Meet The Member Experience Finalists For The 2019 Innovation Series

These four innovators are pushing the envelope toward new levels of technological innovation and security in credit union member experience.

In 2018, launched a one-of-a kind contest that showcases the ways in which inventive suppliers are transforming the credit union industry.

Read about the finalists by clicking on the links below.


Presented by and sponsored by Callahan & Associates, the Innovation Series gives four suppliers 10 minutes to impress a captive audience of credit union decision-makers. Suppliers pitch their cutting-edge solutions. Attendees vote on their favorite.

The 2018 Innovation Series spotlighted solutions of the Mobile and Lending variety. The 2019 Innovation Series includes Mobile, Lending, and Member Experience. From vendors large and small, products and services featured in this year’s Member Experience category address artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics in support of opening accounts, applying for loans, and paying bills. Eye-opening data security via a face-recognition solution is here, too.

Read their stories, watch the webinar, andvote for the winner


Don Bergal, Head of Marketing, Temenos Infinity

Describe your innovation.

Don Bergal: Avoka, now part of Temenos Infinity, has created a software platform to deliver outstanding customer acquisition and onboarding journeys for credit union members. Examples include deposit account openings, loan applications, credit card applications, and service requests. Avoka is designed to create member experiences that exceed expectations and drive credit union revenue.

What opportunity or challenge does it address?

DB: Members expect their credit union to anticipate their needs and treat them like known customers. They want to engage from digital and mobile devices that offer consistency across the credit union’s range of products. Avoka uses known information about the member to create omni-channel account opening experiences. It minimizes the effort required to onboard new products from digital, branch, or call center channels.

How does it increase member value?

DB: First, we are making the credit union more convenient for members. Now they can get loans, cards, or other services from their smartphone without visiting the branch.

Second, we are optimizing the experience to make it as short and simple as possible. Many credit unions have application forms duplicating an old paper process. Avoka customer experience experts have figured how to reduce steps and effort to the bare minimum, making it more like the most efficient internet shopping experience.

Third, Avoka combines data already on file with the credit union with information from other sources to automate the application process. It creates an application that has all the background information needed for instant approval and rapid member satisfaction.

What differentiates this innovation from competitors?

DB: First, many competitors have a single, packaged application form, but no others have an extensible platform that can cover all products in the credit union portfolio. One large credit union client recently automated account opening for 57 different deposit, loan, and service products.

Second, digital account opening requires the services of multiple fintech services for processes such as identity verification, risk and fraud analysis, and funds transfer. Avoka has a catalog of more than 40 pre-integrated fintech services that the credit union can include in the member journey.

Finally, Avoka can bring a basic account opening live in just a few months, then extend it with more features and additional member journeys. Once live, Avoka analytics measure the friction points, allowing the credit union to make continuous changes to remove friction and evolve as the products change.

Watch the Member Experience finalists pitch their leading-edge solutions.


John Best, Founder/CEO, Best Innovation Group

Describe your innovation.

John Best: The Financial Innovations Voice Experience (FIVE) from Best Innovation Group (BIG) is an extensible, voice-first platform that allows a range of financial interactions in a secure, authenticated environment.

FIVE enables credit union members to perform transactions by voice command using their preferred voice service-enabled device. For example, members can use a smart speaker to transfer funds from their checking account to make an auto loan, credit card, or mortgage payment. They can also request information about their shares and loans or get information about the credit union such as locations, hours, and routing numbers.

What opportunity or challenge does it address?

JB: For humans, voice is the most natural interaction mechanism. Advances in voice recognition and artificial intelligence are reducing the friction that people associated with early voice interaction systems.

Many of us now interact with voice technology every day without a second thought. Voice technology allows us to shop and control our homes hands-free. Making something as common as banking services available to members using the power of voice whether in their homes, cars, or on their mobile devices enables them to safely and conveniently handle all of their banking needs anytime and anywhere.

How does it increase member value?

JB: Voice-first devices, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, are increasingly popular and offer a comfortable, intuitive addition to existing digital banking channels for users who wish to take advantage of improved voice recognition or who might be unable to access mobile or online banking apps due to physical limitations.

As voice-first services become available in more devices, such as wearable technology and automobiles, demand to quickly, securely access financial information and execute transactions will increase. As voice biometrics become more commonplace, these activities will be even more secure.

What differentiates this innovation from competitors?

JB: FIVE enables credit unions to leverage the expanding universe of voice services and voice-first devices to deliver consistently correct information to members regardless of device or voice service. BIG’s extensible architecture allows credit unions to quickly add new host data sources, like cores, and new voice services to respond to shifting market demands.

Individually branded voice applications assure members the skill or action is provided by their credit union. Additionally, clients may update the content of their responses to provide interesting new conversations and increase member retention.

BIG’s executive and staff have been part of the credit union industry for decades. We understand the environment and concerns of both the organization and its members, and we designed FIVE to be a solution that everyone can feel confident about.

Watch the Member Experience finalists pitch their leading-edge solutions.


Fran Duggan, CEO, Payrailz

Describe your innovation.

Fran Duggan: Payrailz has created a payments platform that leverages smart technology to deliver a range of payment types including bill pay, transfers, and peer-to-peer across multiple rails to optimize the delivery of each payment. Our Smart UI leverages credit unions’ most powerful asset, their data, to deliver great experiences and individualized recommendations to members.

What opportunity or challenge does it address?

FD: The world is entering a do it for me technology revolution that revolves around artificial intelligence and the power of computers to handle everyday tasks. As people embrace this technology in their everyday lives, they’ll also expect it in their financial lives.

Payrailz Smart UI uses member data to fuel its AI engine and deliver personalized experiences across any device. Our payment engine provides financial insights to members and allows them to take action bringing into the digital world the service and expertise credit unions provide in the offline world. With this type of capability, credit unions can leapfrog many alternative providers and large tech companies to win in the emerging do it for me world.

How does it increase member value?

FD: Members get a seamless digital experience that allows them to pay anyone or any company.

Our Smart UI platform also provides actionable insights based on a user’s distinct circumstances to help them better manage their financial situation. For example, a member can get a push notification that a bill is due with a suggestion that they pay the bill on the date they receive their paycheck. With a simple click, Payrailz pays their bills. Our platform also recognizes when a member is paying more for cable services than others who live in the area. With a click, members can put our bill sharks to work with the cable company to reduce their costs. This saves the member real money, time, and hassle. And if a member is struggling to lower the outstanding balance on a credit card, our platform would perhaps recommend a debt consolidation loan or an automatic payment plan.

This is the kind of service and expertise members expect in person. Now, they can receive those same type of helpful, actionable insights in the digital world.

What differentiates this innovation from competitors?

FD: We are the only solution geared toward credit unions that leverages AI technology to go beyond just providing a member with data to providing tools to take action. This reinforces credit unions’ position as a member’s financial partner in the fast-changing digital landscape.

The Payrailz single fully integrated payment engine is the only platform that can leverage a variety of payment rails and handle a range of payment types, ensuring every payment is delivered efficiently and securely while at the same time insulating the member and the credit union from the complexity of the transaction.

Watch the Member Experience finalists pitch their leading-edge solutions.



Keith Riddle, President/CEO, Sherpa Technologies

Describe your innovation.

Keith Riddle: ID-Pal provides a holistic solution that eliminates the complexity associated with digital ID verification and know your customer (KYC) solutions. ID-Pal provides a simple yet robust digital user experience that incorporates prominent credit union branding and the following functionality:

  • Motion detection and facial gesture recognition that prevents identity fraud.
  • 50-point biometric facial match.
  • Up to 75-point check to ensure against document tampering or forgery.
  • Database checks verify proof of identity and proof of address.
  • Additional passport verification checks via video.

ID-Pal also provides a streamlined method of integrating user experience components and members’ data through simplified APIs and SDKS.

What opportunity or challenge does it innovation address?

KR: ID-Pal’s simple, fast, secure, and consistent process results in several benefits to credit unions and their members. For example:

  • Faster account opening/onboarding: ID-Pal reduces onboarding time to less than three minutes versus 16 minutes for poorly designed digital channels and 40 minutes for the branch.
  • Simple and secure auto lending (direct or indirect): The amount of vehicle theft from identify fraud can be as high as 70%. ID-Pal helps credit unions validate remote identities, enabling rapid authorization for indirect loans.
  • Cost-effective mortgage applications: Longer onboarding processes mean increases in back-office costs, with costs per check reaching $300. ID-Pal verification provides government ID information along with optional document uploads, saving time and money.

How does it increase member value?

KR:The credit unions that participated in our pilot project experienced benefits in three areas:

  • Member experience: New members were onboarded in minutes, resulting in up to a 90% increase in onboarding efficiency for one of our pilot credit unions.
  • Operational efficiency: Manual entry of data was avoided, saving staff members time and improving quality of customer data.
  • Robust compliance: Liveness test ensured credit unions were dealing with the true owner of the ID, and real-time address checking provided the confirmation of the provided address from the ID documents during the submission process.

What differentiates this innovation from competitors?

KR: ID-Pal provides a holistic solution that eliminates the complexity associated with digital ID verification and KYC solutions.

ID-Pal provides a simple yet robust digital user experience incorporating prominent credit union branding, which can be enabled quickly. Most companies just provide the tools for verification, but ID-Pal offers credit unions the entire verification experience, which improves the members’ overall engagement with the credit union.

ID-Pal also provides the opportunity for credit unions to outsource additional ID verification and KYC efforts as the aspect of digital identity is introduced into the financial services sector.

Watch the Member Experience finalists pitch their leading-edge solutions.

All interviews have been edited and condensed.

Read more about other Innovation Series finalists by clicking on the links below.


May 3, 2019

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