Washington Federal, Inc., is a non-diversified unitary savings and loan holding company. It has 135 full-service branches located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas.
Migrating to a new platform.
Washington Federal Savings used two core banking platforms to manage its operations: its in-house Tandem application and vendor-provided FPS Gold platform acquired when the company purchased First Mutual Bank. As part of the First Mutual acquisition, Washington Federal Savings had to convert First Mutual’s New Mexico subsidiary, First Federal, from its Jack Henry 20/20 platform due to an expiring service contract. After some analysis, the company determined that First Mutual’s FPS Gold system was a better fit for First Federal’s branches.
The institution had to complete the conversion in about four months in order to meet the contract terms. A month after the project began, the conversion project manager left the bank—with very little work completed and just three months remaining on the service contract. Seeking project management expertise to complete the transition, Washington Federal Savings turned to West Monroe Partners. West Monroe Partners. West Monroe Partners offered financial services, testing, and project management expertise, as well as direct experience with bank acquisitions and conversions.
Executing under tight constraints.
West Monroe Partners assessed key risks and stepped in to assist with:
- Establishing adequate project resources. The project team requested that key team members, and particularly team leads, be re-assigned as full-time resources.
- Conducting regular status meetings that focused on resolving issues and completing critical tasks.
- Creating project management documentation, including a master project plan, risk mitigation plan, issue log, conversion calendar, customer communication plan, operational readiness plan, hour-by-hour
conversion plan, testing plans, and testing scripts.
- Incorporating the bank’s product mapping exercises into testing scripts and conducting a simulated conversion prior to the transition.
- Executing a thorough testing process and, at the same time, transferring critical knowledge about conversion testing to the client’s team.
Overall, West Monroe Partners provided project management and testing expertise and rigor to ensure that Washington Federal Savings completed the transition before expiration of its platform service agreement, while at the same time managing issues to minimize customer defections. In the process, Washington Federal Savings acquired valuable knowledge and documentation— insight that will be invaluable as the two organizations plan for the bank’s future transition to one banking platform.