Back-Seat Texting Hints At What’s To Come

The keynote speaker at CULytics uses a personal ancedote to underscore how the future of digital banking isn't just here, it's behind him.

Mike Upton witnessed firsthand an industry sea change taking place when his 12-year-old daughter voice-texted him from the third row seat of their Suburban while he was behind the wheel.

The chief technology and digital officer at First Tech FCU ($11.4B, Mountain View, CA) used that as an example of the importance of voice technology in serving today’s digital natives.

Upton was a keynote speaker on Tuesday at the third annual CULytics Summit in Redmond, WA, where the focus has been on remaining relevant in a fast-changing consumer marketplace.


According to the chief technology officer, he sees those changes up close and personal.

We live in the shadow of the Googleplex, Upton said. We see drones flying around our neighborhood. We see driverless cars. We have Alexa all through the house. I can see on my phone when someone knocks on my front door. This is all happening now.

Apropos to the conference’s setting at the Microsoft campus, Upton also quoted Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who said, We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10.

Now is the time to act on new consumer imperatives, Upton said. For example, consumers conditioned by the likes of Amazon and Uber won’t tolerate a contact center rep who has to navigate 10 systems to find out who a member is and the details of their relationship.

According to Upton, First Tech is working to connect silos by using APIs to move data more seamlessly across platforms. In-house developers there are doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

Nate Frichtel gets that. But like most credit unions, USE Credit Union ($932.3M, San Diego, CA) doesn’t have that kind of resources. Instead, the credit union depends on its new core processing system to do things like document the criteria for and results from a credit line increase promotion.

It’s configurability versus customizability, says the VP of information technology. We don’t have the staff to write new code, but our new core does allow our programmers to configure it to do what we need.

One seasoned credit union executive says talent, not technology, is still the rub.

A lot of the concepts we’re talking about here have been around for a while, says Rudy Pereira, president and CEO of Premier America Credit Union ($2.5B, Chatsworth, CA). It’s a matter of getting the talent we need to put these tools to use.

Pereira, the former CEO of Royal Credit Union in Wisconsin and chief technologist at Alliant Credit in Chicago before returning home to California, says his shop is in the first stage of using analytics in-house to generate dashboards and reports.

You can grow the talent in-house, Pereira says. But you have to identify people who have those skills, that great critical thinking and a desire to learn.

That interest in data analytics in all its forms, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, has been soaring in the past couple of years and is expected to continue. CULytics founder Naveen Shain sees it in the growth of his conference, which has jumped from 100 attendees in its first year to 325 in its third, representing 17.5 million members and $252 billion in assets.

Several credit unions are presenting their own forays into data analytics at the two-day session. will highlight their insights and emerging best practices in the months to come.

March 13, 2018

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