Bankers form core processor co-op

Waldorf Computer Systems of West Des Moines, Iowa, has entered into an agreement to transition ownership of its core banking software product to the Community Bankers Cooperative, a not-for-profit, member-owned-and-controlled cooperative that is being formed by banks that use the company’s software, BANCADO.

WCS President Leonard Waldorf, the primary author of the software, said he wants to work with the cooperative to protect the interest of his clients.

“If we had chosen to sell out to a competitor, they would have supported our banks for maybe a few years, and then forced them to convert to other programs,” Waldorf said. “Many of my banks have been with me for decades and are more like family than customers. So it made perfect sense to help them form a cooperative and have some control over the future of their program.” Waldorf will work with the co-op for the next several years to ensure a smooth transition.

Mark Field, president and chairman of the $88 million Farmers Bank of Liberty, Ill., is one of the co-op’s organizers. “It is time for small banks to band together and share resources in the IT arena. By owning our own core, our co-op banks will not be at the mercy of their vendor when it comes to fees and upgrades,” Field said. “It is also our hope that each of the member banks will open up and communicate with each other to share tips and strategies to help one another through the vexing issues facing the IT area because not every bank can afford a full-time IT staffer.  We want to create a community of community banks to help keep our costs down and keep us all competitive.”

Chuck Goodwin, president of BSI-Eagle Computers in Gardendale, Ala., started selling the BANCADO product in Alabama in 1983 after a successful career in the data processing department of a regional bank, and already supports several of the banks now using the BANCADO program.  His firm will be one of the key partners for the co-op as first-line telephone support is transitioned to his firm.

When the industry began to head toward check imaging, Goodwin enlisted the help of Rob Tarte of Pacific CodeWorks in San Francisco to provide a solution for processing images through the BANCADO program.  Tarte’s firm will be the other key partner for the co-op, providing programming and support services to keep the program up to date and make new services possible.

The Community Bankers Cooperative will be governed by a board of directors elected by the membership, who will then work closely with the partners on the future direction of the program.