Leaders in Lending
Leaders in Lending

Episode 92 · 2 weeks ago

Rethinking Marketing & Incentives for Engagement


Credit unions promise their members more than a traditional bank, but communicating and marketing your expertise is not always easy in a crowded market.

In this episode, Karrie Drobnick, Chief Operati ng Officer at Verve, talks about growing and rebranding their credit union to spur robust growth. She also talks about creating a new personality of the company and then translating that into a better experience for members.

Join us as Jeff and Karrie discuss:

  • Their use of a recognizable and relatable spokesperson
  • How incentives can drive both good and bad behavior for sales teams
  • Where the opportunities in blockchain are for lending and financial services

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

And 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 Kerry Drovnik, the chief operating officer at Verve Credit Union. This is a really fun conversation for me. I learned a lot from it. Uh. Carrie and I talked about their kind of interesting approach to marketing, their creation of a spokesperson that represented the brand of Verve to the community, how they thought about the personality of that, where they started generating that personality, that brand persona. I was really interesting conversation. Let us to conversations about incentives. Some books we'd read, so some book recommendations in here, but how incentives really can drive behavior in good and bad ways, and how they're adapting to that, which I thought was really fascinating. And finally we touched on a little bit about blockchain, where the opportunities in blockchain lie. Why we think there's an interesting opportunity in financial services. A lot of open threads in this. I think a lot of it will be interesting to see where this evolves the next couple of years. Ends to the discussions, but a lot of really interesting perspectives. I enjoyed the conversation. I'm sure you as well. So without further ado, here's my conversation with Carrie Dropnic. Carrie, welcome to the podcast, and thanks for making the time to join us today. Thank you, Jeff, I appreciate the invitation. Yeah, I appreciate your accepting it. So I'd be got asking all of my guests the same opening question, which is kind of tell me a little bit about how you got to where you are. What was your career path here? It's not I think most of us did not envision as little children ending up where we are today, and I'm kind of curious what the path is that brought everybody to where they are. Absolutely, absolutely, I started more on the marketing and technology side, and if you know anything about verb, they were born out of a three way murder. So I had a really good connection that said, Hey, there I know somebody who's got a great opportunity for you, and feel like you would be extremely helpful in helping them marry everything they're trying to do and come up with a new brand and a new name and help them move forward on that. So I joined in. But having never been in financial services on the bank or on the credit union side, I had. My most recent position had been in insurance, which has very similar life cycles, so a lot of the same decisions that drive your decision to change are are so similar in financial services, so it was a natural kind of fit as well as insurance is pretty innovative in the way they do branding and marketing and kind of making something that's maybe not the most entertaining or engaging a little bit more so, so this was my opportunity to do that. So I got to come together and help them rebrand and reposition themselves in the marketplace. So forv was citizens first credit union, and it was four million and and now we're one and a half billion, and we've were a product of a lot of consolidation as well as just overall organic growth. Interesting, tell me, tell me about the innovative and market that's an interesting thing to say, but it is very true that like other than maybe i'll say, you know what's in your wallet, and the crazy things like most financial services are pretty dry and the way they're marketing and the products are not the most exciting, Like it's not like selling a sports car. You've got a more staid kind of products. Tell me about what how you think about the true So we did a lot of research around kind of the motivations of the consumer base, what helps people to understand that and how to connect to it, and we learned a lot of a lot of interesting things around how people going in for to be approved for a lending...

...decision, how nerving that is for a younger audience, and that was something we wanted to connect with specifics. So we designed the branch around that, and we talked a lot about we have kind of a foundational aim that says, hey, at the end of the day, we're taking care of their money. This is a very personal choice. We want to be relevant in the community, and we want to be relatable and a little less take your breath away, make you nervous, And so we wanted to have that type of an embodiment of a character and so we use that in a spokesperson, which is also something that they do more effectively to traditionally an insurance and not necessarily a lot of at least not regionally in the banking industry. That was something that we sort of embraced to say, let's create a character that gives us a channel and a foundation that somebody could relate to. Even if they may think this character is goofier, they may think this character is funny. We wanted to go more of a relatable, funny route and get people's attention in that manner because everyone can say we've got this set of products, and most people will say that we have great service and we care about you and all those all of those things which I believe are all true. But ultimately it wasn't going to stand out very much, and there's only so much budget to go around, so you wanted it to be pretty compelling. So I guess that's right. I lead into. We listened to a lot of focus groups, which I found very interesting to come into financial services and get to hear from the row consumer, whether they were our members or they weren't, to talk about those decisions, how they are affected on the business. When we're starting a business, how the consumer felt, how how each individual sort of went into that decision, the mortgage process that you know, so all of those different processes they talked about with us, and from that we created who are we? And then who? Who do they? What do they need from us? And where did those two things aligned him? That your point about the folks person or the character is so interesting that you say that I never thought about it. And then I go, well, I've got like the Geico get go, and I've an insurance You've got flow right from progressing, very recognizable character and like you know, and I can't other than thinking that whenever I think of Capital One, I think of Samuel Jackson, like I really couldn't. And you actually use many people as spokes people that I could not think of a characterized brand in financial services other than those insurance companies, which is interesting. I don't ask you one other question, but it was, how do you You talked about being relatable and offbeat or humorous or you know, um quirky, and I think that's a really relatable, uh you know, a set of characteristics. But there's this fine line in financial services, which is your point. You're trusting somebody with your money, and you want and so some extent you want the guy in the suit and the old school traditional state because you're you know, it's a serious thing. How do you think about kind of walking that line between being relatable and risks and being serious enough that people feel comfortable making taking out a mortgage, borrowing very large sums of money, making very muche purchase decisions. It feels like a tough kind of tight rope to walk to be both of those things. You're exactly right, and that's why both The foundational aim for our internal team is at the very front is you know, we will take care of your money. That was the very first. When you need us, you know where to find us. We get you. We won't try and sell you things you don't want or need, but but we'll be here when you need those things. So we help the team understand that that's really what we're doing here. The spokesperson himself so his his name's our our character and it rhymes with verve, which helped people break into the marketplace and understand it. But the the idea was let him be funny and get the attention of the overall consumer. But not so funny that he's the brunt of the joke, the butt of the joke, but truly the the Hey, let's let's be fun...

...me about the fact that we're all complaining about the weather. We're in the Midwest in the cold, and so we might have a funny thing about how we're all complaining about that same thing. But at the end of the day, there is a solution, and we know how to provide it were we have the the answer, the help, the support that you would need, and we're here in the local community. So we a lot of the things. When we launched, we said, but I'm not funny? Can I can I work at VERV? Yes, you absolutely can, And please don't try to be funny if you're not funny, because that's worse. We're not asking you to be MERV. We are asking you to be relatable. And so we we have some things internally around the engaged, engaged culture that talks about what you can count on me for. So my my statement is I value momentum, and then I'll give people kind of a sense of why that's important to me, because I think we're all we always need to iterate and move forward. And so I will I will always value a person moving forward, making decisions, reevaluated and deciding if it needs to be adjusted, rather than sitting in paralysis. We created that same thing for the character MERV. I value resourcefulness, and that's what our team is really geared toward. So he may go to go to market with kind of a funny and not everyone's going to find him funy, and some people are going to criticize it, but they're talking about it, which which often helps and at least it makes the commercial itself stand out. So one for for instance, it's cold in Wisconsin, and we had one where he did the entire commercial inside a snow globe and it started with the knocking on the glass. So it's it's not silly or I couldn't be trusted within, but I'm letting you know the offer. But by the way, I'm in with the Midwest, and we're in Wisconsin and Illinois and and serve some of Minnesota, so it's a common it's a common theme and a common joke that would happen in those communities. So that's fascinating. Um, yeah, it's a fascinating, fascinating front. I'm curious and how you translate that into your employs. There's kind of the character of persona and then there's like what do we do for our branch members, our call center members, the people who are here, how do we get them engaged in the brand UH and kind of connect what they're doing to to both the mission of the organization but also the kind of like the personality of the of the company and the culture we're trying to build. How do you think about you know, where this goes from the marketing agency and the character that's on TV to the experience people have in the branch, on the on the phone they're talking to your employees. There, there's a lot and it's very well integrated. And I think it's because we had the opportunity to build it together and had a long term vision so verve itself which the word itself means energy and enthusiasm, which you probably know but some people didn't. And it was around the internal focus groups, the things that when three organizations came together and wanted what would you like to preserve in the creation of a new institution. We want we don't ever want to lose that drive to help. We don't want to ever lose that that piece, and it was a pretty energetic and bold group and people who just really wanted to make a difference and and kind of launch something a little bit better than each of those small institutions that were really struggling to do all of the things that they wanted to do on behalf of their member of their community. So we were able to really build that from the ground up, which how often do you get to do that? Right, decide that this is the fabric of who we are, and this is what we're going to put on the exterior to really help us match what we say to the public is truly what you will find when you come in there. We we say often at at company meetings, we've got a number of pillars of our strategy that are on changing, and one of them is what would MERV do? And it's all about what would you do if you were being resourceful and working for the benefit of the community and the membership. You wouldn't You wouldn't make that decision because you got paid to cover...

...the loan with gap if it wasn't the appropriate product, Because you want ultimately to be in the best interests of that that member and that community. So you want stronger communities. VERV wants stronger communities, And so that's the parallel. You're not going to act like that spokesperson of that person, and that could evolve over time, but ultimately we will never lose the fabric of what we built this on around energy and enthusiasm for making stronger communities and serving each other. So that part, I think is very very well entrenched. We've we've had some really good luck with our engagement and the the and I call it luck, but I would say it's it's intentional effort around making sure everyone understands that everything runs through and maybe because that's where I started and I moved into operations, but everything really runs through the the filter of how does the brand get represented externally and internally, so that we're in we're in ensuring that that consistent thread goes all the way through it. So if you're trying to be resourceful and you're trying to improve the members experience, that happens in lending. If you're trying to, you know, improve their experience because they've had a death in the family and you're having to handle those situations, you're clearly not funny. But you are now doing that interaction in a manner that that values resourcefulness especially I love I love the I think so often people to find their brand or their culture by what they want the market to think of the mass and you guys really take it from like what are we at our core? And then how do we externalize that? Which is a slightly different path but a little more true. It could be so hard to try and impose, go, we're gonna be excent Well you're not, and that's a big shift to change a culture or a personality, but an organization and uh, starting from the core of what you really are, what the the organization values, and then codifying that and making it permanent externals are really it's a different approach. And you often see where people are kind of like what do we want the world to think that we are, which maybe not isn't what we really are, but what we ought to be? And then is how do I become that? Which is very different than the approach you're describing. Yeah, I personally had worked in lots of organizations and and this was not just me. This was obviously a collective of some really amazing people internally, and and we use some good partners to be to be sure we were positioning it correctly. But I had been a consultant in the past two people who were doing exactly what you said, we want. We believe the market needs this. Therefore we're going to go to market in this manner. But it's going to be very, very difficult to Once they walk in the door, it feels like they've stepped into something entirely different from what was promised, and so that's something that's really important to us. We've even try and do that in our retail locations. You should feel the energy and enthusiasm when you walk in. We don't just put the definition up and and then you get a very um, hard to read or not warm person. When you walk in the door, you should feel that we're here to serve you. We're making eye tech contact, we're pulling you in, we're asking how we can help you. Those are experiences that we don't script, but we make very clear that's the expectation, and I think it it helps us to draw the right people. So you wouldn't go into a verbal location, get a very energetic experience and then take an application. If you're a person who that doesn't fit at all. It It tends to almost have a magnetic effect, both on the members side as well as the team member side, which has really served us well in that truth of who we are and how we go to market. 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, 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 fift new members to expand relationships with, you can check out 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. So we when we chatted earlier, we talked about something I really wanted to dive into here, which is a little bit related, which is the topic of incentives, and this is I think one of the superpower forces of the universe that is poorly understood and unappreciate. What I think my favorite quote from it is was the upstanc In Claire quote is as difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. But you had mentioned that you had just read a Oh right, I read a book, yes, and and my rewards I want to say, is that it rewards. And I'm sure there's lots of other books like this. I was on vacation at the time, and I remember kind of tossing it on the chair and thinking, this is very frustrating because it's it's sort of flying in the face of all of the traditional incentive plans that we've ever put in in place for our sales teams. And again, sitting down talking with them, we did hear that if you I'll use the example of of protected uh lending circumstances, Right, OK, so you've got the insurance on this. The individuals were saying, hey, we get an incentive on this, but this member doesn't need it, that number does need it. And I remember thinking, yeah, we're telling them the total wrong thing because we don't want them to ever protect a loan that doesn't require or need that protective that's not in their best interest if it is. And that's just one of a million examples around help structure a financial situation on behalf of that member and be their true partner. We wanted to take some of that away. The big fly in that ointment is a lot of people come in thinking, but I'm a hard driver, and I do better when I've got the goal that I'm chasing. We've truly not found that to be as true as you would have predicted. And that book was part of this. It talked about intrinsic reward and the fact that sometimes when you pay me for it, So you could not pay a person and you could say, hey, here's your salary, do the best thing by this member, and then you start paying, and then you take away the pay and now the thing they used to do because it was the right thing by the member got paid for a sliver of time and then stop being paid and all of a sudden it drops off the face of the earth. And so in that book there was a story about and I have no connection to the people in the book and whatever. But the story was about a gentleman who lived across the street from a grade school, I think, and the kids were hurling insults at him, and he came out and offered them a dollar. Really like what you're doing here, give him a dollar to stand there, and her incepts and they were doing it for free because they were being a little stinker kids. And then then they recruited their friends. And then the gentleman came out and said, hey, what, I really like what you're doing here, but I can only pay you a fifty cents. There's a lot of kids. Pretty soon it's twenty five, and guess what, they never showed up again. And I thought to myself, that is true because they were doing it for free. They were doing it for now. We can talk all day about whether that's a good state of the world if there were people doing it for free. But but the the idea is that you have an intrinsic thing that you do, and when you pay you sometimes you mess up what people just naturally do. And so we we've used that a little bit to change and then we we evaluated it. We didn't want to harm anyone who traditionally performed really well and more of a commissioned environment. And we still kept some contests and fun things that they like to do throughout the course of the year. But we really he said, do what's...

...best for the individual in front of you. We don't want you to have the wrong incentives. We want you to go back to what the mission of this organization is, and that is kind to each other and kind to our communities and strengthening, you know, things on behalf of our members. So if you're doing that, we want to pay you the right way, and we will evaluate if things that used to get paid are not an alignment anymore. And they really truly stayed so steady and constant because we just have a great group of people. And I'm I'm sure there's lots of other institutions like that that have almost muddied the water. The waters. If they've really got a great culture and people who do the right thing, maybe just let him do it. It's so fascinating to me. I mean, I remember reading books about this. There's one kind of famous one called drive by Day, I think, which is a great book on internal but I remember them saying kind of two things which you're really interesting. One is like paper performance only really works on mechanical like to right, where it's kind of like how many widgets are you printing in an hour? And you can like on more higher level like what's the right thing to do for this customers? Really it's hard, um. But the one that you the thing you brought this really interesting is this kind of shift of like had you never paid on it, it wouldn't be a problem, but now that you've paid on it, it's hard to take away pay and that that transition back is because it's it's like any problem we're not when I'm starting from a blank slate. We're starting from a certain state of the world, and so whatever the ideal instate, maybe it may not have the same impact. Starting from where we are is starting from from nothing. And that's a seems like a really challenging thing to overcome in the context of particular things like commissions or people who are used to making you know, I grew up in the sales world where people are paid. You know, some of the nine on commission on commission on commission, uh, and they mean that it's hard to imagine a world where they're not doing that and they're not motivated by by that, And um, so I'm really curious what you learned from that process that trying to understanding the maybe it's not the best thing, but also that taking it away I might have more do more harm than good, like a very interesting so one of the things that we do as an institution and I and I've really enjoyed and appreciated it more globally. And this was our CEO came and said, you wanted everyone incented on the same on the same overall structure about the health of the institution, And so we have those as kind of a foundation, and then we built some of the ideal experiences we emphasize so in a year where deposits are going to be more important than lending or you know, when we have to swing those, we can put a heavier emphasis on kind of some of the the ways that you contribute to the pool overall. But ultimately we adjusted salaries to be more in alignment with we understand you're going to do the right thing all the time. And then there's a little bit here that's variable that will allow us to have that little push and drive. But it's more it's a little bit harder. It's not one to one, it's we had a consultant in they said you have do this, get that. I agree, we do. So if we don't want that, if we really want to make sure that we can get the person served in a manner that's consistent with their needs, then what do we have to do? And so we had to push up some of the base and we needed to make sure that we still allowed for some of that. Like I said, there's some gamification. I I I think it's never perfect. It's something that we're always going to struggle with because incentives, there's so many unintended consequences with incent incentives. But I would I would agree with you Jeff that the hardest time was when we had had it and we were changing it. And so we back tested a lot to ensure we weren't harming anyone who was really strong in particular, we modeled a lot of it, and we talked through it with that team and met with them and and we froze for a degree of time to say, hey, we're changing our priorities here a little bit. We had gotten very very high lending and we were changing some of our priorities and asking him to back off, and it was a inconsistent with who they were and what they were doing.

We froze and said, if you were, if you were making it at this point, you're still going to get that. Let us figure this out so that it really is in alignment with what we'd like you to do. Again, I don't know if that we'll ever have it licked. I think that's a continuous thing and why we're both probably fascinated by it and sometimes frustrated by it because you think you've got it figured out and then you understand there's one other thing that you may be missed, or you're you're taking a really wonderful performer who you enjoy and appreciate, and maybe they're being harmed by something you've built, and you're you have to go back to the drawing board and say, okay, that that didn't work as designed. So so we continually do that. But I think that just comes out of care and concern of the team, which which were always going to have. Yeah, that's a it is fascinating. I do like the idea of simplifying, because there's a version of that which is I remember I had this when I was at IBM and I was on a commission plan and we had, you know, so many overlapping sales teams with this product over these customers and these customers across whatever, and there's just this huge major people and your sales commission plan got so complicated you almost couldn't understand it. Like you couldn't because you, well, we got to account for this case in this case, and once you do that, but not if this and this, but only when that, and all of a sudden, like it's like a forty page thing and I don't understand it anymore, and there's a solving so that by like, oh, you just write the I write the perfect incentive plan, then I'll solve all these problems. And in some ways there's there's a degree of that, but there's also sometimes it's better to just like remove, make it simpler and focus on the really important. I agree. I remember when we were sitting down with the sales team and just talking about one of the some of the challenges they were seeing in it. And we've got some really great sales leaders and great you know, frontline team members, and they were telling us things and one of them said, kay, you just set a sentive plan and just leave it like that. Oh goodness, Now, if they'd stopped changing the economy a little bit, that would really help us as well. But but what was there was there was a wrong part of that, but then there was a right part, right, there was the simplification is what the true request was. Make it simpler for me to kind of understand here what you want for me. And I loved your example, the quote you used around you know, but it's in my best interest to not understand, right, because that you're paying me at a higher rate for this one. And that's what we ultimately wanted to fix on on both of our behalfs right, because they're not even doing anything wrong when they're driving to the thing, because through our dollars, we've told them to put priority on the wrong thing. Yeah, that's um, it's an old up quote, but it's just kinda Having had my early career in sales, I remember very vividly a an employee who was talking to their sales manager, and the sales manager song, we will need you to focus on doing you know, there's strategic parties for the company this year, and we want you to do some of this and he rolled up a sheet of paper and he put it in his ears and talked me through the sales plan. I can't hear you sales plan, and I thought, I mean a fair but be like a mercenary perspective and non not a team member perpect But it was such a vivid, you know, version of that mentality that I was just kind of blown away. Way. I can't imagine talking to my boss well made me either. But thank goodness for people like that who let us know that at the end of the day, we are we are talking out of both sides of our mouths, right. So we've created a salesman that tells you to do X, and we've made us an incentive plan that tells you to do why. And we've said, but we're here to help the community and serve the member and be be kind to each other. I'm sorry which one, which one? Because you can't You can't do all of those things in alignment. And at the end of the day, we're not blind to the fact that they have families and people to support in their lives and and and supporting themselves. So we wanted to try and do that. It'll be a continuous effort. So I don't want to buy any means pretend we've got it licked, but we continue to keep a lot of attention and time on that to ensure that we're making sure that we're putting it the best possible plan in the simplest terms in front of our teams.

Fascinating. I'm sure we'll be talking about this for this topic for years to come. So one other area I wanted to dive dive into based on our earlier conversations, was kind of the topic of blockchain, because you had brought this up and not everybody in financial services wants to talk about blockchain. Certainly a very interesting time given that since the first time you and I chatted, I think a few things have changed in the crypto space, um, but we were really talking about things built on top of blockchain, not so much a particular cryptocurrency. So would love your thoughts on what blockchain means to the future of the industry or where you see the most interesting opportunities. So I would so I would say that was part of my what is the industry? What's the industry thought? And what what kinds of things might we see in this? And I think actually Jeff, you and I were sharing notes on saying, hey, wish we had healthcare where everything just followed us. Right. This is if you had something that was was specific to you and you knew it was secure and you could just travel with it. So abody had all of your data. And I talked to my wife about this. My wife's a physician. It's just crazy that, like my medical records are really owned by like ten providers and I don't have agency control or in any real sense ownership of my own health data, which seems crazy, Like my test results, my blood, like you would think those things would be mine, but they really are owned by these different people. Even more than crazy, it seems dangerous, right. It doesn't seem like it's the best interests of the patient or the provider because they're they're at a disadvantage at understanding the entire story. And so I think that my ultimate kind of thought for the industry. And I've said it a couple of times, and I don't know that you know when we'll get there. And we did talk a little bit about will everything's crackable? So I guess this is crackable, and that's that's what If it's truly touted as the safer spot, that's truly your footprint. How is this not leading to better lending decisions? Better financial information? So your financial footprints, so you're to put it in terms of lending, to put it your buying power, is that that digital footprint and it is supposed to be secure and is supposed to be attached to you. And so if like medical records, we came that, if that was one use case, I think this is another strong use case. And what could the industry do if they really knew every day the entirety of my history and what I'm capable of spending and buying and and you know, what would be what's my pattern of behavior? And what does that do for the credit the you know, the credit system that we haven't and for you to be able to see it. I mean, we have versions of the concept of this, and like the requirement that you can call a credit agency or credit your own, get a copy of your report once a year, and you can a few things that are on which we've kind of had to mandate, but the idea that you you should have some degree of control, visibility, and ownership of the information, not just credit information, your assets you're you know, the things, the pieces of information you would like to make available to a lender or a financial advisor, whoever else. It's a really interesting concept and it is that idea of sovereignly owned, individually controlled data is it seems like a really interesting fit for the capabilities of a blockchain, um forget the cryptocurrency bit of it. I agree. I think that ultimately I see the use case more on the putting yourself more in control, similar to that medical example, is putting yourself in a position and and for the benefit of the financial this is supposed to be your imprint of you have ultimately, how you have performed, and what you what you have available to you, So you're not you're I feel like that's a that's an easier credit decision, and so what could that do for faster mortgages and faster you know, faster experiences overall, and really understanding Like I said, I feel like credit unions of anybody, now, maybe we are not going to be the ones that blaze the trail on how to get this attached to the person, but credit unions have historically been very...

...good at understanding the relationship and their member and so this feels like a natural fit for a credit union to really do the right things with in order to understand their true buying power and what we're what we're capable of helping people kind of, and how we conserve them. So I think the interesting thing here, because we thought a lot about this, is one of the I think about one of the really use cases where so many times I see, you know, blockchain projects, and I go, all you need is a database and for some reason using a blockchain, which is like a really slow, expensive database that has a couple of unique properties, and yet you're using it for like social media appor whatever. I go, this is no value to those properties in this context. But this is a context where there is. I think they tie that to an earlier conversation. The interesting question will be how do you get from here to there? And what are the incentives that need to be in place for the right data to be in the right place and accessible and usable, because you've got kind of a kickstart problem of like, you know, you need to get the right sets of data to make decisions and send people in the right way, And how you transition from where we're at to a world that looks like that is I think the harder question, then, does it make sense conceptually that such a thing would would be would be a better solution than some of the things we have today? Well, ironically, I think it comes back to what we were talking about earlier of incentives. So you you said, you know what, what why would Why would we want to do it? It blows up a lot of things that we foundationally rely upon today. It shakes up things within the industry. What's the what's the benefit to being the trailblazer in figuring out how to do that? Even? Yep, that'll be another fascinating thing to keep our eyes on over the next handful of years. Well, then I will ask you my traditional three closing questions, which in standard order Art one, what's the best piece of career advice you've ever gotten? The best piece, I would say, is be amazing in the job you're in, but never forget that you're you have the opportunity to make that job what you wanted to be. So I have a lot of individuals that I've worked with over the years who are very concerned about what the next step is and they're they're trying to expand their rolebook forgetting to do X, so they access the job I asked of you, and Y and Z are the icing on the cake and the amazing things that you're adding to it. But sometimes they forget X, and so there's been a lot of questions around, don't forget X, so be amazing at the job of which we've asked you to do. But but why and Z are the things that make me see what your potential is. And so I think that was something that that I sort of fell into accidentally. I had a uh person that I worked with early in my career who gave me this big, long list of things to do and I thought, holy cow, I am okay, and I tackled it. And at the end of the day, I gave her this list and it was for a six week assignment. She thought it was going to take me six weeks, and I did it that day because I thought it was today's task list, and so I powered through it. And she was the one who gave me that advice and said, if you keep doing this, you will go so many unbelievable places because you did what I asked. What you did more do it's asked to do a little more but don't forget the core. Don't forget the core. Yeah. I think at the end of it sounds so so incredibly simple, But when we're trying to think about getting ahead, I think we sometimes forget about the blocking and tackling of the position we were brought in to do. FASCT. I also think there's this um people want, you know, my kids want or people want like the six of the definitions of success to be some sort of like the thing you learn some sophisticated, complex principle and it's usually just like very simple ideas but executed exceptionally well. It's like they're simple but not easy, is what I sometimes describe to my kids. It's like, it's not a complicated thing, but it's really hard to do well. And that we can sometimes confuse simple and easy, and there are things that are simple and very hard and are usually um, not complicated things,...

...but they're just they're hard to do well consistently, and it's an ongoing practice that is very well said. I think that is exactly it. That it's really easy to lose sight of just the simple but not so easy thing to do on a consistent in a consistent manner. So alright. My second question is, Um, this will be interesting one for you because you came to financial services a little a little farther in you carew But what's the best advice you've gotten or given about the kind of consumer financial services industry as a whole. Yeah. I think it goes back to the thing that we head on a little bit at the beginning, is that this is something that people don't necessarily want to think about or do. It's complex, it's it's sort of that that task that they don't want, and so they need to know you're on their side and you need to be relatable. So we've learned a lot over the years, and so remembering that that you're sadly not selling the most successful or most sexy products and services all the time, and you can build some really wonderful characteristics to your accounts. But there's lots there's lots of people doing that in different ways. But make sure that you're consistently doing something that connects because at the end of the day, you're taking care of their money and you doing that well, Um, kind of losing sight of that is is a is a true killer. And so I think that in this space again, isn't very sexy to talk about doing all those little things well, but they do make the difference. And this isn't something people are running and banging down your door to get the newest thing. So you do have to make sure that over time you are consistently delivering. Consistently delivering. I like that, and my my last question is always, what's one bold prediction for the future. I was having a conversation about this this morning, about the bold prediction, and I'm sure you've or little things in the news about AI, and I do believe that there's a degree of AI that's going to reimagine pretty much every position from from bottom to tap. So we think about all those simple things, but but ultimately the ability to do very very complex things and where before it was but you need the human touch. And now they're figuring out ways to write a story that sounds like it was written by you based on using these past writing samples and things like that. Really incredible stuff. And I think that we have to imagine a world where every single job is reimagined, and what would it look like for you and what do you bring that that is going to make that not make you obsolete? So I think AI is gonna truly change a lot of things, and and it's hard to even imagine what it's going to touch. So it's a really great conversation this morning, and I thought, boy, that is something that we've barely scratched the surface on. Have you played with some of the most recent tools, the chat, GPT or the Dolly or any of these things. I have not, And I to me, that's in our kind of sandbox of where do we go next and and what can what can we do? So I would love to That's that's fascinating. Have your next guests talk about all of those so I can. I can sit back and listen, and then we can we can regroup after the sandbox has been played in. Yeah, it's certainly there's the level of innovation. You know, somebody who has worked my entire career in the technology space. There are moments when you see the I hate to say they're really smart people, but people who are really in the know about something where they feel like it's a pace of innovation as normal, which is maybe very fast, but they kind of feel like they've got it. And then these moments where everybody goes, oh my god, I can't believe what just happened. The people who should have seen it coming, should have known, should not have been surprised, just go, oh my god. And this is one of those moments where you see them and they hit you know, some of the AI tools, and they go wait, wait, this is like it's like a light bulb moment for people and people that you you would have fought were well informed about the state of the art. And so it does feel like one of those things where I sometimes say, you know, often in more regular innovation times you tell people start with...

...your business problem and then find the right technology. And in these transformational ones, so you've gotta go, wait, You've got to rethink everything you thought you knew in the context of the new technology. And those are that mobile was that way, the Internet was that way. There's not a ton of them, but this feels like one of those moments where you have to not just start with, hey, I've got to do X, what's the best tool for the job, and go how does the job change in the context of the tools that are now available, because they're just so fundamentally different than what we had five years ago. And I think the next three years will look like that in AI. That's my opinion. I totally agree, and so that's where I would say that I do think it will change it in ways as you were kind of saying, we're I don't think I know, but I think it will change it in ways that we thought there was going to be the simple automation type things and it's going to be far more complex than that. All right, well, we will leave it. They're fascinating a couple of topics to keep our eyes on for the future. But I really appreciate the conversation. Carry thanks for making the time and joining us today. I appreciate it. Thanks so much. Upstart 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 lending programs, or you're just getting started, Upstart can help. Up Start 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 corner. 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 missed 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.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (94)