 33 — or 23.7% — were Fiserv clients.
Symitar remains in second place in market share, with 533 clients and a 10.4% share that’s up 64 basis points from one year ago. [Editor’s Note: CSPI recently acquired Symitar’s CruiseNet platform for smaller credit unions; Callahan adjusted market share metrics throughout the guide to account for this.]
Although the domination of these two stalwarts in the credit union core processing space is clear — Fiserv and Symitar have a combined 39.8% market share — their client bases do differ. Symitar serves more of the movement’s largest credit unions. Its clients include 177 credit unions with more than $1 billion; that’s 18 more than the previous year.
Meanwhile, Fiserv has 156 credit union clients with more than $1 billion in assets; that’s up 14 from last year. It tends to lead the market in clients in each of the other asset bands. For credit unions with $250 million to $1 billion in assets, for example, Fiserv boasts 226 credit union clients versus Symitar’s 219.
Along with mergers and liquidations, Fiserv lost clients when Italy's Dedagroup combined its U.S. operations under the new VisiFI brand in 2020. The new CUSO added 31 new clients — including some former Fiserv Spectrum users — in the past year in addition to the 75 it acquired in its earlier acquisition of EPL.
Meanwhile, the largest organic gainer of clients was Corelation, which added 28 new clients to its KeyStone platform without the benefit of an acquisition. That was the most for any single platform and gave Corelation a user list of 122 credit unions and a market share that grew by 59 basis points to 2.4%. Fiserv’s DNA, a prime competitor for Corelation and Episys, was the core processor for 158 credit unions.
Altogether, 14 of the 29 cores serving client bases totaling at least $400 million in assets gained clients year-over-year. Thirteen lost clients and two maintained the same number.
As for credit unions on a single platform, Symitar’s Episys leads the industry with 698 credit union clients spread across three providers: Symitar itself (533), Member Driven Technologies (97), and Synergent (68). Currently, 13.6% of the nation’s credit unions run on Episys, which gained 26 new users this year, 19 of them through Symitar directly.
Second by that measure is FedComp’s Platinum platform, now in use by 505 mostly very small credit unions, down 25 clients from last year but still good for 9.8% market share in terms of number of clients. That was the most clients lost by a single platform, followed by Finastra’s UltraData platform, which lost 24 clients.
The Benefits Behind This Market Share Guide
After people and buildings, the core processing system is typically the most expensive item in a credit union’s budget. Choosing whether to stay with a current provider or convert to a new one is a major decision, and the conversion process itself can easily take a year to pull off and several years or more to fully take advantage of new capabilities.
The Market Share Guide: Credit Union Core Processors from Callahan & Associates is a one-of-a-kind resource available to the credit union industry. Along with editorial content packed with actionable insight, Callahan provides detailed core rankings based on number of credit union clients, by credit union membership, and by credit union assets. It also offers an overview of performance from both a provider and platform perspective. Begin your exploration of core data with market share tables and graphs, then pop over to the Platform Profiles for an aggregate overview of select providers accompanied by minimum, average, and maximum financial performance metrics for credit unions on their respective cores.
All of this and more is available at your fingertips. Check it out, and keep the guide around for reference year-round. Callahan will publish another one next year, sharing the latest insights to inform credit unions’ strategic thinking around this most essential of vendor relationships.
Michael Zelna is an industry analyst at Callahan & Associates. Reach him at email@example.com or (202) 223-3920.