Leaders in Lending
Leaders in Lending

Episode 80 · 1 month ago

Driving an Amazon-Like Experience for Members

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

When members do business at their credit union, their digital preferences aren’t just measured against other experiences in the financial services space — but by bigger retail and entertainment companies. So, credit unions need to keep pace with the technology and provide that ideal member experience.

Nicol Matthews, Chief Experi ence Officer, Carlolinas Telco Federal Credit Union, has done just that — upleveling th e digital experience of members as an extension of in-person service.

Join us as Jeff and Nicol discuss:

  • Putting yourself in the member’s seat to feel the pain points
  • What it takes to execute and elevate a comprehensive member experience
  • How to drive execution-mindedness at the credit union
  • The impact of AI in banking

You're listening to Leaders and Lending from Upstart, a podcast dedicated to helping consumer lenders grow their programs and improve their product offerings. Each week, here, decision makers in the finance industry offer insights into the future of the lending industry, best practices around digital transformation, and more. Let's get into the show. Welcome to Leaders in Lending. I'm your host, Jeff Keltner. This week's episode features my conversation with Nicole Matthews, the Chief Experience Officer at Carolina's Telco Federal Credit Union. UM. As you might expect for the chief experience officer, we talked a lot about customer experience. One of the great things she did I thought was just opening accounts when she joined the institution, to understand what the real end to end experience was. We talked about how you meet customers where they're at, what digitization means and can bring h and really the importance of not just ideas but execution and the ability to actually learn and iterate and execute those ideas, and a little bit on the impact that I will have on banks. She actually talked a lot about their chat functionality, which I thought was really interesting. What we can learn from people outside of the banking industry, uh, and the tilt methodology they learned they utilize there at the institution, all of which I think we're really interesting. I'm sure you'll learn a lot from this conversation as I did. Please enjoy my conversation with Nicole Matthews. Nicole, welcome to the podcast, and thanks for making the time to join us today. Thanks Jeff, I appreciate it. I'm looking forward to the discussion. We've got a lot of interesting topics. But I like to start with all my banking executives, credit credit union executives with this with the same question, which is kind of um, most of us is kids did not grow up dreaming of being in the banking industry. Certainly was not on my fighter pilot, firefighter astronaut list. UM, so I'm curious what what your career path was and how you ended up in this space because it's not, like I said, I don't think many of us aim here when we're younger. No, so let's go back, Um, probably...

...early years, right, seven eight years old. I love to play Sandy and Greece. Um, so that's crazy. I mean, you know, now, there's not much of a career in that I didn't really think further enough to say, did I want to be an actress? Um? But I would probably go a little bit later in life. And I had a really good accounting teachers. I wasn't that far off, but I wanted to be a c p A UM, so kind of you know what I mean, there's a there's a lot of synergies there, um for sure. But I like talking to people too, So this is the best of both worlds kind of brought it together product together. It is amazing how a single great teacher can change the trajectory of the things you're interested in, positive or negative. But it's amazing how when you find one teacher that makes that one subject fascinating interesting, it can totally change the trajectory of what your your plans are. Debts and credits, man, Mr McGuire, he did fantastic, Mr McGuire. Devit secredits all right, we got a class to take, Mr McGuire. But yeah, yeah, I think we can all point to those one or two teachers that, like I had a really profound influence at the point is in the right direction. That's greatly so, you know, I think, um, despite all the changes in the economy where we used to have certain topics that were big and other they're smaller and um still, one of the through lines I think has been the concept of how do we think about the customer experience in a digital age and what does it really take to execute well a digital transformation. So maybe I'll start our our conversation there. And you had an interesting approach. I think, like before you started building a digital experience, you had something you wanted to do. So why don't you walk me through kind of how you think about that question and what you've got to do to lay the groundwork for really building the right digital experiences? Absolutely, um, I mean it's it's a really big question, right and for something that is a big project, but you've got to start with a...

...strong foundation. Um. So really understanding I think first and foremost, what experience do you want to create? What are you what are you looking for? Um? Because it can be anything. It can be what we want to be the fast, the most you know, the quickest at lending, or the quickest at delivery, or or we want to make sure that our customers or members have the best experience in that they're going to go tell somebody else about it. Um, I mean, the way to a customer's heart really is about creating experience that they're going to talk about. So how do we lay that foundation on top of what we already have in a financial setting in the financial space, so making sure that our branches are incorporated in that, we're not going to give up the branch structure that we've already built. So how can we leverage the knowledge and the experience and the value that they bring, um by looking at alternatives to the way in which we do business with those members, you know, is it through chat functionality or co browsing sessions, things of that nature. One of the fascinating things I think is how how well any of us understand what the customer experience really looks like. And you would talk to me about kind of actually going through the process of documenting the experiences that you have, which I thought was fascinating because so, I mean, it's so easy to you know, you get caught up in this or that and the other. And you know, I used to go through my the entire lending experience on Upstart all the time. I just like now I put a freez in my credit and always forget that I did that, and I can't actually get through the experience react me with you know, going through it and seeing what it looked like and then going to our competitors and like I'm gonna do it and just see what the experiences and taking notes and single producting, Hey, how come they do this and we do that? Should? We are we smarter? They know something we don't know. I think actually the baseline of like what does it look like? It's really...

...interesting and so tell me a little about that experience of like have you been actually trying to document you your current digital experiences and non digital experiences and what the state of the art is. Absolutely, I mean I've been at Carolina's Telco for just under three years, and I can tell you when I before I started, I opened an account because I needed to know what is it right to experience opening account here? And I am one that opens several accounts. I like, I'm just I'm just one of the crazy people. I like to budget and keep my money in different buckets and so, um, I have a lot of different accounts and understanding what that process really felt like. UM, and it was painful. It was a painful process. In the beginning there there wasn't contact points, um, there wasn't um a simplification of the application um. And it felt clunky. Um, how can we find the opportunity within that? But I go take it a step further in that what can we learn from others? Maybe they're even outside our industry? UM, I mean I can go through the process on another credit insight, I can go through the process on a banking site, UM, And yeah, they'll probably have better improvements than what we have. But what can I learn from Amazon? What can I learn from Chewy? What can I learn from others that are outside our industry that have learned to make things really, really really simple? Oh? I like that. I guess I got two questions for you have fallen upon that. One is like, was your sense that the buying large to the team had an understanding of the pain points that you experienced When you say, hey, I'm gonna I want to see it firsthand. And sometimes I see that teams are so focused on the thing that they're changing or doing that they sometimes lose sight of the whole thing as it sends today. So did you feel like there was a good grasp I'm not asking you. I guess I'll throw people under the bus, but I always wonder if, like if we sometimes lose sight of that and if that was kind of a reacknowledge with like, hey, here's here's where we're really at.

UM. I don't think there was a good grasp um. This credit union has also probably run a little bit on the leaner side. UM. So again not throwing anybody on the bus. I just don't think there was anybody that had the time to necessarily focus on it. Um. And so you know that that begs another question is how important is it to have someone that goes back and double checks on what are we putting people through? Is it what we expect them to experience or do we expect something different? And if so, then we need the people to go through the process to understand what it is we're doing and does it match the expectations that we've set. So now, I don't think there was a good grasp on on the process. And I love your focus on the customer's perspective because they're just saying the Silicon Valley. I've used it a lot on the podcast, but say don't ship your org chart, which is to say so often we say, well, we have to do with k y C. So the k Y teams team is going to handle what that little part looks like, and we have the A m L and so your process ends up looking like a bunch of disparate pieces built by the team's responsible for really important things. UM. But there's often not a core owner that's saying, well, it's my job to make sure from interest to account holder that the process looks and feels and and makes sense. And UM I always find that that's part of the problem and those experiences is that kind of everybody's got their part to play, and they're playing the part, and nobody's thinking about it from the customer's point of view, saying what what is the user actually experiencing when we put all these all these things together. Absolutely, I will tell you we just went through um an n C a audit and one of the things that were was discussed was reggae and so we're looking at our letters that we send out and so of course compliance is looking at those letters correct, but it's like, okay, let's make sure it doesn't it doesn't sound too regulatory. Let's still make sure...

...there's some experience that's built in there um and making sure that I was able to kind of touch those as well, which you're right. I mean, otherwise everybody does their little pieces, but there's no consistency about what the voices of the institution. So I wanted to ask one of the things from the comment you made earlier, which is do you have any examples of things you found from outside the industry that you either have or would like to incorporate. You mentioned Amazon and Chewy or others. I think it's a fascinating point of view that you know, our customers banking expectations used to be set by like other branches they would walk into, because that's was the comparison point, and now it's like it's a mobile app, and so I compare it to Netflix, or I compare it to Uber, or I compare it to Amazon in terms of how easy to use was that experience? And I might compare it very much to a digital commerce experience, which is pretty different than maybe what I would have done before. But it's interesting thing about what can we learn from those places that maybe we can we can take and incorporate. And I'm curious if you have any examples of things you you seen you said, hey, we we we have or we should be incorporating something like this into the experience we provide. Absolutely. So let's use Amazon for example. I mean, I, like most people on the planet, do a lot of shopping with Amazon, and I'm not too concerned about it because well, I have free returns, right, So if I buy it and I don't like it, I just returned. Um. And so the process, even in working with them, UM, if I have questions, the chat function, believe it or not, is simple. I've never been disappointed yet in an interaction through chat with Amazon, which you would think a large company like that, you would have a pain point somewhere at some point in time. I have not done it, and I've interacted them probably on four or five occasions, probably within the last six months. Um. So you know, we have this chat functionality that we've wrought internally. We've expanded it to go code browsing.

So let's say that you are having a difficulty completing a loan app on our website. Okay, how can we walk you through that process? But going beyond that, to say, okay, you and I, Jeff are meeting face to face, we need to do that too from a banking from a financial perspective, So making sure that okay, you're outside of a normal network, you're not within the realm of you know, within three or five miles of one of our local branches, but you can still see your loan officer that you're dealing with, because we can start up the video call and things of that nature, so we can take it. We can start via phone, but we can seamuleus or simultaneously then move you over to a code browsing situation, move you into a video situation with ease, no dropping off, and say let me call you back, right. It has to be we have to meet them where they want to be at that point in time. That seamless transition is interesting because I do think I mean, when whenever you say stop and come back, yeah, yeah, I'm out right, people just don't. Uh. That's an interesting point, not just that you can do all of them, that that you can move from A to B, because if a customer needs to switch, like if you say, well, I'll call you back and five you go, I mean, I got things to do. I'll probably be making some coffee or you know, run into the store or picking up the kids or taking the dogs for a walk or something, and those you give me five minutes, I'm filling that space with something that's right, and then I'm probably you know, overrunning it and missing the call um that I was waiting for or what or what have you. That's that's an interesting one. And then you talked about like you know, winning your members hearts and how you measure the experience. How do you think about as you roll something like that chat or that kind of you know, ability to seamlessly moved between a phone call and a video or a co browsing experience. How do you think about measuring the impact, act, the...

...value the customer satisfaction with those things, Because it's you know, it's not in my mind. It's like sometimes measuring the capability of a feature is much harder than make measuring that satisfaction with the overall experience? Are there? How do you think about measuring the impact or the value of things like that UM. We do provide surveys obviously at the end of each UM interaction, so we can gauge their feedback immediately and understand what it is they liked, maybe what it is they didn't like. How was the rep um, but it goes beyond that. Surveys are one thing I always look to say, are are we growing as an institution? Are we increasing wallet share of our members? That to me is a prime example of we're doing the right things for the right reasons. Um So, growth is always important. Growth is ultimately that's the measure of success, right like winning. If you're winning more business, and today more than ever, you have to earn it, like you don't just get it for being there. You've got to earn that business. Um So, growth is usually good metric. Are we earning it? Are we doing the things that win that business from our customers? Absolutely? And then of course you know least amount of customer complaints, remember complaints coming up to the top half of the organization, so I don't get many. So that is another good indication that if there are I'm not saying there aren't any, they're at least being handled. I think taking care things are going to go awry, all right. Always you can expect that something isn't going to go right. But it's how you recover from that and how you handle that situation that's really important because that also can gain momentum I think in the way in which that person sees your organization, are you prone to the Jeff Bezos. He's he's famous for getting a customer complaint and forwarding it to the responsible party with a question mark as his only commentary. And I know, I...

...think we believe in drad of the question mark because that's clearly something didn't work and it's your fault. Why Why did I imagine there's a lot more time answering the question mark and typing it. Maybe I'll try that something. Hey there, I'm David brand, s VP of Lending Operations at Share and View Federal Credit Union. When we saw our members turn to personal loans to consolidate and pay down their debt, we knew we needed to improve our digital process. We were able to launch with Upstart in just sixty six days without any heavy lifting or hiring any additional staff. Best of all, we've been able to work with our account manager to adjust our loan volume and returns given the current economic environment. If you want to learn more about how we've been able to scale to ten million dollars a month in personal loan volume and acquire over members to expand relationships with you can check get our case study on upstart dot com slash lenders. That's upstart dot com slash Lenders. Thanks for your time. Now back to the show. We also talked about when you and I spoke earlier, kind of the importance not just of UM the idea, but the execution and the actual implementation of you know, there's the idea, and so many people will get focused on, I know, what we need to do, and then there's particularly financial institutions which often have you know, multiple parties and positions to say no or slow down or make difficult the project and how you actually go from idea to to launch an execution. Results would love your thoughts on how you think about that difference and how you drive execution mindedness and you know, and institutions that I think are sometimes averse to it or at least have lots of very reasonable committees in place that that can sometimes you know, make it difficult to get things actually executed. So we actually follow...

...a tilt model internally, and there are four parts TILT T I L T and there are four parts to the tilt model UM. We we learned this through vibrant coaching UM and so the four parts are impact, connection, structure, and clarity. And so as you work through a project or an implementation, you can work through those four parts as well. Um I am I am an impact um So, so my part is execution and that's why I love to talk about execution, right, But all four parts are important. So you've got the connection where who are you connecting with? Who's important to bring on the team right to get this project moved forward. There's the clarity. You've got to have clarities. They need to ask the questions how is this going to impact us? Who does it impact? Um? You know, and then you build a out, so you need those structure people. The structure people are going to build it out. You might go back to clarity and ask a few more questions, but then you've got to take it to impact because you've got to execute it without execution. UM. I know we talked about like you can have I can have a competitor that has a brilliant, absolutely brilliant idea, but if it they can never get it to the table and execute it. Nobody knows about that brilliant idea. It never comes to fruition. But if I have an idea that's maybe seventy five. Even if it's seventy there, but I execute on it, I'm still seventy ahead of my competitor. Never execute on that particular brilliant idea. Yeah, there was a line in the what's the movie called The Social Network, the movie about the origins of Facebook, you know, those two twins that sued Zuckerberg and claimed And I think at some point that movie, zucker birthay said if you had invented Facebook, then you would have invented Facebook, which I thought was that perfect juxtaposition, like if you it really done the thing,...

...then you would have done the thing. But you you know, the idea is not that. It is not the thing that separated you know, Facebook from Friendster or MySpace or any of the other kind of networks that can before. A lot of it was really in the execution. Um, and that's I think it's so easy to overlook and think, hey, well they had a better idea, like and probably the first idea wasn't the idea, It was the execution and the iteration back to hey, we're like right, but we're not all the way right. And the faster you can iterate that back to you let's of course I can get the last twenty five on board like that, that the faster you can find the winning combination. Absolutely, How did you you know? I'm curious that tilt methodology sounds interesting. How does that? How did that roll out within the organ or what was How do you get other parts of the organization on board with thinking that way? Because I find at least the people I've talked to in financial institutions often it's not getting their team on board. But when you think about a risk group or a compliance group or a legal group, that all of a sudden, like it's in the it's in the seams between these these groups within the institution, that execution starts to slow down, and not everybody's on the same page. I'm curious how you push that thinking across across lines in the institution. I feel like it's one of the consistent challenges I hear from people in the industry about trying to be more execution oriented or fast paced in their and their ability to drive new ideas. Right UM everyone in the organization has been through the tilt model UM. So we we also loaded UM on our internet page, so we know what everybody's tilt is or we can look it up right. It also is a way in which that I can communicate better with someone being that And and the idea too is to tilt to the different areas so I'm not always impact. It is very important that I learned how to tilt really well, that I can tilt the structure, that I can tilt clarity, that I can tilt to connection. Um. But obviously we have these preferences. But if I'm talking to a connection, then it's probably really important that...

I start that email or that conversation off with good morning, how is your weekend? How are you doing today? Right? Where in turn, my natural approach is probably hey do you have that spreadsheet done by five o'clock? Or you know, more of impact of getting the things done. Um, So I think it's been really good. We've we've also had sessions, so we've talked through what does it mean to be an impact, what does it mean to be a clarity? Um, we understand what it's like to experience somebody like that, and we talked through it. I've actually invited someone, Hey, can you tilt to impact with me for a minute here, because I really need to get this done quickly. Um. You know, so inviting people and just honestly a lot of times it's just using the language. You know. As long as we incorporate some of that language UM internally, I think it helps to drive it home as well and reinforces I guess message. Yeah. I think that shared language is so critical, Like it gives you a way to speak that everybody understands, and it can get you all on the same page quickly, and it's sometimes develops organically, but it's cool to hear about a methodology where you really like everybody has the language to speak where they can, they can kind of communicate you if their different styles are different in different places, and kind of see where you're coming from. Absolutely all right. My last topic for you before I make you go through the lightning round is uh, we talked about AI and what its impact on the general banking sector would be. I would just love your thoughts because it's it's also I think on the list of like I think I was thinking list, like when I go to a conference, what can I not avoid? And I feel like, uh, digital transformation, AI and probably blockchain or cryptome. Make you talk about the third or the three things that like I can't avoid in any of any of these days, they're always going to come on. Um, So what are your thoughts on where we're at in AI? Feels to me like people are now saying, hey, this is coming in some way, shape or form. But when and where and how and for what purpose I think are yet uncertain in everybody's minds. What's your take on...

...what what the future holds in terms of how AI will impact the banking industry at all. I would say if a financial institution isn't already planning and thinking how they're going to execute on AI, then we're behind already. Because let's be honest. I mean, all those mobile and and digital companies are utilizing AI today, and like you said earlier, they're comparing us two the Amazons and you know, the Chewies and uh, the up starts and right, all these different right hey, I had to throw that in there, um, but we're being compared to that, and so we if we're not already already prepared to put it together an execute, I would say probably when the next twelve months, we're behind. I mean we're already behind if it's going to take us twelve months. Are there particular areas where you're focused on. If you if you're like, this is coming, we got to get on board because I feel like there's all sorts of different ways you can apply AI. And I'm curious if there's areas where you say this is where we should start or where we're focusing on on today, because it's going to take a while for it to become pervasive every part of the organ I imagine absolutely. UM. I mean obviously the most notable is just member facing on the website, right, being able to answer some questions very quickly. UM. I would love the ability to also enhance process and procedure internally through bots. UM. I think that's a little bit further down the road for us only because I'd like to have the member experience and impact first. UM. You know, although I can see where they would help in that area also, UM, But we're behind when it comes to I think delivering on the website and mobile channels. UM. So that's first and foremost, and then go to process and procedure. Can't fault you for starting with the customer experience first. It is the it's always my my north star, all right, lightning ground?...

Are you ready? Oh gosh, I hope so free questions there, easy questions. What's the what's the best piece of career advice you've ever gotten? I would say, be bold, be brave, be courageous, Um, don't give up on yourself. I think that we can be our governors a lot of times. We can be that governor on the engine. Um. If you you know how many times have you heard the quote if you can't do it, then you're right. You know you can't think you can execute on it, Then you're right you can't. Um. You know I made it to a chief level with without a college degree. Um, and uh, I just worked really hard. I have my degree. Now I did it after the fact. Um, you know. But I think if I always would have thought, oh no, I can't go for that position. I don't have the experience, I don't have a degree. Bed find me, then I never would have gotten it. But I always kept throwing my names in a hat, and I always thought, well, what's the worst that's gonna happen? They say, no, not a big deal. I'm already expecting to know. But I'm going in with the knowledge of saying I'm going to learn something about myself. I'm going to learn something about that person or I'm going to learn something about the company, and so I'd never lose in that situation. That's creat advice. Don't be your own governor exactly. All right, good question. Uh, what is the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about the consumer banking space? Oh? I would probably have to say, Jeff that the picture doesn't always paint the picture the way it is. I think we need to be open. UM. Two, Maybe what's behind the scenes understanding? Even if if it's a going back to lending right, credit score is one piece of the puzzle. What else is...

...really going on in that person's life? UM? Is our opportunity UM. And we can use that in in other facets too. When it comes to employees, UM, you know, are they just a lender or there are other opportunities there? Do we really understand what their strengths are? Um? And really just try and dig into every situation, whether it be a lending opportunity or an employee advancement opportunity. I like that alright. Final question, most difficult, what's one bold prediction for the future. I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I don't even know if it's really a limb. If Amazon start selling autos, how does Amazon still start selling vehicle loans? You know what, what if they start selling vehicles, how does that change the game for us? I don't know, I don't. I mean, they they sell everything under the sun now, so how it's scared to think that's that's a fascinating I mean, I certainly will say. The idea that the way we buy and sell cars is going to be the way it is today seems crazy. I mean I started the process during the COVID when they had to buy a new car, and um, you know, there was no inventory anywhere and so everything was basically manufacturer order and I go to the manufacturer website and I fill out what I want and they sent me to a dealer who says, well, what do you want? I said what? Um, and then they got it wrong. You know, it was a whole it was a whole process. But the idea that that, I mean, that's a place that seems pretty right for disruption in terms of how we do it. And then you're right, the you know that that's that's how we get auto loans is through those relationships with that current distribution channel. So whether the manufacturers or you know, some of like Amazon comes in and disrupts that purchase pattern. That will it will be very interesting to see what it does to the auto ending business. You've got Carbon and you've got Echo Park, You've you've got some that are disrupting that today. But um,...

...you get a player like Amazon come in and uh, you know, with the resources that they have, it may go beyond that. Something we can't even necessarily predict all that it will impact. So very cool. Well, that's a great prediction. We'll watch how that space evolves. And Nicole, thanks for joining me today. I really this is an insightful and very interesting conversation. I appreciate your make of the time awesome. I appreciate it, Jeff, I really appreciate your time to thank you so much. Upstart partners with banks and credit unions to help grow their consumer loan portfolios and deliver a modern all digital lending experiments. As the average consumer becomes more digitally savvy, it only makes sense that their bank does too. Up Starts AI lending platform uses sophisticated machine learning models to more accurately identify risk and approve more applicants than traditional credit models, which fraud rates near zero. Up starts all digital experience reduces manual processing for banks and offers a simple and convenient experience for consumers. Whether you're looking to grow and enhance your existing personal and auto lending programs or you're just getting started, upstart can help. Upstart offers an end to end solution that can help you find more credit worthy borrowers within your risk profile. With all digital underwriting, onboarding, loan closing, and servicing, It's all possible with Upstart in your quarter. Learn more about finding new borrowers, enhancing your credit decisioning process, and growing your business by visiting upstart dot com slash forward dash Banks. That's upstart dot com slash forward dash Banks. You've been listening to Leaders and Lending from Upstart, make sure you never miss an episode. Subscribe to Leaders and Lending in your favorite podcast player using Apple Podcasts. Leave us a quick rating by tapping the number of stars you think the show deserves. Thanks for listening. Until next time.

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