Credit Unions

VyStar’s Chief Lending Officer Talks Innovation And Loan Growth

Bruce Upbin

July 14, 2021

A battle for market share and high deposit-low loan growth dynamics are putting pressure on credit unions to change the way they do business after a tumultuous year. When it comes to innovation, how can CU leaders stick the landing? We got answers at a recent fireside chat our CEO Mike de Vere hosted with Jenny Vipperman, the chief lending officer of VyStar Credit Union. We always love talking to Jenny! She had great insights on the challenges credit unions face in 2021 and beyond, including lessons learned from digital transformation and technology investment.

Here’s a clip and some choice quotes below. Click here to watch Mike’s entire interview with Jenny.

Jenny on the need to “break the process”:

“AI and machine learning are not the destination. They’re just the vehicle to get to what for me has always been the destination, which is breaking the process. We know that applying for a loan is a very stressful process, one that doesn't always include a lot of dignity as well... we want to get in front of our members ahead of time and say, ‘Look, these are all the things you qualify for, click a button to accept,’ and make it that easy.”

Early results from implementing machine learning credit underwriting:

“Right out of the gate we have improved our auto decisioning by almost 100% on credit cards. That's pretty incredible… We've also increased the average balance of the credit cards we're putting out by about $3,200, that's more than 50%. So even if we didn't improve any of the growth at all, not one extra person, we've just increased our volume by 50% just in the dollar amounts, because it is more accurate.”

Jenny on how to prioritize innovation spending:

“For me, everything I do is about making sure we're reaching more members, we're including more people into the process that may have been excluded before, and improving their financial wellness and their financial lives. That is the number one priority of everything. And if a technology, if a partnership, if a project doesn't support that, it doesn't get on the list.”


Click here to watch Mike’s entire interview with Jenny, which includes insights on how to:

  • deliver differentiated service in a competitive landscape
  • drive sustainable loan growth and positive financials
  • increase organizational agility and efficiency
  • innovate responsibly and win buy-in from boards to members
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