Justice Federal Credit Union ensures highest levels of security and productivity


  • Founded in 1935
  • $432 million in assets
  • 18 offices serving 42,000


  • Credit Union


  • Symitar, Payroll, Nada Guide, CUES, Trace Security, FICS, MCIF, and Fedline


  • Complex passwords caused user frustration
  • Decrease in productivity
  • High volume of password reset calls members


  • Improved productivity and member services
  • Flexible password policy setting
  • 95% of password reset calls

Founded in 1935, Justice Federal Credit Union (FCU) is the only credit union exclusively dedicated to serving the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and members of the law enforcement community. Today, Justice FCU has assets of over $470 million and 19 service offices in Washington, D.C., California, New York, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Justice FCU serves more than 47,000 members through a comprehensive, totally free national service platform of over 65,000 proprietary and networked ATMs, and over 3,500 proprietary and shared branches. Justice FCU also offers 24/7 online access for bill paying, lending, and account opening.

The business challenge

The financial cooperative enables employee access to a myriad of applications and websites—including Symitar, Payroll, Nada Guide, CUES, Trace Security, FICS, MCIF, and Fedline—via Citrix. As Justice FCU adopted an increasing number of internetbased applications, the number of passwords employees had to remember grew to 15 to 25 passwords per user. Justice FCU planned to implement a new policy requiring unique passwords that exceed the traditional minimum of eight characters. The requirements of the new policy—intended to ensure the highest level of security—would make it even more difficult for users to remember long and complex passwords, which would be required to change regularly. 

Justice FCU was worried that these challenges would frustrate users and increase the number of helpdesk calls. “I want to make sure that our employees never experience the type of password-related anxiety that causes their performance—and member service—to suffer,” explains Rifat Ikram, vice president of electronic delivery and support services for Justice FCU.

The Imprivata OneSign solution

Ikram and his team set out to discover a way to eliminate passwords and offer users a simple and secure method to authenticate onto the network. Their goal was to make users’ work lives simpler so they could deliver top-notch member service. Therefore, Ikram and his team sought a solution that is seamless for end-users, requires no change to workflow, works well in a Citrix environment, supports finger biometrics, and seamlessly integrates with Web, client/server and legacy applications.

The team considered several single sign-on and strong authentication solutions—including one designed specifically for credit unions—but ultimately decided that Imprivata OneSign® Single Sign-On (SSO) was the best choice. “The solution for credit unions didn’t support Citrix. Not only does Imprivata OneSign work well with Citrix, it offers tight integration with strong authentication and can be configured for high availability,” explains Ikram.

After implementing the solution at the headquarters of Justice FCU, Ikram’s team started with one branch so they could test remote capabilities. Within one month, the solution was implemented to all employees at all locations. “While the deployment went very smoothly, we were not surprised that 2-3 percent of users had problems with biometrics. Imprivata helped us address this issue quickly,” says Ikram.

To educate users on the authentication process, the Justice FCU internal training department created a two page training guide. “The entire manual consisted of only ten lines of instructions and associated images to illustrate authentication steps. All employees grasped it quite easily,” continues Ikram.

The results

The implementation of SSO and finger biometrics has allowed Justice FCU to do more with less. Employees save time because they are not struggling to remember forgotten passwords, they are not locked out of applications, and they are not calling the helpdesk for password resets. Users have secure access without having to remember their passwords. “All of our employees—whether loan officers, customer service reps, or IT—are more productive. In addition, customer-facing employees can dedicate more time to serving member needs,” says Ikram. 

Even with the strictest of password policies in place, the Credit Union’s employees have no cause to write down or share passwords. “The combination of SSO and finger biometrics enables us to enhance our security without burdening our users,” continues Ikram. 

At the same time, fast and easy access to applications and websites reduces the burden on the helpdesk. “We’ve eliminated 95% or more of password-related reset calls. All of our employees are delighted with the positive impact the solution has made,” concludes Ikram.