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Tinker FCU running in virtual environment

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (2/5/09)--Tinker FCU announced Tuesday that it is now operating in a virtual environment--which has helped the credit union save about $225,000 a year, extend branch hours by five hours and improve energy efficiency, the credit union said. Tinker is running EPISYS, a core information processing platform used by credit unions, with a virtualized Storage Area Network (SAN) environment. The virtualization allows the credit union to run multiple operating system environments on the same computer. Using the new architecture, Tinker has reduced its number of servers to 40 from 160. “We don’t have to keep growing data centers because we now store information on disk, rather than tape,” said Steve Mooney, Tinker vice president of information system operations. “This type of system is the future in technology.” Tinker has seen a 40% to 45% increase in performance with overnight processing of transactions, and a 50% to 55% improvement in backup processing. Symitar, which owns EPISYS, assisted the credit union with the virtualization. Symitar might offer the same type of environment to smaller credit unions who could not previously afford it, Tinker said. Oklahoma City-based Tinker FCU has $1.8 billion in assets.

CUNA redesigns elementary level online youth magazine

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MADISON, Wis. (2/5/09)--New interactive features were recently added to the elementary school level of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) online youth magazine, Googolplex. 5-Spot now allows elementary school readers to earn pretend clubhouse dollars by answering quiz questions, taking an instant poll, playing games and reading stories. Readers also will become more familiar with saving, spending and sharing when they use their clubhouse cash to decorate their clubhouse and give to charity. There also are new flash calculators and weekly “Natalie” comic strips. A new instant poll features questions for kids to answer, or they can also submit their own questions for consideration. Googolplex offers credit union-specific consumer stories and games designed to make youth of all ages feel welcome on credit union websites. New content is added weekly throughout its three separate reading and interest levels:
* 5-Spot--addresses basic money concepts such as saving and spending for elementary students; * AJ’s--helps middle schoolers tackle popular topics such as making friends, getting rich, and shopping; and * C-Note--contains financial and personal advice on common interests for high school students such as cars, college, shopping and preparing to become independent.

Minnesota expands shared branch locations to 27

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/5/09)--Minnesota expanded the number of its Shared Branching locations to 27 after St. Paul (Minn.) FCU added two new locations to the network. “The Shared Branching network is expanding throughout the nation, and the growing number of service centers in Minnesota reflects that trend,” said Peter Skaalen, Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) executive vice president. Shared Branching allows credit union members to use other credit unions to conduct transactions similar to those they conduct at their home credit union. There are more than 3,500 service centers nationwide, allowing credit unions to compete with the largest banks in the U.S., MnCUN said. “While other financial institutions may be closing branches, Shared Branching is continually adding to the number of service locations that its participants can use to serve members,” Skaalen added.