There’s been an elephant in the room for a while now…

Zest AI team
August 16, 2023

What can CUs do when they’re all lent out but still needing to lend?

Zest AI’s CEO, Mike de Vere was invited to share some insights around what the world of lending looks like today in the 2023 CUNA Environmental Scan. 

In his piece, Mike explores the complex landscape of economic uncertainty in the US and how the back and forth of “Is there a recession? When is it coming? Or are we in the middle of a recession?” impacts credit unions ability to lend and ultimately the lives of their members. 

Despite the challenges of our current economic times, Mike emphasizes the crucial role credit unions play in supporting their members through the good and bad. Drawing on insights from industry leaders and experts like Zest AI’s friends at Golden1 Credit Union, Vystar Credit Union,  Seasons Federal Credit Union, First Service Credit Union, Riverfront Federal Credit Union, and Suncoast Credit Union, Mike highlights the importance of how credit unions build trust within their communities by offering innovative solutions to members facing financial hardships.

Inherent bias and systemic issues disproportionately affect protected classes during economic downturns and inflation spikes. But credit unions need to cut costs to fortify their businesses. By enhancing their lending practices through technology like AI-automated underwriting, they can gain efficiencies, save cash, and also better serve those members who are feeling a greater burden due to the effects of economic uncertainty.

Mike explains how credit unions can streamline their lending operations and improve member experiences through the use of AI, and emphasizes the importance of adapting to changing member expectations and providing swift, accurate lending decisions that can help prevent members from resorting to predatory lenders when they need a loan.

Ultimately, Mike advocates for credit unions to seize the opportunity to reevaluate their lending practices, prioritize member needs, and adopt AI-automated underwriting technologies to create a resilient and inclusive financial landscape.

By doing so, credit unions can strengthen member loyalty, trust, and financial well-being — even in the face of economic uncertainties.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the 2023 CUNA Environmental Scan to read Mike’s full article, you can do so here and find his piece on pages 41-45.

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