Just ask Royce
Royce, the virtual assistant for University Credit Union, will help members fill out application forms online.

Just ask Royce

University Credit Union’s artificial intelligence bot provides members assistance.

May 21, 2021

Have a question? Just ask Royce.

Royce is the intelligent virtual assistant that helps University Credit Union members address and automate self-service touchpoints across the entire organization. The bot is named after Royce Hall, the iconic building on the UCLA campus where the credit union’s charter papers were signed.

“Royce is our attempt to create a frictionless experience with our members wherever they’re at, whenever,” says David Tuyo II, president/CEO of the $873 million asset credit union in Los Angeles.

University Credit Union wanted to incorporate automation while leveraging a digital workforce to be more effective and efficient. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and creating the virtual assistant Royce means the credit union can automate self-service functions while allowing staff to have deeper conversations with members.

Tuyo explained how University Credit Union rolled out Royce during “Artificial Intelligence, Credit Unions, and the Future,” a virtual roundtable from CUNA Councils.

The credit union launched Royce in four phases, expanding the capabilities in each phase. The phases were:

1. Smart discovery. Royce provides members with answers to general inquires on the website. The virtual assistant is available at all times. The top questions members asked Royce about were home loans, student loans, and credit cards.

The credit union has seen $237,000 in cost savings and avoided routing 23,687 calls to the contact center due to Royce’s availability.

“Our team has answered the call,” Tuyo says. “Royce has answered the call, literally. We’ve had 30% loan growth over that time. The bot is answering questions when members could have gone to other providers, like Quicken or Rocket Mortgage.”

2. Smart conversion. Royce will co-browse with members to help fill out application forms and improve conversion rates through a series of prompts and tips that appear on the screen. Integration with third-party partners is key, Tuyo says, and will allow for a smoother experience for members.

Since launching smart conversion, University Credit Union has had 678 loan applications saved, a 13% online application conversion, and $635,000 in revenue enabled.

“Royce operates as an assistant in real time for people who are applying for membership or loans,” Tuyo says. 

3. Smart transaction. With this capability, Royce enables members to carry out account -related transactions within online and mobile banking. Royce is available as a standalone app and will allow members to complete a variety of tasks, including check balances, transfer funds, view statements, check recent transactions, and report check fraud. 

Accuracy is key, and since launching this phase, Tuyo says there has been a 96.1% accuracy rate.

“Everything happens outside of the mobile app,” Tuyo says. “Royce is handling everything as if you were talking to a real person in a branch.”

4. AI call center. In the final piece, Royce handles all incoming calls from members and assists with a wide range of inquiries. The bot will reroute calls to call center representatives when needed, Tuyo says. This was possible due to what Royce learned during the previous three phases of the implementation.

“We took all that Royce learned during this journey and put it into the call center,” Tuyo says.

Since launching earlier this year, Tuyo says Royce has handled 15,200 calls and provided $152,000 in cost savings. Experiences handled by Royce include checking balances, dialing extensions, making payments, providing account information, and engaging in small talk with members.

“It caused a little fear—the bots are coming for our jobs—at the beginning,” Tuyo says. “But as employees saw how Royce could take a lot off our plates, make our jobs easier, and allow us to elevate our roles on behalf of the organization, our team members have responded very positively.”