Willis Chang is enhancing the capabilities and member experience of digital delivery systems at Kinecta Federal Credit Union in Manhattan Beach, Calif. He’s also keeping a close eye on the powerful possibilities of generational artificial intelligence (AI).
Collaboration with other credit unions fueled both efforts, says Chang, digital transformation officer at the $6.6 billion asset credit union and executive committee chair of the CUNA Technology Council, which he calls a “collaboration enabler.”
“The best advice I can give is to collaborate,” he says. “We have gained exposure to valuable tools we didn’t know about, learned best practices associated with our initiatives and technologies, and accelerated our implementation and avoided pitfalls of new technologies through active collaboration with our credit union peers.
“It’s like a free, crowd-sourced IT consultant.”
Collaboration also drew Chang to Kinecta when he became aware of an available position through a contact who worked at the credit union. Hired as a developer/programmer, he quickly embraced Kinecta’s mission.
Twenty years later, his role as digital transformation officer assists the chief information officer in planning and driving digital technology initiatives with strategic and tactical impact.
Enhancing digital delivery systems includes both the “servicing side” of online and mobile banking as well as the digital origination of share and loan products and services across all member-facing channels, Chang says.
“The pandemic has only accelerated members’ desire to self-serve on their needs via digital channels, and Kinecta is prepared to meet them where they are,” he says. “Not only should those experiences be full-featured and capable, but easy-to-use, frictionless, and guided.”
Weaving in assisted digital technologies such as chatbot, live chat, co-browsing, and video banking in a new virtual branch option is part of that strategy.
Branch transformation is another priority. This includes self-service interactive teller machines that allow remote video interaction with tellers, video tellers, and universal branch employees prepared to handle a wide range of member requests.
Generational AI’s potential will start to emerge in 2023, Chang says. Also known as GPT-3 and GPT-4, generational AI can tap data to generate human-like text messages used in question-and-answer interactions and offer other text-based services, such as language translation.
“Like with robotic process automation—which Kinecta continues to leverage to create efficiencies and enable 24/7 back-office processes—the technology itself is powerful but its creative application to business use cases is what will be transformational,” he says. “Kinecta will keep abreast of tools and fintechs that can harness this technology and will evaluate if there is return on investment to harness by internal developers as well.”
As digital tools evolve, risk management must keep pace, Chang says. Ongoing vigilance is essential, along with collaboration between risk, digital/IT, and retail teams to manage constantly shifting “threat vectors.”
“Infrastructure and information security needs continue to gain attention and focus to enhance data center technologies to support the digital transformation efforts and provide a high level of member experience while continuing to ensure strong layered security and fraud controls for the organization.”