From left: Saahil Kamath, Eltropy; Saroop Bharwani, CU Copilot; and Rae Hoskins, CU NextGen (Photo by

AI: ‘We’re at the beginning of an industry revolution’

Financial institutions that use this technology will outperform those who don’t, panelists say.

January 1, 2024

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a game changer for the financial services industry. Credit unions that haven’t started looking into yet should do so immediately.

“Generative AI is a technology that can allow a 50-person company to compete with a 500-person company,” says Jeremy Pinard, chief lending officer at $2.8 billion asset Vantage West Credit Union in Tucson, Ariz., and vice chair of the America's Credit Unions' Lending Council Executive Committee.

Ryan Warfield, principal sales engineer at Posh Technologies, says the company’s Knowledge Assistant product allows staff to quickly access policies, procedures, and other information.

“Employees are empowered to help callers,” Warfield says, noting the benefits include increased staff efficiency, decreased processing and onboarding time, and higher return on investment. “There’s no need to dig through documents for answers, and there’s more time to enhance the relationship.

“Those who use AI will outperform those who don’t,” he adds, citing a Stanford and MIT study that found the technology boosts staff productivity 14% on average.

Saahil Kamath, head of products at Eltropy, says the company’s AI-infused, united digital conversation platform incorporates chat, video, and voice.

The solution provides human-like interaction, site navigation, knowledge base responses, product personalization, and an intelligent banking agent. It also improves agents’ ability to complete tasks, which benefits members.

When a member’s needs become more complex, the solution seamlessly connects the person to an agent for a consultation, he says.

“Generative AI has to be a forethought, not an afterthought, in your member conversation journey,” Kamath says.

Saroop Bharwani, co-founder/CEO at CU Copilot, says the credit union service organization’s (CUSO’s) generative AI offering is based on three pillars: cutting-edge technology, a consortium of credit union users, and the ability to keep up with the fast pace of change.

“We need to tap into the spirit of credit unions: collaborative innovation,” he says. “When one of us wins, we all win.”

CU Copilot offers three “agents” that improve employee productivity and the member experience:

  • Agent Fetch, which provides a frictionless search across policies and procedures.
  • Agent Echo, which offers real-time insights across calls, chats, and tickets, including an aggregated “emotion distribution.”
  • Agent Index, which searches for instant answers about members from core data.

“Generative AI can allow credit unions to redefine who we are,” says Rae Hoskins, technology operations manager at CU NextGen, a CUSO that leverages no-code development, robotic process automation, and AI.

“AI is revolutionizing our industry,” she says. “It offers significant potential for the credit union, staff, and members. Let’s take on the big banks and help members. Credit unions provide a hometown feel and experience, and AI can make that possible.”

AI can take lending to the next level by automating tasks, reducing paperwork, and expediting loan approvals, Hoskins says, adding that CU NextGen is working on voice-enabled biometrics.

“That means no more passwords for online banking,” she says. “You can say, ‘use my voice as a password.’

“Regardless of the vendor you use, choose one,” Hoskins continues. “We’re at the beginning of an industry revolution. Start now, do your research, and choose a vendor who truly partners with you.”

These leaders addressed the 2023 Lending Council Conference in Denver.