AI Effects: Bot and Human Harmony

    By Dr. David L. Tuyo II, President and CEO of University Credit Union

    Dr. David L. Tuyo II, President and CEO of University Credit Union

    University Credit Union (UCU) has a rich history in academia as the cooperative was founded by a dozen UCLA employees who had a strong desire to change the rules of the banking industry. The idealists set out to create a cooperative that would give everyone in the university community a financial advantage and, 70-plus years later, University Credit Union is still boldly delivering on its founding principles that were solidified and signed at the iconic UCLA building, Royce Hall. Today, the UCU impact can be seen across the globe with a concentration in the western United States. As UCU has grown from the university that played a large role in technology developments, including the internet, the credit union has focused on intelligent and intentional growth. UCU has since become a cooperative delivering unparalleled tangible value through leveraging cognitive automation, fulfillment automation, and an intelligent, agile, growth-oriented culture.

    “Cognitive Automation” is one of our favorite terms to use instead of “Artificial Intelligence” as we believe it is more descriptive of what we are trying to deliver. UCU started a cognitive automation journey a number of years ago and recently made several strategic investments in the summer of 2020 when the UCU Intelligent Virtual Assistant Royce was born. Since July 2020, Royce has assisted our members with loan applications, questions about their accounts, transaction performance and soon will be providing financial advice. In 2021, Royce fully automated 24% of all telephone calls coming into our contact center and thousands of other interactions on various platforms. Royce, since the birth of UCU AI, has averaged 98.98% accuracy and is learning more every day. Currently, we are surpassing the 40% mark and heading to what we believe will approach 75% automation in every interaction on any platform that our member-owners choose to engage UCU. UCU continues to remove hurdles as well, as we recently launched voice authentication to increase speed and quality for our member-owners.

    Fulfillment Automation is a key component to intelligent scaling, or growth of your credit union. UCU is putting significant investment dollars to work in connecting all of our solutions to provide a seamless ecosystem providing maximum automation. Royce has ignited a technological transformation in how our team approaches our daily service to member-owners. UCU has grown loans, members, and assets over 20% since launching our first experience with Royce, in addition to crossing the billion-dollar threshold. Our culture has transformed to think and approach the business differently. The growth has allowed UCU to further provide tangible value to our member-owners through the elimination and reduction of several fees, most notably overdraft privilege fees.

    The evolution, or as some say revolution, at UCU didn’t come without friction. The team experienced some apprehension in the beginning, both about service levels to our members and adoption as well as potential impacts on team members jobs such as a reduction or elimination of positions. Although with our digital workforce we require less humans as we scale, we still need human intellect. Our “Automate and Elevate” initiatives have propelled our team members to become certified in financial counseling, pursue education from UCLA and other notable universities around communication and psychology, and become students of their profession through enduring a rigorous two-year program at our partner universities for Personal Financial Planning. Our workforce is different by design. We have bots and humans working harmoniously together, with bots working 24/7/365 and now our team members, including executives, are located coast to coast across in 11 different states and counting. We can discuss that endeavor at another time, but if you haven’t started leaning into the world of work from anywhere (WFA), then you could be missing strategies to provide your team with the best quality of life, on their terms, unlocking hidden potential while operating at record levels of engagement.

    UCU is continuing to build on our strong innovative beginnings using cognitive automation, Robotic Process Automation, and soon a venture into the metaverse. We are thrilled to provide your credit union with upcoming information on algorithmic leadership, the metaverse, and the new leadership competencies required for the future. It is our sincere hope that this information may be the spark that inspires your organization’s institutional curiosity to explore a new frontier and unlock your cooperative potential. We wish you the best on your journey and look forward to celebrating the success of your credit union. 

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