Credit Union Technology Dictionary

Credit Union Technology Dictionary

A comprehensive guide to Credit Union technology terms in alphabetical order.

ABA Number

ACH – Automated Clearing House (ACH) is an electronic network for financial transactions in the United States. ACH processes large volumes of credit and debit transactions in batches. ACH credit transfers include direct deposit, payroll and vendor payments.

Aries Checklist – The NCUA Regulatory Checklist and Questionnaire used by the National Credit Union Administration to audit the Credit Union for technology compliance.

ALM – Asset Liability Management –

ATM – Automated Teller Machine is the electronic machine that enables a member to conduct business such as getting cash or depositing funds at an electronic machine.

ATM Intercept Processing – The systems, tools and techniques designed to allow a financial institution the ability to process transactions before the hit the ATM Switch and avoid the fees associated with transactions from their own members.

ATM Switch – A regional or national switch that enables members from one Credit Union or bank to conduct transactions at another Credit Union or bank.  Examples include COOP, MAC, STAR, Cirrus.

ATM On Us Transaction – ATM Transactions conducted by a Credit Unions own members on the Credit Unions ATMs.  For example: a member goes to a branch and uses the ATM to withdraw money – that is an onus transaction.

ATM Foreign Transaction – ATM Transactions that occur when your members go to another institutions ATMs or when a consumer that doesn’t belong to your Credit Union uses your ATMs.

ARS – Audio Response System – Phone Banking based platform that allows members to call in to an automated system and conduct a limited set of transactions such as review history, check balances etc.

Balancing – An activity performed by various departments and branches at a Credit Union to make sure that transactions went to the right places.  Hopefully through balancing all deposits, withdrawals, cashed checks etc. ended up in the right members accounts.

Bank – A four letter word

Batch File – Batch files are used to perform large blocks of transactions quickly and efficiently.  ACH & Share Drafts are the two main batch postings in Credit Unions.  However, some Credit Unions also post ATM, Debit Card, Credit Card and Insurance postings using batch processes as well.  At the end of each batch processing usually accounting and operations will review the posting for exceptions and to make sure that it balances.

BCP – Business Continuity Plan – The actual written plan and processes designed to keep the organization operating throughout a disruption.

BIA – Business Impact Analysis – A BIA is designed to analyze and predict the consequence of disrupting a business process and provide critical information required to provide recovery strategies.

Business Continuity – The process which occurs, based on risk evaluation and business impact analysis, to identify procedures, priorities and resources

Cash Dispenser – Similar to an ATM but used at the teller line.  A cash dispenser is designed to speed up the teller line but automatically dispenses the right mix of cash for the teller and avoids the teller having to balance their cash as frequently.

Check21 – A law passed by Congress in 2003 that enabled a digital version of a check to replace the original paper version and have all the same legal rights as the paper version.

Close of Business – Also known as End of Day on some Credit Union cores.  This process pauses all financial activity on a real-time system so that the Credit Union can get a point in time view and balance all transactions for a given day.

Collection System – Software designed to help the Credit Union keep its delinquency rate low and collect on past due loans.  Generally it is designed to help the collections department comply with consumer lending and collections laws while automating and making the collections department more efficient.

Core System – The primary financial transaction system used by Credit Unions for keeping track of deposits, withdrawals, most consumer loans, certificates and general account history.  There are about 25 core providers with most of the market dominated by Fiserv and Jack Henry.

Corporate Credit Union – Similar to the Federal Reserve, Corporate Credit Unions aggregate and provide financial services to Credit Unions.

Credit Bureau – There are three primary credit bureaus.  Experian, Equifax and Transunion.  The Credit Bureaus create and track credit scores for consumers by tracking things like payment history, debt to income ratios, secured vs. unsecured debt, charge offs and other financial activity.

Credit Card Processor – There are four primary Credit Card processors in the Credit Union industry.  PSCU, CSCU, COOP and TMG.  Essentially, they all are gateways to FDR which is a credit card aggregator for VISA/Mastercard.  The card processor performs services such as fraud detection, analytics, and assigning BINs etc.   Most individual Credit Unions are too small to go direct to FDR hence, the card processor aggregates multiple Credit Unions transaction activities together so that Credit Unions can offer credit cards.

CUFX – an open standards based approach to creating an standardized integration approach among cores and Credit Union technology vendors to simplify the integration process.

Data Vaulting – the process of sending your server and technology system data offsite over a telecom circuit or internet to remote location to be stored on disk drives and be available for disaster recovery or business continuity purposes.

Deposit – 


Debit Card Processor

Delivery Channel Terms


Direct Deposit

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery Test

Document Imaging System

Dumb Terminal

EFT (electronic funds transfer)


ERM – Enterprise Risk Management



Federal Charter

FFIEC – Federal Financial Institution Examining Council




Frame Relay


LOS – Loan Origination System

MDM- Mobile Device Management

Mobile Banking

Mobile Wallet


Mortgage System

Mortgage Servicing System


NCUA – National Credit Union Agency

NFC – Near Field Communication

Online Authorizations

Online Banking



Penetration Test


Phishing Attack

RDC- Remote Deposit Capture

Routing Number

RPO – Recovery Point Objective

RTO – Recovery Time Objective

Service Bureau



Shared Branching

Shared Branch Acquirer

Shared Branch Issuer

Single Sign-on

SOA – Service Oriented Architecture


State Charter


Store and Forward

Teller Capture

T1 Line


Vulnerability Assessment