Strengthening Our Vision of an Advanced Digital Ecosystem

May 6, 2019 CO-OP Financial Services

by Bruce Dragt, Chief Product Officer

My first six months at CO-OP as Chief Product Officer have been exciting to say the least. Even with two decades of experience in the payments and technology industry, I am still discovering new paths to product innovation.

Shifting technology, changing consumer behaviors and new fintech entrants are challenging credit unions to evolve the member experience. That can be overwhelming, particularly when today’s transformation requires integration of multiple partners and solutions.

To simplify the experience for our partner credit unions, we’ve reimagined our solutions lines to better align with the needs of your members and you. Our solutions are now organized as portfolios of answers focused on the various challenges you face. This multifaceted CO-OP ecosystem offers a single source for the products, technology and thought leadership required in a rapidly evolving financial landscape. I am pleased to introduce the new CO-OP solution lines and the leaders who will be driving innovation within each line.

The ‘Pay’ Solution Line

We are a payments and processing leader: processing 7.1 billion transactions annually. Every day, CO-OP empowers members to seamlessly and securely make payments anytime, anywhere and any way using open or private networks via holistic credit, debit and prepaid solutions.  We’re also enabling business accounts as well as we know that is a big growth opportunity for credit unions.

Yvonne Stelpflug, who has 25 years of experience in the financial sector, is well-positioned to head up the Pay solution line. She has contributed her expertise to some of the biggest brands in the industry, from Wells Fargo and BBVA Compass to TMG and CO-OP.   

What is Your Favorite Example of Product Innovation?

“My favorite innovation is FaceTime/Video Webex solutions.  I love how it uses technology to bring people together easily regardless of where they are.  My daughter being able to interview her grandfather for her school homework like she was sitting across the table from him is amazing.  And then from a business perspective and in today’s world of digital, it is important to still have the human touch and the visual interaction.  This innovation has been a huge differentiator in the quality of my interactions.”

The ‘ProtectSolution Line

Safeguarding credit unions and their members from increasingly sophisticated fraud schemes is the objective of the Protect solutions line. Fotis Konstantinidis and his team will leverage advanced, AI-based fraud tools for everything from authentication to risk assessment – each designed to reduce the impact of today’s fast-evolving fraud threat.

Trained as a data scientist, Fotis is passionate about using technology to uncover hidden patterns humans cannot detect on their own. He has been an essential contributor to the development of CO-OP’s advanced data-driven platform, COOPER. The platform is one of CO-OP’s largest technology initiatives, in which we are working to provide state-of-the-art machine learning and artificial intelligence to credit unions across the CO-OP ecosystem. Prior to CO-OP, Fotis held leadership positions at McKinsey, Visa, Accenture and co-founded several startups.  He has a number of graduate degrees from UCLA with a focus on data mining.

What is Your Favorite Example of Product Innovation?

“My favorite innovation is the application of AI and machine learning in a number of different industries, including financial services. AI can now help us understand human behavior better than ever before, and the credit union space is a perfect example, where the close relationship between the credit union and the member is further enhanced via insightful data mining.”

The ‘Engage’ Solution Line

When we say engage, we mean everything a member experiences, touches.  This is about connecting with members directly via CO-OP’s expansive digital tools, mobile innovations, branch self-service, personalized communications and live support.

Dr. Kathy Snider will work with her team to add and evolve our member engagement solutions, including digital and mobile innovations, branch and ATM networks, personalized communications, as well as live and IVR support solutions.

Dr. Kathy is no stranger to steering the ship (she holds a PhD in leadership!). She has chaperoned new products and initiatives into the CO-OP ecosystem for many years, having held positions in product management, business line management, client services, project management, training, documentation, account management, channel management, marketing and sales support. Prior to CO-OP, she worked in management posts at Fiserv, eFunds, US Processing, Inc., Deluxe Data and First Interstate Management Services.

What is Your Favorite Example of Product Innovation?

“My favorite example of innovation has to be the continued evolution of mobile technology and apps because they are designed to make life easier. Time is our most precious commodity and I value any technology that grants me more time and energy to put into the top priorities in my life.”

The ‘Integrate’ Solution Line

At CO-OP, we believe integration is innovation. This solution line, therefore, is an essential to the industry’s digital transformation, giving credit unions the tools they need to manage all the different services they provide to members. What’s more, the solutions within this category offer visibility into the effectiveness of those services, providing information and analytics to understand, drive and optimize them.

Nish Modi heads up the Integrate solution line, ensuring credit unions have the means to effectively integrate CO-OP services across their enterprises.

Nish has over 20 years of experience in product innovation, strategy and leadership in financial services, fintech, payments and eCommerce. He was one of the early innovators in digital banking, bill payments and business banking in late 1990s-early 2000s. Prior to joining CO-OP, Nish held product leadership roles at First Data, eBay, Worldpay and a couple of growth stage companies helping them grow by significant multiples resulting in very successful exits.

What is Your Favorite Example of Product Innovation?

“A great example of innovation is ‘Amazon Fresh’. They deliver fresh produce and other household items in matter of hours. The idea is not radical – I remember growing up in India where we had produce delivered directly from farm to our house every day directly by the producers or household items were a just phone call away – delivered. AmazonFresh is a scaled approach to exactly the same concept except now through innovation and their reach, producers can get to a larger consumer base, consumers (especially busy families or people with mobility limitations) have easy way of ordering what they want – a few taps away. “

The ‘Consult’ Solution Line

Finally, within our Consult portfolio of solutions we’re providing proactive, expert thinking, consultative strategy and thought leadership rooted in payments and technology.

This line is unique in that it is not led within the product team, but it is led by many of my colleagues across the organization. Year-round thought leadership events like our annual THINK conference and regional CO-OP Roadshows, empowers our credit unions to navigate the expanding CO-OP ecosystem while learning strategies to meet and exceed member expectations. Furthermore, credit unions can leverage our portfolio and analytics experts on the SmartGrowth Consulting Team in order to uncover hidden insights within their transaction data for custom campaigns and advanced card-portfolio strategies.

The world is moving faster than credit unions can independently respond. CO-OP exists to integrate and advance credit union services and deliver scale, so credit unions can compete and win by engaging members with the services they expect. Organizing our products along these solution lines allows us to help our credit union partners in the most impactful way possible, simplifying the search for the right solutions to stimulate credit union growth and vitality.

Learn more about the CO-OP solution lines and how they can empower you to deliver a better member experience.

The original article Strengthening Our Vision of an Advanced Digital Ecosystem can be found on Insight Vault.

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