Credit Unions

Why Zest AI? Why now?

Zest AI team
July 28, 2022

Implementing AI underwriting into your lending strategy can give you, and your members, faster answers and fairer decisions

Your credit union is committed to serving its members as best it can — that’s a given. A huge part of that is hoping that you're able to extend credit to those members when they need it most. But when it feels like a guessing game, or that the risk seems too high, that ultimately impacts your ability to lend to a member.

It's inevitable that you've declined loans to members who would have paid back their loans consistently and on-time. You don’t know specifically who they are, but you know they’re out there — members who were somewhere in the middle credit tiers at the time of their application who probably deserved a higher credit score than what they were given.

We can get by on the words "good enough" when we don't have any other options — but can we do that when better ways exist?

Today's world: uncertain economies but better technologies

The 2022 economy is uncertain at best. Ask 20 economists what’s coming next and you’ll likely get 20 different answers. But one thing is certain — no matter if the economy surges, dips, or dives, your members will need you to help them navigate. 

Luckily, technology has gotten exponentially better in the financial services industry — and cheaper. This is most prevalent within the realms of AI-based lending tools. A few years ago, only the largest institutions could afford the seven or eight figures required to dabble in AI. Today, thanks to the scalability of cloud delivery, credit unions of all sizes can afford to leverage AI to the benefit of their members and themselves.

Leverage today's technology to make members' lives better

What if your credit union could leverage cutting-edge AI technology to meet the financial needs of its members, regardless of the economic climate, present or future? A few years ago, that would’ve been costly. Today, that describes Zest AI's offerings for all credit unions in a nutshell.

Legacy credit underwriting scores only consider a handful of relevant data points before rendering a decision about a loan application. Decisions are slow and that impacts members satisfaction and growth rates.  


Now consider the Zest AI credit decisioning solution. Our system looks at thousands of data points, helping underwriters make better, more informed loan decisions — and even automating approvals. Zest AI’s technology results in an average increase in approvals by 25 percent without increasing a credit union’s risk tolerance.

Three key aspects of the Zest AI solution:

  • A majority of decisions can be made almost instantly
  • Models are customized to meet the needs of your credit union
  • Active model monitoring improves accuracy and keeps decisions consistent

That last point is especially important. Legacy credit scoring is functioning similarly to how it did 10 years ago, absent any changes manually made by you. On the other hand, thanks to the machine learning built into Zest AI's credit underwriting, your model stays consistent but can be easily trained to meet new regulatory standards and find fairer credit decisions.

When your credit union makes more quality loans to a wider cross-section of your membership, everyone wins — your credit union, your members, and the entire community.

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