Innovation In Lending

Take Back Your Time with Auto-Decisioning

Zest AI team
September 19, 2022

We recently were at a summit where we asked the attending credit unions whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement: “My credit union’s members would be better served if we increased automation in our underwriting process.” They unanimously said yes. 

You don’t want a member to come in and wait around for a decision — wait too long, and they might go someplace else. Automating your underwriting process directly benefits your credit union by significantly speeding up the decisioning process, but also improving the accuracy of your decisions by incorporating more data and better math, and even cutting down on costs down the line.

Obviously, all those things are great for credit unions — but what about for your members?

Credit unions were founded on the need and desire to serve underserved communities; that typically means people of color and/or people living in rural areas, both of which are statistically less likely to have a “usable” credit history by traditional scoring standards. That, naturally, has caused some frustration within credit unions being unable to serve those who need it the most. 

At Zest, our goal is to make fair and transparent credit available to everyone. How we do that is by providing the tools to automate your underwriting process, no matter the size of your CU. Our Zest Model Management System uses hundreds more variables — all data based on your member profile — and better math to provide you a custom Zest score that gives you a clearer, more accurate picture of your borrower. Additionally, we use adversarial debiasing to eliminate as much bias as possible to ensure that our models are also fair. 

Giving You Back Your Time — And Your Members’

Automating your credit underwriting can not only increase fairness, but you can do so in a way that improves efficiency and speed. On average, credit unions can increase approvals by 25% and improve speed to decision by 80%.

So, what does that mean for your credit union?

By implementing automated underwriting, you will certainly save time and improve members’ experience. Instead of spending half an hour manually underwriting each application, you can automate that process with Zest and come to a decision up to five times faster — but it goes beyond that. 

CUNA’s 2022 National Voter Poll showed that credit union members are twice as likely to use services like financial education and counseling than nonmembers. Services like these are at the core of credit unions’ missions: filling the needs of those in underserved communities, and helping them build wealth, weather uncertainty, and thrive. 

For members, having access to credit could mean buying a house for their family, or getting a car to drive to their job. That not only provides them greater stability, but can also give back precious time that may have been spent in transience. 

Automation gives you back the time and energy to focus on what your members need the most, at a time when they need you the most.

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