Kicking off the new year with outreach to strengthen the local community and partners, First Financial Federal Credit Union has made a $30,000 donation to First Fruits Farm in support of their greenhouse initiative.
“First Financial Federal Credit Union's generous investment in the Farm's Greenhouse Initiative will help to support the construction of our fourth commercial greenhouse. This initiative has profoundly impacted our production capabilities - not only tripling the volume but also producing the highest-quality tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce, along with extending our growing season,” says First Fruits Farm Executive Director, Rick Bernstein.
With the expansion of their greenhouse initiative, First Fruits Farm hopes to continue to increase their volunteer community annually. First Financial is one of many local organizations that have volunteered at the farm. For several years, First Financial employees and their family members volunteer by sorting and bagging pounds of farm-fresh produce that is distributed to those in need throughout the community.
“First Fruits Farm is so grateful for our longtime relationship with First Financial and its employees who regularly volunteer every year to support our mission. We always look forward to their annual day of service at the Farm and are truly blessed by this partnership,” said Bernstein.
In 2021, the Farm donated 2.4+ million pounds of produce to feed the hungry, welcomed 13,000+ volunteers of all ages, partnered with 80+ organizations to distribute their produce, and expanded their footprint to include VA, NC, SC, and FL.
To support First Fruits Farm initiatives, visit firstfruitsfarm.org. For details on First Financial outreach initiatives held throughout the year, visit firstfinancial.org/community.
Clearwater Credit Union Selects Alogent’s Unified Digital Banking Platform, NXT, to Support Digital Transformation Efforts and Member Experience Goals...
Alogent (@AlogentCorp), a global software leader in end-to-end payment processing, content and information management, and digital banking solutions, announced today Clearwater Credit Union has selected NXT, Alogent’s digital banking platform with integrated consumer and business banking functionality. Clearwater, the largest community development financial institution (CDFI) and second largest credit union in Montana with more than $854 million in assets, will also add Alogent Mobile Deposit and Alogent Merchant Capture to their solution mix for a more complete user experience and digital ecosystem of capabilities.
“Digital transformation is a strategic focus for our credit union as we look to modernize our platforms and ensure an intuitive member experience with engaging solutions across every digital touch-point,” said Clint Summers, Chief Operations Officer, Clearwater Credit Union. “NXT’s online, mobile and digital banking capabilities under a single product umbrella afford us a streamlined but flexible approach to achieving our goals today and into the future as trends and demands change.”
Built from the ground up on the most-modern tech stack, NXT’s open and API-based platform, along with its SDK for added customization, is scalable and configurable, paired with hundreds of pre-build configurations to leading industry solutions.
“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Clearwater Credit Union and partner with their team on achieving member experience goals,” said Jason Schwabline, Alogent’s Chief Strategy Officer. “As a one-stop-shop for all things digital banking, NXT keeps members engaged and in-solution with complementary capabilities at their fingertips, like personal financial management (PFM), spending insights, gamification, SMB tools and more.”
Clearwater Credit Union will leverage the secure Alogent Cloud to deploy all new Alogent solutions, as well as migrate existing points of capture under the Alogent suite of solutions, to gain added scalability and flexibility across the institution.
Texas Bay Credit Union Collaborates With Scienaptic To Leverage Its AI-Powered Platform For Enhanced Credit Decisioning
Leading global AI-powered credit decision platform provider, Scienaptic AI announced today that Texas Bay Credit Union has chosen its credit decisioning platform. The collaboration will help the credit union to make stronger loan decisions and enhance member experience.
Texas Bay Credit Union was established in 1936 with a mission to be a trusted partner to its members and provide tailored financial options that match their financial dreams. The credit union believes in finding solutions through innovation to fulfill the changing needs of their members. With Scienaptic's credit decisioning platform, Texas Bay will automate its loan decisioning process and deliver heightened member experience.
“For 86 years, through the good and the bad, we have always been there for our members, with the traditional technology-related resources at hand," said Syed Dinar, EVP and CFO, Texas Bay Credit Union. “But Scienaptic AI's credit decisioning platform will enhance our loan decisioning and offer predictive intelligence that is beyond traditional scorecards. The platform will empower us to reduce lending risks and increase our approval rate. It aligns with our philosophy of never saying ‘I Can’t.’"
Correspondingly Pankaj Jain, President, Scienaptic AI, stated, “We are delighted to be working with Texas Bay Credit Union and offer our industry leading credit underwriting platform. Our adaptive AI technology will enable the credit union to serve more members, offer more loans and enhance member experience without increasing risk.”
Research released today from Computer Services, Inc. (CSI) (OTCQX: CSVI), a provider of end-to-end fintech and regtech solutions, suggests growing concerns among bank executives around recruiting and retaining talent as well as fighting cybercrime threats. In the company’s seventh annual Banking Priorities Survey, which collected responses from 279 executives from financial institutions across the nation, bankers ranked cybersecurity threats (26% of respondents) and recruiting/retaining employees (21% of respondents) as their top issues in 2022.
The results of CSI’s largest survey yet, with respondents representing diverse bank asset sizes, also provide new insight into how institutions plan to approach pressing issues like compliance, customer expectations and technological innovation. For instance, to enhance customer experience and expand market share, banks plan to prioritize digital tools, especially account opening (51% of respondents), customer relationship management (43% of respondents) and digital lending (36% of respondents).
“Customer expectations are raising the bar and banks must proactively respond,” said David Culbertson, CSI president and CEO. “This data, paired with bankers’ intentions to hone existing digital tools, illustrates that as the financial landscape evolves, institutions are embracing a digital-first mindset and striving for digital maturity.”
Notably, bank leaders also expect open banking to grow in significance, particularly for digital transformation.
This year’s research also reveals how bank executives perceive their own performance against the evolving financial landscape. For example, although executives on average rated their institutions a healthy 4/5 on compliance readiness, regulatory changes remain top of mind, with 14% of respondents naming it their primary concern. Considering the new administration, renewed regulatory focus and upcoming requirements, bankers ranked data privacy (39% of respondents) and CECL (20% of respondents) as the most important regulatory issues to their institution.
Bank and credit union sales practices are broken. Most branch staff are order takers or product pushers while digital channels are simply brochureware. A former big-bank sales executive details the failures and lays out the way to correct them by delivering advice and guidance at scale.
By Evan Siegel, VP Financial Services AI at eGain
(Originally posted on The Financial Brand)
Retail banking sales is in disarray. Sales practices in branch and digital channels produce poor customer experiences and undermine revenue growth. As a former megabank executive who spent 16 years in customer experience and sales strategy roles, I have seen first-hand how difficult it is to build an omnichannel sales model that delivers quality advice and guidance at scale, which is necessary to help people achieve their financial goals for the ultimate customer experience.
The situation is far from hopeless, and advances in AI powered knowledge management systems are making a difference. Yet the ingredients for meaningful change are fundamental in nature.
Before getting to those, it is essential to understand why the banking sales model is broken.
Branches — Expensive Channel Under Pressure
Branch traffic has decreased 35% over the last five years, as reported by NPR news. That lower volume makes it much more difficult for financial institutions to get value from personal bankers who cost on average cost of over $70,000 a year (salary plus benefits) and sit in expensive retail locations. Banks and credit unions justify this expense by expecting strong relationship building and cross-sell through value-add guidance. The reality, however, does not match the strategy, as my mystery shopping experience shows.
Visit The Financial Brand for the rest of this story.
Talent development leader CUES has rolled out an updated CUESNet, offering its membership base an improved user experience. CUESNet is the online community CUES members use to network with each other, post questions, share ideas and documents, and discuss industry topics. Updates to the platform include:
“At CUES, we’re always looking for ways to improve our member experience and forward the membership value proposition,” said Jimese Harkley, JD, CUDE, CUES’ VP/Membership. “Our CUESNet improvements were many months in the making, and we’re excited to have them take the new journey. We’re confident our members will see how invested we are in providing a premium networking experience.”
In celebration of the updates to CUESNet, members who complete certain portions of their CUESNet profile will be entered to win a Work from Home Essentials Package. Three winners will receive an adjustable laptop table, blue light glasses, and a video conference lighting kit.
See contest details here.
To learn more about CUES Membership, visit cues.org/membership. Learn more about CUES at cues.org.
United Federal Credit Union Announces Plans to Slash Fees, Reducing Courtesy Pay Fee and Eliminating Overdraft Protection and Non-Sufficient Fund Fees...
United Federal Credit Union (United) has announced plans to significantly overhaul its overdraft and non-sufficient funds policy by eliminating Overdraft Protection and Non-Sufficient Fund fees and reducing Courtesy Pay fees for all Members.
“Our motivation for eliminating and reducing fees associated with overdraft is simple – it’s the right thing to do,” said United President/CEO Terry O’Rourke. “These fee changes are consistent with our core value as a credit union of people helping people. Those who rely on courtesy pay are often the ones least able to afford it. We’re taking a stance to support our Members’ financial wellness and provide options that help them avoid fees.”
United’s new overdraft policy will take effect April 1, 2022 eliminating Overdraft Protection and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees and slashing the Courtesy Pay fee from $35 to $20. Reducing and eliminating fees associated with overdraft aligns with United’s mission of enhancing their Members’ lives through a wide variety of financial tools and solutions.
Overdraft Protection is a service for Members to automatically transfer funds from one account to another to cover an overdraft. United will continue to offer this benefit, while eliminating the $10 transfer fee. NSF fees, sometimes referred to as “bounced-check” fees, are currently assessed when a transaction (like a check or preauthorized transfer) is presented for payment in an amount that exceeds the available balance in an account and the transaction isn’t paid. United will continue to deny payment in these cases, but without charging a $35 fee. Members who choose to overdraw their account using Courtesy Pay can still utilize this service for a reduced fee of $20 from $35.
“We have the tools to help Members avoid overdrawing their accounts,” continued O’Rourke. “We also know that life happens, and when it does, we’re here to help with affordable overdraft solutions. We want all of our Members to feel welcome and accepted at United with options to meet their unique financial needs.”
United Members can look forward to more details and updated overdraft and non-sufficient funds policies over the coming months.
Leading AI-powered credit decision platform provider, Scienaptic announced today that 4Front Credit Union has selected its AI-based underwriting platform to strengthen the credit union’s loan portfolio by making advanced loan decisions using artificial intelligence.
4Front Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative in Traverse City serving members across Michigan. The credit union has $898 million in assets with a member base of 94,000 and counting. 4Front aims at the financial well-being of its members and offers exclusive financial products for personal loans, business financing and wealth management.
The credit union also aims at providing financial literacy to its members. The deployment of Scienaptic’s AI-powered loan decisioning platform will further its reach throughout the state, providing its members with better access to credit by approving more loans, faster.
“At 4Front Credit Union, we believe in simple and smart banking. Therefore, it’s imperative that we bring the latest technology to continuously serve our members better,” said Daniel Baker, SVP of Lending at 4Front Credit Union. “Scienaptic's industry leading underwriting decisioning platform will allow us to reach more members who have been affected by the pandemic in the last two years. The technology will help us know our members better and automate the loan decisioning process, allowing us to approve more loans and offer an enhanced member experience.”
“We are thrilled to have 4Front as our partner. Our motto has always been to transform lives and this partnership will do just that for the people of Michigan,” said Pankaj Jain, President of Scienaptic. “Our cutting-edge technology is made to empower borrowers so they have better access to credit but also lenders so they can lend with more confidence.”
Mahalo Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of online and mobile banking solutions for credit unions, has announced the hiring of 20-year credit union and fintech expert Ken Kondo as Vice President of Software Development. Kondo will lead the organization’s business analysts and developers, enabling them to advance their strategic initiatives. He looks to challenge processes with the practice of Kaizen to create a high performing team and environment.
In his new position, Kondo’s short-term goals are to help lead Mahalo’s software development practice into the future with scale, while continually modernizing the member experience. Long-term, he plans to keep the organization’s roadmap full of great ideas in collaboration with clients and continued, relentless research in the marketplace.
One of the many great things about Mahalo that attracted Kondo is that the company strongly believes in collaboration. With great innovative partners collaborating, he believes they can solve more financial technology problems together.
“The competition used to just be banks and community banks,” he says. “Today, that has grown to include neobanks, the “Big 5” (banks), and fintechs. Keeping the digital experience fresh and modern for members will do a lot to help credit unions compete well into the future.”
Some of the issues Kondo would like to help solve revolve around financial wellness and education. Through analytics and features that inform members, he sees these issues being accomplished in a fun and meaningful way.
“Ultimately, having the opportunity to work with some of my favorites like Jim Stickley, Ron Murray, Denny Howell, and Gina Kovacs made this opportunity a no brainer,” he says. “Mahalo is tightly coupled with the credit union movement and ‘People Helping People,’ which is important to me – as well as their values of being secure, transparent, innovative, agile, collaborative, and respectful that all foster the perfect work environment.”
Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is pleased to announce the selection of a new executive, and the promotions of five current executives.
Dan Byron has been selected as the vice president, Payment Technologies. Byron joins Alaska USA Federal Credit Union with more than 12 years of experience in the payment and card technologies industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Metropolitan State University.
Clinton Hess has been promoted to senior vice president, Business Intelligence. Hess has been with Alaska USA for more than 14 years, most recently as vice president, Financial Analysis. Hess holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska, as well as a master’s degree in business administration from Alaska Pacific University.
David Vanzant has been promoted to senior vice president, Enterprise Security. Vanzant has been with Alaska USA for more than five years, most recently as vice president, Enterprise Security. Vanzant holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Eastern New Mexico University and a master’s degree in homeland security/strategic studies from Marine Corps University.
Julie Moore has been promoted to senior vice president, Mortgage Operations. Moore has been with Alaska USA for more than 12 years, most recently as vice president, Mortgage Administration and Compliance. Moore holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on accounting, and a master’s degree from Eastern Washington University.
Leisa DeYarmon has been promoted to senior vice president, Special Credits. DeYarmon has been with Alaska USA for more than eight years, most recently as vice president, Special Credits Collections.
Athar Nazir has been promoted to senior vice president, Consumer Lending Operations. Nazir has been with Alaska USA for more than nine years, most recently as vice president, Special Credits Operations. Nazir holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in finance.
Author: Mike Lawson
Married to a most gorgeous and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.