Digital core transformation for the Canadian mutual: an end-to-end learning journey

Tim Bowen, CEO, Mutual Vision (Chair)

Carrie Forbes, CEO, League of Data

Tim Bowen, CEO of Mutual Vision, chaired an enlightening “fireside chat” with Carrie Forbes and Chad Griffen of League Data, discussing their reflections and insights from their ongoing digital transformation project with 39 Canadian Credit Unions. 

League Data is a 50 year old cooperatively owned IT company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It offers cloud based core banking systems for its credit union members. 

Carrie Forbes, who described herself as “Chief Cat Herder!”, set out the background to the company’s move to cloud based core banking systems. The move was prompted by necessity - their previous core banking service provider gave them 2 years notice that they would not be able to provide them with a service going forward. This left League Data and its 39 credit union members in a difficult position with very limited time to come up with a solution. 

They had the option to go with another provider, but that was risky as it might only have a 5-10 year life span before they would inevitably have to move again. 

So instead they decided to take the leap and create their own cloud based core banking system, leaving them better placed for open banking and use of APIs and with full autonomy without being tied to legacy systems.

Needless to say, the migration from an existing system to a new system in a limited time frame was challenging. Not just from a technical point of view, but also from a people management angle (hence Carrie’s unofficial job title!). League Data had to persuade its credit union members to support the move and take a leap of faith. 

The key was to engage with members early and often and make them central to the move. They appointed “Change Champions” in each member who helped explain developments to their Boards and staff. League Data also worked closely with the regulator to ensure they were on board. 

Six weeks into the move and things are going well. Carrie and Chad were happy to share their experiences with UK building societies and credit unions and hope their model might act as a template for similar developments in the UK.