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Change·Data Science·Finance·Ideas

Providing for Consumers of Tomorrow: A Recap of FinovateSpring 2014

It’s no secret; financial services are evolving each and every day. FinovateSpring previewed the latest possibilities for the types of solutions and delivery mechanisms financial service providers will offer tomorrow’s consumers.  New technology will allow the best financial services firms to meet consumers where they are with faster and more responsive service, improved security and fraud prevention, and the technology to make the process seamless and in some cases, fun and educational.  In San Jose, during two non-stop days, 68 financial technology start-ups delivered live demos to a record-breaking audience.

Filene’s Amazon pilot demonstrated the importance of technology in service delivery for credit unions. When shopping for a credit card online, members and potential members expect to start and finish the process online. Through this pilot Filene found that many credit unions had a broken online channel, in many cases, the member was asked to come into a branch to finish the process. For the 20 plus credit unions in attendance, much of the technology previewed at FinovateSpring could make members’ lives easier and be leveraged as a competitive advantage in this new digital age.

For a cool selfie of @cfraenza & @tansleys click here.

#FileneImpact #FinovateCU

Best of Show winners included:

  • EyeVerify, for its Eyeprint Verification technology that enables mobile biometric authentication
  • Loop, for its smart mobile wallet system accepted at virtually every retail POS terminal without making changes to the existing POS system
  • Interactions, for its voice-activated self-service solution for mobile and phone interactions
  • Motif Investing, for its Advisor Platform that streamlines the way advisors build, monitor, and rebalance investment portfolios
  • Ondot Systems, for its CardControl technology that allows users to remotely control their credit and debit cards via their smartphone
  • PrivatBank, for topless, contactless smartphone-enabled Android ATM technology
  • SaveUp, for its Gen Y/Millennial-oriented solution that combines gamification with personal finance . For more information on the work Filene and SaveUp have done together, click here.
  • Stockpile, for their “give the gift of stock” solution that helps people invest in the brands they love

Once they’re available you can watch the rough cuts of the demos here.

Over the last year, Filene’s Impact area has launched several pilots and our findings have proven consumers are looking to do business with institutions that save them time and make it easier for them to get things done. Filene’s Digital Strategies program helps credit unions streamline their online presence so that members and potential members can interact with the credit union’s website in an easy, informative, and simple way. Additionally, Filene’s Leeflet program distributes credit union brochures and material to members in an easy-to-digest electronic format. Due to our findings over the last year, these innovations also caught our attention:

Roostify demoed their cloud-based product that streamlines the loan application process. Roostify is a fully interactive tool that allows the borrower and the lender to seamlessly communicate. There’s no need to exchange emails or require branch visits. All necessary closing documents can easily be uploaded.


CUneXus Solutions demoed its capabilities that transform lengthy loan applications into shorter applications that fit on a 4-inch touch screen. The Comprehensive Pre-Screened Lending (CPL) strategy perpetually pre-approves members from a financial institution’s entire loan product portfolio so that they can easily take advantage at a moment’s notice.

While in San Jose, we also had a chance to visit with Meriwest Credit Union and other local area credit unions during an Impact Road Show. We walked through some of our latest programs, and the research and innovation behind them. Credit union leaders and executives left with at least one idea that can make their credit union even stronger. Filene Impact Roadshows happen throughout the year so keep your eye on our calendar for our next stop nearest you!

As members expect to have their needs met wherever and whenever they are, seeing the future of FinTech at FinovateSpring 2014 was powerful. If you weren’t able to make it, we encourage you to learn more about upcoming Finovate events at or take a look at the Credit Union Times’ 5 Things You Missed at Finovate. For questions or information on attending next year, please reach out to Tansley Stearns or Chris Fraenza.

Interested in joining us for our next Road Show, click here.

Data Science·Technology

July Focus: Technology

Statistics show that a nerd is born every 6 seconds, well no, not really. It’s more like every 9 seconds, but the data is slightly skewed…Ok, you got me, I don’t really have any data on the nerd birth-rate per second.  What I do have though are some fun facts about our Technology discussion over the past month.


In July, the Cooperative Trust explored a number of burgeoning issues surrounding technology and credit unions. The awesome news is that the future is big, bright, and filled with some brilliant credit union minds. Here’s just a smattering of what was tossed around:

  • James & Theresa got us talking about how we can use technologies like geocoding and location intelligence to sharpen our credit union’s competitive advantage.
  • Zac brought up a great idea about utilizing predictive technology in a credit union app to help members manage their financial lives.
  • The idea of being paid in mobile data to watch ads was thrown around with the launch of tech startup Aquto.
  • We were intrigued by CUFX announcing technology standards across the CU sphere.
  • Chad got our juices flowing with an idea about integrating Google’s Prediction API into a product recommendation engine based on a member’s financial behavior.

Saving the best for last, we had the great honor of participating in a Google Hangout with Phillip Kallerhoff, PhD from Jumiya Inc, a rewards program aimed at linking a healthy lifestyle and financial wellness. Dr. Kallerhoff, a data scientist (fancy name for math genius), shared valuable insights from his breakdown of large, member data sets, encompassing over 250 million transactions from five credit unions. His analysis points to some really interesting opportunities for credit unions, particularly in relation to lending to borrowers with lower credit scores. The bottom line is that credit unions have a plethora of data that is just waiting to be analysed. The quicker we start integrating the tools necessary to extract and interpret that data the better.

Well that’s it folks, July was a whirlwind of discussion, idea sharing and overall Nerd-Dom. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

-  Disclaimer: No nerds or technology wares whatsoever were hurt in the creation of this blog post.


Data Science·Innovation

Big Data & Product Precision

I’m spending the summer as a teaching fellow with Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program.

One day during lunchtime we gathered a group of students who were interested in consumer finance to talk about what was on their minds. The opportunities around big data (data sets so large and complex that they become awkward to work with using on-hand database management tools) was a major theme.

Big data can and should be used for more intelligent and precise product design.

As an example Jeremy Howard, founder of, brought up Climate Corporation. Farmers have historically insured themselves against narutal disasters with crop insurance sold through the federal government. This insurance takes months to pay, requires the farmers plans on government approved schedules, agree to regular inspections, and maintain and share years’ worth of data about their crop yields.

Climate Corp uses data from the National Weather Service and other sources to create a precise picture of climate conditions (so precise, they can tell you how an area 2 miles from another is different). “For each location, we have simulated the weather for the next 730 days, 10,000 times,” founder and CEO David Friedberg told Businessweek.

Their algorithms create policy specific to each farmer, and because Climate Corp is connected to realtime weather data they know immediately when a disaster causes a policy to be activated and how much to pay out.

Climate Corp only employees 130 people. But this mix of scientists, statiticians, and computer engineers are experts at designing automated, fast, and precise systems.

We, the credit union industry, sit on unbelievable amounts of consumer data. Much of that data that goes unused. Much of that data could change the face of consumer finance.

Imagine how this could play out for consumers with health insurance, consumer lending products, determining credit worthiness, and recommending products and services people don’t even know they need.

Where could this sort of articial intelligence take our design, delivery, education, and our sales in the future?

(Sidenote: The SU experience so far has been mind-blowing. I have lots of stories to share with you in the future.)

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