Effectively managing complex member relationships is essential to delivering the kind of consumer experience now required to remain relevant and competitive in today’s financial services market. However, too often a credit union’s unintegrated systems create information silos, making it difficult to impossible to see the full details of a member’s relationship with a credit union in one place, much less take action on all of a member’s needs.
A collaboration between Members Development Company (MDC), a consortium of nearly 70 large and future-focused credit unions, and ClaySys Technologies, a technology company providing products focused in next-generation technology spaces, addressed this problem with the launch of CU NextGen. The new CUSO’s core competencies center on the technologies of no-code app development, robotic process automation (RPA), and artificial intelligence, which form the foundation of its flagship offering, a new Member Relationship Management platform.
“Responding to a member’s direct interactions is the ultimate test of a credit union’s ability to serve consumers. In this age of Venmo, Amazon Prime and Uber Eats, when a member reaches out, they expect instant—or nearly instant—results,” said Kent Zimmer, MDC’s SVP of operations and CU NextGen’s interim CEO. “Sometimes a member’s request seems simple, but backend systems that don’t interface with each other mean credit unions have to develop manual procedures across multiple business units to complete them. At CU NextGen, our goal is to eliminate these complicated and inefficient processes, replacing them with a holistic solution for fulfilling the needs of members in the manner they’ve come to expect as 21st-Century consumers.”
The CUSO’s development is the direct result of work MDC and ClaySys conducted with MDC’s network of owners in implementing RPA solutions across a variety of high-volume workflows. During this collaboration, the two partners found significant gaps in credit unions’ abilities to fulfill members’ needs quickly and efficiently that could not be solved by RPA alone. A comprehensive view of a member’s accounts and the ability to act on that member’s needs from within a single system were needed.
“Every consumer wishes the companies they interact with could understand their needs quickly and just get it done for them,” said Vinod Tharakan, managing director of ClaySys Technologies and a CU NextGen board member. “When a member calls, emails or starts a chat session with your credit union, they want you to use what you already know about them to anticipate their needs and either proactively get it done or at least do it quickly once requested. This is the kind of member experience CU NextGen was built for.”
CU NextGen’s Member Relationship Management (MRM) platform uses RPA to virtually integrate a credit union’s siloed systems, allowing staff to act on member-facing needs from within a single set of screens. The MRM platform’s portfolio of ancillary services, offered across several modules, has been designed to either enhance member experience or make credit union operations more efficient. Because of the modular design, credit unions may choose to entirely replace existing customer relationship management systems or select just those modules needed to supplement its current technology.
Some MDC owners are using the AppForms module to build new, member-facing online account opening processes, which use RPA to create the appropriate records in the different backend systems. Others are using the CRM module’s Member 360 view in their call centers to reduce data entry and retrieval work—as well as hold times.
The use of no-code app development technology allows CU NextGen to rapidly build and deploy new custom solutions to address issues as they arise. For example, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) recently implemented under the CARES Act created an avalanche of loan applications from small business members looking for relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, exposing bottlenecks in the existing processes used for processing these loans. In response, CU NextGen helped eight MDC credit unions set up an end-to-end solution for accepting PPP applications, processing them internally, and submitting them to the SBA, providing much-needed relief to members and their employees. Initial development and deployment of this solution with the CUSO’s first credit union client, VyStar Credit Union, took just 72 hours. CU NextGen ultimately helped the eight credit unions deliver 10,000 individual loans totaling over $300 million in small business relief.
“VyStar needed a solution that could help our business community keep tens of thousands of people employed by accessing the funds available through the SBA PPP program,” said Jenny Vipperman, Chief Lending Officer at VyStar Credit Union. “And we needed to automate it at scale in order to offer this to all business members. CU NextGen delivered.”
Board members for CU NextGen are: Timothy Antonition, President/CEO at Space Coast Credit Union ($45.2 billion in assets, 460,000 members); James Nastars, President/CEO at Meritrust Credit Union ($1.3 billion in assets, 105,000 members); Jeff Kline, President/CEO at MEMBERS Development Company; Tony Saldanha, President at Transformant (and formerly VP of Global Shared Services and CIO at Proctor & Gamble); and Vinod Tharakan, Managing Director at ClaySys Technologies.
For more information, visit CUNextGen.com.