United States

Project management for new system implementation


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Centris Federal Credit Union is Nebraska’s largest credit union, serving more than 78,000 members. Centris was working simultaneously to implement a new consumer loan origination system and to establish a program management office (PMO). Because the PMO had not yet ramped up its capacity, Centris needed an experienced project manager to:

  • Design and manage a comprehensive project management plan
  • Coordinate execution of project tasks by both Centris staff and vendors
  • Accurately track project status
  • Identify and communicate project issues to appropriate parties
  • Manage the project to achieve the results expected by Centris


Centris required a smooth transition from the existing system to the new consumer loan origination system, including necessary staff training, which would allow the credit union to meet a defined set of performance goals including:

  • 10 to 20 percent reduction in turnaround time due to work flow improvements and automated underwriting
  • 50 percent decrease in average application processing time
  • 20 to 30 percent increase in application-to-funding ratios
  • The ability to make automated decisions on 20 to 30 percent of applications immediately, and to eventually make automated decisions on 50 percent of applications

Our role

Centris picked RSM to provide dedicated project management support of its consumer loan origination system implementation. While Centris considered a variety of vendors, RSM’s combination of industry and technology experience made the difference. Steve Swanstrom, Centris’s interim CEO said, “RSM has a broad depth and breadth of knowledge and experience. Some of the other vendors had project management expertise, but not necessarily a strong background working with financial institutions. Or, they may have had experience working with financial institutions, but were limited in their capacity.”

The project scope included developing and documenting a project plan meeting all of Centris’s needs. RSM developed an issues identification and escalation process to manage any emerging risks. Also, because of RSM’s broad experience with financial institution operations and information technology, we were also tasked with providing ad hoc consulting as necessary throughout the project to help Centris realize a successful implementation.

The results

After evaluating the project and resources, RSM and Centris agreed to push the go-live date out for three months. With the new schedule set, we were able to help Centris achieve the seamless rollout of an updated, streamlined system, supported by fully-trained personnel. Centris is tracking its performance goals for the new system over its first year of operations. They were very pleased with RSM’s performance.

“RSM provided a wealth of expertise in order to help us properly identify the project scope and potential risks based on other conversions they have been involved with, as well as a comprehensive project plan,” said Swanstrom. “RSM then managed the project throughout by scheduling and facilitating project meetings, updating the project plan, and working with project team members to identify potential issues and manage risks. RSM’s expertise in financial institution systems and specifically loan origination conversions greatly assisted in the development of our project scope, risks and project planning. RSM has a broad-based team with different areas of expertise so the right resource could be provided at the right time, when needed. They conducted an in-depth planning process and met with various stakeholders to ensure that no critical piece was left out of the plan. They also identified what should not be included in the scope of the plan. This was so valuable to the whole process and the completion of the project.”

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