Steve Mooney – Truity Credit Union
When the Jane Phillips Sorority Credit Union was founded in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1939, members could open savings accounts with a quarter and borrow up to $50 in an unsecured loan. Back then, Treasurer Mildred Hunt handled credit union business at her desk at Phillips Petroleum Co. at lunch or after hours, too.
Times have changed. What’s now Truity Federal Credit Union has 72,000 members, seven branches with locations in Houston and Lawrence, Kansas, as well as Bartlesville, and assets of more than $1.1 billion. And as the credit union has grown, so have its security needs.
Steve Mooney, Truity FCU’s chief technology officer and chief information security officer, knows the credit union needs to provide members with convenient service at all hours while ensuring operations, data and information are secure. He’s in the midst of a five-year plan to upgrade Truity FCU’s technology foundation, drawing from his industry experience as well as his tenure managing information security at OG&E Energy Corp.
“I’ve been a CISO for a number of years and I know there’s not always a good understanding of what security frameworks need to look like,” Mooney says. “Too often, it can be a combination of a lot of mismatched things and I’ve been able to devise and engineer a security framework that’s been stellar for our industry.”
One of Mooney’s biggest initiatives has been integrating a mesh network, which was finished in fall 2022. The mesh network combines multiple connectivity points for digital operations, and bandwidth can be added in minutes without having to engage a service provider.
“Circuit failures won’t shut down a branch. If an area fails, another takes over,” he explains. “Think of it as using all the roads leading to a destination, like highways from Bartlesville to Lawrence or Houston.”
Mooney’s team was able to implement the mesh network in part because of changes in operations during the COVID-19 pandemic when about 95 Truity FCU employees began working from home with Chromebooks and Thin Clients his team had procured.
Because Chromebooks and Thin Clients don’t have hard drives, they provided greater security for Truity FCU—no one can inadvertently download a virus, malware or ransomware that could harm or shutdown the network or lead to a data breach, Mooney says.
The mesh network also enabled Mooney’s team to relocate Truity FCU’s data center to a private cloud they had engineered. That again improved security and efficiency—the network now is capable of handling video, such as remote meetings, without transmission problems that can lock up a user’s screen or a workstation.
The mesh network is part of the security upgrades that earned Truity FCU a zero-findings security rating from the National Credit Union Administration in 2022. The NCUA is a federal agency established in 1970 to insure deposits at credit unions. Mooney also helped Tinker Federal Credit Union in Oklahoma City achieve a zero-findings security rating for several years when he was vice president and CISO there.
“This is not about the products themselves but how you integrate and correlate them,” Mooney says. “It does no good to try and help an organization grow if you can’t provide the security foundation.”
Better service, better data
Later this year, Mooney’s team will begin replacing Truity FCU’s ATMs with ITMs—interactive teller machines. ITMs expand services by providing credit union members with more ways to pay bills, apply for loans, move money—and work with a teller on-screen to complete complex transactions.
“It’s like taking a teller out of the building and putting them into a drive- through to help members with a personal touch,” he says.
Mooney’s team also plans to add geographic information systems, or GIS, technologies to its operations over the next few years. GIS uses satellite and other data to provide profiles of geographic areas, but it shows more than landmarks.
Mooney became familiar with the technology when he worked in the energy industry in the 1980s and says applying such technologies at Truity FCU could enable the credit union to have greater demographic detail about members and potential members. That can be distilled to specific neighborhoods providing detailed information about people and their behavior like shopping, eating and places visited.
“GIS helps refine the approach we make in terms of products, services and working with members and customers,” Mooney says. “It can even help with determining branch locations.”
Experienced and innovative
Mooney is transforming Truity FCU with new technology, but he brings a distinctly old school background to his work
“I was working with technology when I was 13 years old,” he says. “I learned early on that computers were fascinating.”
Born and raised in Oklahoma, he often went into the office with his father who was an electronics engineer at then Western Electric (now part of AT&T). While his father worked, Mooney tinkered.
Mooney also used a vintage Commodore computer while earning his associate degree in computer science and electrical engineering from Eastern Oklahoma State College and his bachelor’s degree in computer science and applied theoretical physics from the University of Central Oklahoma.
After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 1986, he joined OGE Energy Corp. as a senior systems engineer-scientist. In 1996, he joined MidFirst Bank as an assistant vice president and chief engineer. In July 2004, he became assistant vice president and chief architect at Tinker FCU. He had risen to vice president, director and CISO at the credit union when he joined Truity in January 2020.
“I’ve always enjoyed coming into organizations and creating strong foundations to experience massive growth by leveraging technology,” Mooney says. “I especially like to do this in credit unions because they have such community involvement and are people focused.”
View this feature in the Summer I 2023 Edition here.
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