Give your credit union an edge with Gen AI

We don’t need another article to know Generative AI has officially disrupted everything. Rather than focus on the disruptive power of Gen AI, let’s shift our focus towards some insights that aid better adoption. In the financial industry, major disruptors often evoke love/hate responses; some trailblaze while others stargaze, some plan to start while others plan to plan. The key to avoiding unfavorable responses is to understand that change is most healthy when gradual. It is vital to take strides together rather than steps alone because, whether we like it or not, there is only one constant: change. By understanding our culture and past behavior, we can create an approach that fosters opportunity rather than fear, allowing our credit union to embrace change and reap the many benefits of AI.

Credit unions and technology

So, how do you start integrating AI at your credit union? Whether you choose to start big or small, control the technology or democratize access to encourage pilot use cases, understanding your organization’s current state is crucial. Ask yourself simple questions like: How do we react to disruptive or emerging technologies? Who responds favorably to innovation? Where is the safest place to start?

Reflect on how your credit union adopted the last technology disrupter, the modern cloud data platform. Were you an early adopter? Did you take a wait-and-see approach? Are you still hoping to migrate to the cloud? Understanding past behaviors and reasoning will equip you with insights needed to prevent the slow adoption of AI.

If your credit union hasn’t yet implemented cloud technology, this will likely hinder your ability to integrate AI. Not staying up to date with technology, including AI, poses risks such as:

  • Missed opportunities, inefficiencies, and a significant competitive disadvantage
  • Increased difficulty and time required to bring technological capabilities back up to standard
  • Your team’s skills becoming outdated, leading to attrition as employees seek more advanced opportunities

While it’s essential to research new technologies and identify how they can help your credit union, avoiding new technologies altogether can harm your organization in the long run.

Keys to integrating generative AI

If your credit union is committed to integrating generative AI, figuring out when, where and how to start can be daunting. Consider these key areas when planning:

Talent: With AI being so accessible, people become a top consideration. It is critical to have the talent and bandwidth to explore AI responsibly. Neglecting this can lead to problems like budget overruns, limited value or security and compliance risks. Ensuring you have the proper team members or partners to help navigate generative AI implementation should be a top priority.

Data: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Data capabilities need good, clean, governed data. AI is just another capability requiring well-organized data. If you do not have a data warehouse or if it is outdated or on-premises, consider a robust modern cloud data warehouse, either building your own or researching providers offering purpose-built credit union architectures.

Data governance: Generative AI’s unique nature is its generative aspect; it doesn’t just use data; it creates new data. If governance wasn’t important before, it must be now. Ensure the data your models use and produce are governed, period.

Use cases: Use cases remain critical to ensure benefits from investments. The accessibility of Gen AI changes our relationship with use cases. Encourage everyone in the organization to cultivate use cases they think have impact and value. Instead of creating and controlling master prioritized use case backlogs, allow the right people with the right governed data to explore Gen AI and AI use cases to help quickly identify potential wins and value.

Buy-in: Stakeholder alignment and support are crucial. Without buy-in, it will be difficult to get your AI project off the ground.

These measures will position you for innovative, data-driven success even before deploying a single AI use case, allowing for rapid innovation and providing a competitive edge.

Hurry up and wait

What if AI is not something your credit union is interested in today or cannot implement for another year or more? Remember, the process takes time, change is gradual. Start getting buy-in now to ensure your credit union is prepared when the time comes. If AI is something your credit union wants to invest in, consider these key steps for successful AI and data capabilities:

  • Cultivate use cases, define business value and establish methods to monitor outcomes
  • Secure alignment with executive team, the board and data analytics team
  • Allocate budget
  • Staff and train the team
  • Prepare data
  • Establish governance

The industry motto for Gen AI is “just start.” Depending on where you are in the journey, it may take time to implement a full AI strategy at your credit union, so consider starting small to gather insights and generate excitement to assist with preparation and adoption.

Implement an AI strategy at your credit union

Getting started with AI can feel overwhelming, but every journey begins with a single step. More correctly, every journey begins first in the mind, with an intention. We think then act. The key to taking the first step is believing it will be fruitful. There are few things more powerful than progress.

A great first step, which combines intention and action is a strategic assessment. A strategy not only provides the “what” and the “why” but the “how,” all critical to aligning stakeholders and justifying investments. Once we have a plan and buy-in, your credit union will have what it needs to take the next step: prepare, integrate and adopt AI. Consider partnering with a strategic services and tech provider to build the overall strategy and to gain stakeholder support.

Embrace the change, respect the culture and harness the power of AI to drive your credit union forward.


Contact Trellance

Contact Trellance

Benito Santoro

Benito Santoro

Benito Santoro brings over two decades of expertise in delivering data and analytics solutions that support business initiatives and enhance decision-making processes, fostering a data-driven culture within organizations. He excels ... Web: Details