Harnessing innovation through the voice of the member

The Amazon Echo smart assistant deployed by Visions is using customer interaction to empower the credit union’s product research.

The term “echo chamber” has taken on a negative connotation recently, connected to Americans’ habit of reinforcing their own political beliefs by interacting only with kindred spirits. Leave it to an innovative credit union to turn that model on its ear, inviting its community to contribute to a more inclusive chamber.

Visions Federal Credit Union, a $3.9bn, 46-branch institution serving upstate New York and Pennsylvania’s Allentown/Bethlehem region, is an active member of Big’s Innovation Club. “We used to be a fast follower – now we want to be a leader,” says Cynthia Schroeder, Visions’ chief information and innovation officer, with regard to her CU’s technology strategy. “We’re looking for that one big thing to make Visions stand out for ease of use and convenience.”

Along with a Visions colleague, Schroeder attended last June’s AXFI Conference in Minneapolis, co-sponsored by Big and OnApproach. “We’re really heavy into data analytics, and we connected with a lot of new companies that we’re now looking to partner with,” she explains, adding that they’re returning for the 2017 conference 11-14 June. One session that particularly piqued her interest was a hackathon demonstrating how quickly the Amazon Echo could be programmed to perform basic banking functions.

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