Leaders in Lending
Leaders in Lending

Episode 83 · 3 weeks ago

Partnering with Fintechs for Member Growth

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Credit unions have a unique advantage helping members access the best possible products through a great member experience. Fintechs have a distinct advantage in cutting edge technology and working with traditional financial partners to level-up their digital experiences. But once a partnership is in place- what makes it work?

Our guest today, Jaynel Christensen, Chief Growth Officer at Commonwealth Credit Union, has spent her career increasing access to affordable credit for her members. Naturally, when fintechs entered the landscape to make lending more efficient, her team wanted in. As an earlier adopter of fintech partnerships, Jaynel shares her experience in finding the right partners for credit unions.

Join us as Jeff and Jaynel discuss:

  • The future of in-branch experience for members
  • Commonwealth’s productive history of Fintech partnerships
  • How fintech partnerships deliver the AI expertise to streamline efficiency   

Want to learn more about how Upstart partners with credit unions? Check out this case study mentioned in the episode.

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 and Lending. I'm your host, Jeff Keltner. This week's episode features my conversation with Jane L. Kristensen, the Chief Growth Officer at Commonwealth Credit. We start off with the discussion about what it means to be a Chief Growth Officer, relatively new title, on what that's combining, why that reorganization made sense to the credit union in terms of driving the best member experiences. We dive a little bit more into branch experience, what that looks like in the future, you know how far it's come, and also the history of Commonwealth has a number of fintech partnerships. Since we dive a little bit into how you find the right kinds of partners how you manage those relationships, and some of the AI threads that run through some of the recent partnerships. I think it's a fascinating conversation and certainly a great set of advice and interesting perspective for anyone thinking about what it means to grow a financial institution in this day and age. So how further ado please enjoy this conversation with jane Ll Christensen Jenew thanks so much for joining me today and making time to share your thoughts on the podcast. I really appreciate it. Thanks Jeff for having me. Uh, you know, we had a nice conversation before this, and I think there's a lot of really interesting things to delve into. But I feel like a good jumping off point for all my conversations these days is asking about how you got here? Because I kind of make the same joke in every episode. It's probably getting old for the audience, but like most of us didn't grow up dreaming of being bankers lending officers, uh in the credit union banking space, and yet here we are. Tell me a little bit about how you got from you know, got to where you are and what your career progression look like. So actually, this month, I've been at Commonwealth for twenty one years. Um, so I teached that my former boss who recently retired, I mean hired me like out of kindergarten. So I feel like I've grown up here. Um, not quite kindergarten, but I have grown up here for sure. And like you said, I was never that person that said, oh, when I grew up, I want to work at a credit union. It was just kind of one of those, um, honestly jobs that you fell into along the way. It was a good job that paid, you know, a decent salary at the time, and I mean it pays a solid salary, you know at the time. Start Now you know it's injury level. So there's you know a lot of um, a lot of opportunities there. And then somewhere along the way I kind of found my fit. You know. I think a lot of it becomes the people. I said something at my twenty year anniversary on social media is like, you know, you're starting a job that turns into a career to co workers that turn into family, And I think that's really what what's it was a differentiator for me, I guess, you know, for why you stay in place for so long. It becomes more about who you're with and what your purposes than what you're doing. And the people are so critical of that, so UM started out as a loan assistant in the contact center, so I did the telephone loan applications UM when I started out, and UM went from there to credit card analyst position. I had the first role of that here at Commonwealth, which the sole position was to review our credit card portfolio and figure out how to make it grow. So that was kind of an exciting role and it was new, and new roles are always good because you kind of get to define what they look like. You know, UM, there's nobody before you that's ever done it to set the set the bar, so UM. And then from there went to UM more of a leadership ladder of supervisor, manager VP of Lending, and then UM Chief Leanning Officer and then most recently into Chief Growth. All right, well you've been perfect transition. I love the croup. I love your point that...

...new roles are good. I don't think everybody thinks that way. Like an undefined role can be scary for some people, like I don't know what I'm measured on. I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to do. There's no playbook for me to follow. But for the right people, an undefined role that's never been done before, is like it is like an exciting opportunity to relay new ground and figure out what makes sense and what the priorities are. So it's interesting to me you describe it that way, cause I'm not sure everybody would. Well, I want to jump off from your chief growth title because I saw that and then I said, well, that's growth. I feel like mostly I hear growth from Silicon Valley companies that think marketing is a bad word and so they just call it growth. Uh, And it's a little different. But I don't hear it a lot from my credit union or bank colleagues, this idea of growth. And I'm curious why that's become a title and kind of what that indicates more broadly about how you're thinking about the future of the of the organization, because I think it's a really interesting, um, really interesting title to put into the space. UM So we actually have several title changes at Commonwealth that occurred here recently. UM our CEO did a complete review, revamp and kind of a reorganization UM and and the focus of that is, you know, really where we're going in our position competencies, you know, UM encompass that focus and it changes the direction a little bit of maybe where we were going before. So the chief growth is actually more of a combination of what we would be traditionally considered as a chief lending officer in the chief offer operations officer who would be over the branches. So like my um my umbrella oversees the lending area, you know, consumer lending, commercial lending, mortgage lending, and indirect lending and underwriting all of the lending functions that you would normally have. And then the operation side of it is the branch the central services for our contact center and then the I T M S. So UM, I think it's a really neat combination because over the years the two areas, you know, you always hope there's not but there's always a little bit of silos of my department in your area in this area. And you know, I really hope that having an all under one umbrella, that there's no hesitancy to walk across the hall and let's figure this out. We're all on one team. And while we're all on one team, even before I think it reiterates it because you know, we are pulling people right now from mortgage to answer contact center phones. I don't know that we would have done that six months ago. I don't know that as a you know, as a chief lending officer, I would have known how die or need the contact center wasn't and then it would have been an an initial thought to say, hey, mortgage volumes a little slow, let's see if they can answer the phone. UM So I think it great. It's a great opportunity to utilize our resources, to break down barriers and to focus as one, you know, one large part of the organization on growth and growth of our loans, growth of our memberships, you know, just growth in general. Yeah, I love it. I love that that kind of combination. It reminds me of a lot of my conversations talk about you know, starting with the customer in mind in terms of how you build your or chart as opposed to so often we end up building experiences in particular, um that are reflect how we are organized as an institution as opposed to what the customer actually needs from us. We the phone tree is maybe the greatest example. Well, I can't help you with that. Let me let me pass you off three times too. People who can handle your thing, which is like makes sense from the organizational point of view, but probably not from the customers point of view. It sounds like that focus on unifying the experience and the team to serve the customer, and that's kind of at the center of what you guys are trying to accomplish with that, right And um we you know, have a senior VP of Member Experience that came out of the Ring organ as well, and so that's one of the VP positions that report up to the Chief Growth and that position, you know, is focused on member experience. And you know, how does that look because I think the member or...

...experience today looks different than it did fifteen years ago. You know, we have a much um, we have a very strong initiative you know for technology in our organization and and I think that changes what the experience is in my mind. You know, the branch has become more of coming in, sit down with me, let me show you how, you know, let me take care of this for you, but let me also show you how you can do it yourself. You know, maybe next time you don't want to get out and come here you just don't know any know how you can do it, you know, through the app. And I think we've invested so much in technology. As an organization, we really really want to help our members know that they have choices. If they want to come in, that's awesome. We'd love to see them, always love seeing our members, um, but if they don't, they can self served from you know, right there at their own hand with their phone and and turning those into kind of like even Apple. I mean Apple, you walk in and they teach you how to use your device, you know, most of the time at the door. So kind of that same concept I think is are you putting a genius are in the branch? Yeah? Right, something like that, something like that. Yeah, I mean, nothing set in stone, but that's kind of the off the cuff direction. I think that you know, we're going to as an organization, and when we look at where do we go from here, how do you think about how that changes the training or objectives? I mean, I feel like the experience of the person in the branch and the skill sets that are required and the way they might be measured or uh, you know, evaluated, shifts as you move to this environment. Right, it's not the it's not the same old thing. It's a different experience, which can be intimidating. Maybe for some could be exciting for others. But I'm curious how you think about the change management of the frontline people because you're really shifting them from a more transactional oriented They're going to the branch today and they're there to kind of like what do you mean to do for you? And and now you're asking to be Maybe genius is the wrong, wrong word, but you know, more advisors, more consultants in helping people kind of self serve, which is a different skill sets. I'm curious how you think about managing that process and that change for the as frontline employees. Right well, and everything is still very conceptual at this point, and when we have the senior VP of Experience and so we're starting to you know, review a little bit of this and and that's that's our kind of a like I said, off the cuff direction. And do think that, Um, there's a lot of hesitation from the branches. I mean, even as you have conversation with leadership in the branches and start to mention these ideas that the first question is, well, how am I measured one of the metrics? You know, what what what the reports are gonna look like? Um? And I think that that's where as an organization, and we have to figure out that. I don't know today. Somebody asked me that question yesterday, but what does that mean to me? And I was like, I don't know, and I'm okay to say that. You know, I will figure it out along the way. Before you're required to be measured anything, Well, we'll have a conversation. You know, you aren't going to be required to meet goals that you no longer sit down and open accounts because we're doing it all through the app. But if it's a better experience, then that that's the focus. H I think at the end of the day, if we're providing the best experience, the numbers are gonna come. Um. And I think that if we focused more on that and maybe less on the numbers. I'm a numbers riven person, so that's a big statement for me, so um, but I think that I think the numbers will get there and we'll find metrics as we go through the process. You know, how many how many experiences did you have with members today? Is that as valuable as opening five accounts if you had twelve experiences? You know, I think those are things that were worked through and I think there's some coaching to be done for the team members in those areas, for us to figure out, you know, what does um what does their role look like and is it one that they still find that they enjoy. H I love that approach of not defining the metrics, because not that you're not defining them, but there's old I think quote from pattern which is gonna sound wrong with like battle plan never survives first contact with the enemy, and not not that our members are the enemy, but thinking you know what the right experience is before you have it,...

...and what you should be measuring branch employees on before you're actually in market finding out I think is a bit naive. And often we can you can set those metrics and then and then you they kind of dictate the outcomes and you kind of want the reality to dictate the metrics, not the other way around. What's driving the best experience and so it's um you know a lot of operational organizations can't do that though, like I gotta have my gotta have my metrics and my stuff set before we go. But I like the approach of I mean, you figured out that's what it says, what's certainly what our journey as a startup has been is like you get market and then you figure out that the three things you thought were most important are not and the two things you thought weren't are and then you you adjust your focus and your metrics and you drive towards the ones that are that are delivering the value to the customer. Yeah, and I mean I think, I mean, obviously we'll have our basic matrix, opening memberships, growing loans, and creating a positive member experience. You know, are are the basics that to drive everything we do. And you know, if we're providing that good experience, that the numbers are gonna come and we're going to see those We're gonna find what those things are as we go through the process. So UM, we'll work through it. I'm excited to have you back in a year or two and tell me what you've what you've learned as you've gone through this experience, because I feel like it's u shift everybody's sees, but not everybody is fully engaged in and and your learnings will be really interesting. Yeah, I guess along with that. As far as the other key areas, you know, another one that we have UM is a chief brand and advocacy officer and the advocacy officer UM portion advocacy was added during the reorganization that was completed. And I think that's another one that as you know, as we look as a credit union in the industry and the different things that are occurring, that's an area of focus. And and so that's why the CEO had decided, you know, this is really an area that we need to make sure is a clear focus for our organization for the industry and added that in. So I think both of those, the experience to growth, the advocacy UM, all of those were very help me understand advocacy a little better. What's the focus of the advocacy I mean, brand cheap, brand officer, I get, but what's the focus from an advocacy point of view, what's the kind of goal or objective or st of things you're focused on. They're focused on that role and I think it's not, UM, it's not my role. So it's it's held by someone else here. So I'm probably going to butcher this, so UM, just know that in advance. Apologies in advance, right, So apologies in advance for that UM, But in general, it's you know, the awareness of the items that are being considered, you know, on the heel, knowing you to talk to and being able to share those you know, concerns from the credit union perspective, and having the information um for us as awareness so you don't have like, you know, there's a debit change inner debit inter change item that's been a hot topic that we aren't surprised by that, but that doesn't come down and get pasted and then it's like, oh, look what happened that we're aware of these things and we're actively you know, using our voice to try to share you know, how this impacts us as a credit union, rather than sitting back and seeing what happens. I like it. It's uh, certainly there's there seems to be a lot of energy, uh in d C and in state capitals around topics related to financial services, some bills UM, some more conceptual topics that are not at the legislative stage yet. But they come fast and furious and they cannot unintended consequences. So see that the table is a great idea. Hey there, I'm David brand s VP of Lending Operations a 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 out our case study on upstart dot com slash lenders. That's upstar dot com slash lenders. Thanks for your time, Now back to the show. I wanted to delve into one other area I know you guys have spent some time in, which is fintech partnerships. Because while the while some of the growth stops and the ships in the branch are are evolving, I feel like you guys have been a little more mature and that's part of your part of your strategy for a while. So can you tell me a little bit about your approach to to fintech partnerships? And I got more questions but we'll just start with that. So, you know, I think that Commonwealth is like everyone. I feel like five or six years ago, we you know, you hear the word fintech, and everybody was, well, how do we compete with them? You know, how do we um, how do we offer the same thing that they're offering? And you went through that process and kind of you know, looked at it and then I think somewhere along the way for five years ago, I guess, um, we looked at it and like, okay, So so that's not an option that's not working out, um, at least not in the particular items that we were reviewing. I mean, the technology that they have and the speed at which they can roll it out is incredible compared to you know, our pace, and you know it was more of okay, so we can't compete, So let's partner. Let's find the ones that we can work with that are true partners for us, and I think that has been critical. We had we had an opportunity to really have our first lending fintech partnership back in two thousand and eighteen, and so we started a partnership at that time with q Nexus and you know, they kind of defined. Um. When I think about other fintech partners that we talked to today, that what we're looking for and and for me, they were a partner that was there for us along the way. You know, we learned together through the process and UM, And I think that's really important that they just don't hand you their finished product, because I think a lot of times credit unions need that guidance. What we're getting from them is something we likely can't do ourselves and we need somebody to help us with it. And I appreciate a partner that that doesn't just hand me the finished product and said best of bushes, let me know how it turns out. UM. So I feel like that constant communication as you're in the role out and even you know, post implementation, are you having regular conversations three, six, nine, twelve months, check ins of you know, what else can we do for you? And you know, listening and getting feedback from you on improvement, And that to me looks like a partnership. And on the same side, I guess for them, you know, we are a voice for them. We're happy to do reference calls. Um. You know, we've had an opportunity to to have you know, a few other fintech partnerships since the two thousand eighteen one with q Nexus and we've launched Zest and um you know recently started the partnership just a few months ago with up Start, and so you know, with any of those, were always welcome to you know, do reference calls and share our experience because I mean, we believe that these were are solid partners for us and we want to you know, share that with others. And so I feel like it goes both ways. They help us and we help them. Mhmm. Absolutely. I got two follow questions on this. I think it's really interesting area. One, I totally agree with your point about partnerships. How do you think about determining before you sign a partnership if you're going to have that kind of relationship or if it's going to turn into more of a traditional vendor hands off, you bought the thing, now it's now it's yours. Like, I get that you want that, but how do you figure out in advance if that's really how the partner operates or if you're gonna end up with a with a less ideal scenario, you know, I know, Um, it's one of those things like I'm not sure that there's an...

...exact science, Like there's not an exact thing that we say, yeah, um, in order to be a partner that's gonna follow up with us, and they must you know, demonstrate characteristics A, B and C. And that's the first shore win that we know that they're going to be great partners for us. And it doesn't um feel like that ever, that ever is the case. UM. I think, you know, somewhat in the demonstration processes and the attentiveness and and just the overall um feel of the team and some of the you know, somebody asked over the years, well how did you know Q next us? Or how did you know this? And I was like that should sounds terrible to say this out loud, but it's kind of a gut feeling at least to some degree. I mean, I think you just feel like, yeah, this is this, this feels good, this is a good direction, this is a good partnership. Um. And then the references are always great because they always say, oh, yeah, I work with them all the time, um or I don't, and they never you know, they handed me a product and they wished me luck. Um. But I think early on you figure out how well the conversation goes and and how attentive they are too when you talk about well, how will the three month call look or what what happens post implementation. If they don't have a really good answer, um, they're probably not going to be around. Yeah. And then my second part of that is how do you think about effectively managing those partnerships. I mean my experience is the typically, you know, the launch is not exactly what you expect, and then there's a unitive process to getting to the happy place. And then there's often stuff that was not in the phase one scope that is like hey, we can now go do A or B or C, or there's a new capability or a new thing we could do, or a new customer segment we could target or whatever it is that kind of expands the pie. That's part of an evolving conversation. So I'm curious what your best practices are for kind of like managing those ongoing relationships effectively to scale, because I do worry. I see I do see credit unions and banks who sign up for stuff and they go, I don't have a plan for most uh, And I don't I don't have like a good mechanism for for managing that, and then it kind of like sits on the shelf and doesn't doesn't drive the value was expected to. Part of that is the relationship topic, but do you think part of it is a strategy for managing that program in an ongoing way and that relationship at the at the institution side. And I'm curious if you've seen anything in particular that works effectively or advice you have for others who are looking at partnerships saying, hey, how do I get the most out of this? Right? You know, I think that in the beginning of any partnership there's a significant amount of time that's spent from both parties. You know, they're helping us along the way. We're trying to figure out how to get everything up and going, and like you said, somewhere along the way it launches and is always if you hiccups. I don't think if there's not hiccups and there's probably something wrong because it's just the way it's meant to be. I've learned over the years. Um, So I mean that's all what that's just you know, par for the course. I guess as they would say, but you know, beyond that, I think that you have to figure out the priorities as an organization and you know, how do the things that are rolling out for this software impact your direction. So for example, you know q Nexus, you know there's a rollout every probably six to nine months of a different version, and so initially we were really aggressive and taking those rollouts, and then you know, now we're a little bit less aggressive and we let it come out for a few months, and then we we take those rollouts, but we're playing on those because we know that the value of what's being added is worth it. So we know that it's gonna take some time to install this. We need to do some testing, and so we kind of slot that time for our project specialists. I think the other side is UMC as we handle these relationships within the loan umbrella um or what would have been I guess it's the growth umbrella now, but within the loan department. So you know, when we've um and I think those team members really understand what they're working with. And I t team you know, play a role and they have a support role in the server and other pieces, but at the end of the day, they don't know loans. They don't. They shouldn't, it's not their job. So our kind of project or process support team, I...

...guess, really understand the goal of the software. So when they see the demo of what the next release does, they can say that's gonna help the member so much because I remember when thist it dot it up and they see that value, and then I think that helps keep a top of mind, Whereas if we didn't have somebody in our area focused on watching those releases or reading about those that are coming out, then we may miss something because somebody else may not recognize the value from a from a lending mindset. So that to me think helps make it really top of mind. Um. And and then they're able to communicate why it's good, you know, because they know the lingo that when they come and say where, they're gonna be able to click here, and they're gonna be able to click here, and it's gonna give the application and two point four seconds or whatever it is. Um. You know, whichever software you're talking about, that that's gonna speak a lot more to me than if you send me a dissertation on a on a release that you watched and you're not maybe in the lending area background, and you're trying to describe how this is going to improve things, but you're not really sure. So I mean, I think having people that are familiar with the job that it's doing are are important. Um, you know, I know other credit unions have different you know, q Nexus is housed in marketing, and maybe that works for them, but for us, we found that this kind of works for us. I love that focus on the line of business that the other place I see in less credit unions but more banks probably is the innovation office that's like out there with the goal of finding cool fintech partnerships or whatever. But then they're they're often not as well connected to the actual businesses that the partnerships are about. And so that you know, drive for hey, do you want to grow volling, Well, I had a little budget here too. Is a is a task like I'm not the lending guy who has the balance sheet that could be allocated to this or who has a competitive product that we didn't think about how to fit this next to because we wanted to, you know, like so that that ownership by the people who really own the lending business or whatever the business might be. I think most partnerships in the learning space. I think is a really interesting point on how you keep ongoing alignment and strategic you know, focus on this versus like, yeah, SIT's an I T or it sits an innovation that's detached from the day to day actual operations of the learning business. You can kind of end up with a partnership that just is like that was cool to say, we did it, but it's not really driving the business forward. Interesting. And then I had one more question on your fintech partnership because you said Zest who I know well obviously Upstart I know pretty well. I think at this point just a little bit um. But the threat between those two is the use of artificial intelligence right in the kind of advanced capabilities on underwriting. So I'm curious if if that's just like happened to be something that you had two partnerships that that we're leveraging, if that was a focus area, and how you thought about getting comfortable with the idea of, you know, the utilization of AI in these areas because it is a new and more evolving space, maybe not as widely used using AI and underwriting. So I just I found that threat interesting between those two partnerships and was curious your thoughts on like why and how you thought about AI in particular as part of those partnerships. Yeah. Um, so Zest was kind of, um one of these products that I saw a few years ago at a conference and I thought it was the greatest, you know, great, I was really excited about it. I came back and we were in the middle of a transition trying to figure out core and different things, so it wasn't a product that at the time fit. So a few years later, after we got our core updated and we were at a better place, we kind of revisited that. But I think the AI technology is, you know, something that we had to get used to and really learn a lot about and that and that for me is when I when we talk about partnership, that goes back because that's was phenomenal with that. UM. We had a guy that UM he's no longer with the company, but every week he sat down with our lending team and he taught us about how they measured the technology success. And I know there's KUS scores and there's all these different things that are involved in the whole AI implementation. Of...

...an underwriting model, and so every week he sat down with like this power point and taught us about it because we were all really um adamant that in order to speak to examiners, in order to speak to others, that we needed to be intelligent on this process. And UM, So the AI focus is a little bit scary because it's unknown. But when you look at the technology and what it provides. UM, our vehicles s score looks at a hundred and ninety four data points in two point four seconds. UM. When I need underwriters to turn loans in five to seven minutes, I mean that's our underwriter's kind of goal is that you get the loan back in five to seven minutes on average. Let's say that they can look at ten to twenty data points maybe in five to seven minutes in between answering the phone, trying to answer a chat, and everything else that they're doing. UM, there's no way that my team can be as accurate as the as the ZES score. UM. And then you take that a step further. I don't feel like we're unique in this. People, you know, turnover in the underwriting area UM has been you know hard, you know, as hard a hit as any and you know that's the other piece. That's a key area of the business that we need experience and we need some really solid underwriting to help, you know, mitigate and reduce losses and prevent losses. UM and our underwriting team, you know, didn't have the experience twenty years ago when I started. If I walked up to you know, to a leader to look at alone, they had fifteen plus years across the board everyone you know that I was working with at the time, And I mean today my underwriting supervisor has um I think seven months in that role. I've got somebody else that's been there maybe a year, and we've got one guy that's been there, um five years. So it's a lot less experience then what we were used to as an organization. And we knew that in order to compete in order to provide you know, those fast decisions while we grew, implementing that AI technology was going to be a necessity. Mm hmm, I love it. That is great advice. I mean, it's is probably I always say now that I think when I go to conferences, AI and maybe crypto a little bit less, but crypto are like the two topics you can't avoid. And I feel like how the startups are put them in the end of their pitch tech whether they do anything with them or not, Like we're gonna do something with crypto because it sounds sexy. So at least two areas that I think everybody ought to have thoughts in a strategy around because they're clearly topical conversations. Yeah, well, and I think that, I mean, it's the future. I mean, I think that things evolved and you know, it wasn't there twenty years ago, so it's a little bit hard to understand. And I'm a little you know, I like everyone else, I'm a little bit skeptical of the unknown. But the reality is, um I mean, we're almost a little over eighteen months in in our ses score in the number of performance is incredible. So I don't have an underwriter that can underwrite as good as zest in two point four seconds. We agree, and I think that is the future is we we always look at it not only on the lost mitigation side, but on the other side, which is like when you're more accurate, you can serve more consumer whatever your lost tolerance is, you can actually serve more of your of your customers within that lost tolerance when you're smart about underwriting, and so we I always think that from that point of views, like how do we actually get you know, credit union price capital, bank price capital in the hands of consumers, credit at reasonable rates, at low rates to the most number of people, and AI is there. It's it's it's more accurate, it's faster, and it allows you to actually therefore either mitigate your losses. Maybe that that might be the focus today as we record this in a in a kind of scary macro environment um, but I think over time it's also how do I maximize the consumers I can serve within whatever my competitions lost toleran is And that's a you know, I think kind...

...of what got us all into business in the beginning is like how do we actually help that the most number people get access to credit and the opportunities at that unlocks. Yeah, and I mean that definitely is a focus for us. I mean, and I think that goes back to that experience concept that we talked about with the real organ the new positions there. You know, it's all we want that incredible member experience. How great it is it when you apply at eight o'clock tonight that you get a decision back instantly because zest is able to come in there and you know, with the score give a decision back. That makes the criteria so um, and we're able to starve you know, new areas that we're moving into that you know may have a little bit different you know, economic makeup than you know, a traditional member wouldn't. So, like you said, we're able to say yes more. Alright, this has been a great conversation. I got three questions I asked everybody at the end of this podcast, so here you go. First question, what's the best piece of career advice you've ever gotten? So I thought about this one because there's one kind of more like off the cuff answer that I was going to give. That's a not at it as thought felt, you know, so um. The first one is I worked with you know, a leader several years ago, and I think that most people are this way. But regardless, you know, there's a lot of responsibility to all of us feel for our job every day and something would break or or we would do one of those you know, infamous launches like you mentioned, and it didn't work and it was terrible in my mind like the world was coming to an end. And he was great and he he was you know, a few years older than me at the time, and he sat down and he was like, nobody's dying. And it was so simple of words. It was just like, I know, nobody's dying, but I think that I might. And he was like, we're not doctors. Nobody's dying. This is not that big of a deal to get this tressed out. And I think that, you know, at the moment, maybe I didn't take that as much to heart. But then, you know, as a little maybe a little bit of maturity and years came along and you realized after a few more launches that things don't go as planned. Um, nobody died and so um, that's probably one that I repeat pretty often to my team when they get really stressed out, because we all feel a lot of responsibility for it to go right A hundred percent of the time. Is I would love for it to go right, too, but nobody died and we'll be okay, you know. Um. So so that's kind of the more off the clo funny one. Um. The probably the more thoughtful, thoughtful one is Um, I had a leader that you said, and learn enough, become educated enough that you have a choice for your next career move. UM. In that way, it's your choice, you know. Make sure that you put yourself in the position that you've taken enough initiative, that you've you know, guide enough degrees whatever that is, and you know that you get an opportunity to sit down the table and make a choice if you want to do something different. Um, you don't have to make a move, but if you want to, it's good to have, you know, be prepared enough to do that. So I thought that was good. Take control and have choices. I like both piece of advice. I both are thoughtful in my opinion, even wants a little more off the cop Alright, second question, what's the best piece of advice you I've often said I have gotten or would give about the consumer lending space in general. UM, So I think this one is don't let fear keep you from changing, you know. And when I think about even the topics of our conversation today, q Nexus was a huge organizational shift for US, UM the way it was a different way for us to do lending than we ever had before. And I remember some pivotal moments of a conversation with my Celo at the time that right towards the end of lunch, and I started getting a little bit nervous. It's like, this is a big deal, UM, and it was a great direction for us as an organization, and had to how do I let that fear come over me and change maybe the parameters that we had set up with q Nexus, because you know, I didn't want to trust the system. UM.

And then I think it would have really changed the success of the program for us and really maybe even our outlook in general on fin techs because it wouldn't have been as successful for us as it is. So I think that you kind of have to embrace that fear. UM. Things change every day, and fear is good because it makes you second guess it. But then I think you also have to you know, push through the fear and trust in your decision UM and maybe not fear the change. Okay, not lack of fear. I like that. UM. I think it's so good because it's it kind of connects to your off the cuff advice, by the way, which is like you know, when you're scared, it's often because you're imagining something worse than the reality of what can happen when it goes wrong, and maybe that can free you up to to move past the fear. All right, last question, one bold prediction for the future. What's your bold prediction. I's just I think the hardest thing, um, just kind of thinking about that. So I think give it ten years, um and we'll see the men of ours is as commonplace as the Internet. Um. I think, I myself and just learn about the metaverse because it's, you know, one of those um kind of new things. It's not new, probably it's probably been around for years and I just didn't know about it, but it's new to me. So but the more I learned, the more I'm intrigued. So I think it could really take off. Okay, the metaverse is our bowel prediction. I like it it certainly there's a lot of smart people who agree with you on that one too, So all right, Joe, I appreciate your time today. This is a fascinating conversation. I appreciate your taking the time to share your insights with the audience. Yeah, thanks Jeff for having me. Up Start partners with banks and credit unions to help grow their consumer loan portfolios. And deliver a modern all digital lending experience. 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. With 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 lenning 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 four dash Banks. That's upstart dot com Slash four 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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