How human ingenuity paired with technology delivers in the war on fraud

Over several decades of testing and learning, the financial industry has determined the best way to detect and stop fraud is by combining technology capabilities with human ingenuity. Even as advanced solutions like neural networks and machine learning have become more fully integrated into the collective fight against financial crime, the soft skills of fraud specialists continue to be crucial. Not only do these and other innately human qualities enable a financial institution to predict and prepare for a fraudster’s next move; they also smooth the sometimes rough edges for consumers impacted by fraud.

The collaboration between human and machine is a strategy CO-OP Financial Services has iterated over several years. The end-consumer we serve is a credit union member. That means we must deliver on a heightened expectation for fast, yet personalized, guidance when fraud is detected on one of more than 30 million accounts we help protect on behalf of our credit union clients.

In no channel is member-centric fraud management more important than the 5,700-branch CO-OP Shared Branch network. Because most transactions within this network occur face-to-face, it may seem like an unwise target for a fraudster. But, fraudsters are nothing if not bold. They do not shy away from the challenge of cracking in-person authentication strategies.

Just as bold as these criminals, however, are the fraud specialists who work for CO-OP. In fact, helping to defeat fraud rings that train and deploy criminals to credit union and bank branches throughout the U.S. is not only the job of our fraud specialists – it’s their pleasure. Working in partnership with technology, specifically COOPER Fraud Analyzer, they have stopped more than a half million dollars in potential fraud losses in less than 10 months. What’s more, they assisted the U.S. Secret Service in the apprehension of 15 suspected fraudsters.

Launched in February 2019, COOPER Fraud Analyzer is a decision engine that detects even the most sophisticated and unpredictable fraud on the shared branch network. It’s a data-driven, digital-era ally unlike anything the network has ever had on its side before. Just five months into its operation, the tool received its first feature upgrade, enabling transaction declines within the network. Similar to the decline strategy deployed across card networks for decades, the approach tips the scales heavily in favor of the good guys. When the advanced COOPER technology and our experienced fraud specialists detect something is amiss, the suspect transaction can be stopped instantly.

Because each credit union has its own individual appetite for risk and its own game plan for addressing member impact, it’s important for decision engine technology to be flexible. COOPER Fraud Analyzer offers exactly that, which has not only been good for our credit union clients, but has also delivered to members precisely the level of service they’ve come to expect – at their credit union and at the shared branch locations they visit.

Human intervention will continue to be an important part of the financial industry’s approach to crime stopping. At the same time, CO-OP is pushing forward on new technology solutions to even more aggressively guard against fraudsters everywhere.

Learn more about how to bring the awesome power of data-driven fraud detection to your credit union with COOPER Fraud Analyzer.

Ashley Town

Ashley Town

Ashely Town is Director of Fraud Services for CO-OP Financial Services (, a provider of payments and financial technology to credit unions. She can be reached at ashley.... Web: Details