It’s people helping people, not bots helping people
Can we please not get caught up in the next buzzword? It’s exhausting to see so many FinTech writers trying to spin AI into FIs. Just like blockchain flooded the news over the last year, AI will also run its course. However, be leery of what you have heard over the last few months. Speaking of a recent fad, Bill Hampel (CUNA Chief Policy Officer) recently mentioned that, “At first much of what you read on the internet was not much more than gobbledygook, and hard to really understand.”1 The wave of artificial intelligence and machine learning articles you’ve been exposed to lately may have more hype than they do ground to stand on. You’ll see it everywhere for a few more months, then it will slowly fizzle out of the credit union space and this is why:
- It’s people helping people, not bots helping people. Friedrich Raiffeisen pioneered the credit union difference in 1849 and it’s always been about people helping people. While complex software can be written to self-evolve and respond according to incoming member data, it cannot compensate for the human element of service.
- Machine learning is nothing new. Credit union technology has been improving for more than five decades since 1959 when Arthur Samuel coined the term “machine learning.” Had he not died in 1990, he’d likely be invited to every credit union league meeting across the nation this year.
- AI is a task for FinTech, not credit unions. As technology progresses and smart people find ways for it to improve financial lives (think mobile banking), credit unions and members benefit with a simple flick of the on switch. AI technology will be implemented in the same way. CO-OP recently listed 6 member touchpoints that stand to benefit from AI: automated member onboarding, fraud detection, raising card limits, smarter marketing offers, chat bots and more productive branch visits. These are all legitimate ways that AI can improve member touchpoints. Now it’s time for FinTech companies to get busy and make it effortless for CU’s to turn on.
It’s true that AI and machine learning are exciting topics. Technology has changed the way we live our lives, access our finances and interact with our credit unions and it will continue to do so. However, let’s not forget what makes credit unions different from big banks. It’s the people element. It’s the local community feeling you get by being a member. It’s the relatability to those serving you. They are your neighbors. AI, robots, chatbots and machine learning? That doesn’t sound very relatable. However, if the technology can be delivered in a human way, credits unions will be able to up their member experience to the next level.
More than ever before, it’s vital for credit unions to choose technology partners that not only provide quality products now but also have a development roadmap to carry you into the future. Big advancements in technology are coming down the line and early adopting credit unions will reap the benefits.