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  • Writer's pictureKelsie Papenhausen

Best Innovation Group Celebrates a Decade of Moving the Credit Union Industry Forward...

...Through Innovation

TAMPA, Fla.-- Best Innovation Group (BIG), a leader in credit union innovation, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Founded by John Best, renowned author and innovator, the team at BIG has been at the forefront of exponential technologies that are reshaping the financial landscape.

To mark this significant milestone, BIG has released a special podcast episode, recorded live during a meeting of BIG’s Innovation Club at Suncoast Credit Union in Tampa, Florida. The episode includes a discussion on the FedNow payments service, such as implications, how to prepare, and deployment strategies.

The conversation is led by Glen Sarvady, payments specialist and managing principal at 154 Advisors as well as co-host of THE BIGcast podcast. Glen expressed his excitement, "As a payments specialist, I've been following the development of FedNow closely. This podcast gives listeners an inside look at how credit unions are proactively preparing for this new landscape, and I'm thrilled to help guide this important discussion."

Formation of Innovation Club, a peer group for CUs

BIG's flagship offering, the Innovation Club, is a unique consortium of forward-thinking credit unions committed to fostering innovation beyond fintech. John Best, CEO of BIG and facilitator of the Innovation Club, explained, "I've always believed that innovation is a journey that credit unions and their members need to undertake together. It's not just about the next shiny piece of tech—it's about fostering a culture of impactful, sustainable change that benefits everyone involved."

Kevin Johson, president and CEO for the $16.7 billion asset, Tampa, Florida-based Suncoast Credit Union, adds, "Partnering with BIG has been like adding a turbocharger to our innovation engine at Suncoast. Their keen understanding of credit union dynamics and ability to spot game-changing technologies complement our in-house talent, helping us navigate the constantly evolving digital and fintech spaces."

Early group exercises around RPA and quantum computing

Under John's leadership, BIG’s Innovation Club has provided early exposure to groundbreaking technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). "Our member credit unions were primed for these technologies well before they hit the mainstream, enabling them to prepare and successfully deploy the innovations," emphasizes Best.

"When it comes to immediate and future challenges like quantum computing, the stakes are incredibly high, especially in its potential to break complex encryption. Learning about quantum hasn't been an academic exercise; it has been a crucial step in due diligence. Our credit unions have not only assessed the quantum-resistance of their current encryption algorithms but have also started to demand the same level of preparedness from their current and future vendors," adds Best.

"As of late, we've been working closely with Innovation Club members to delve into the world of Large Language Models like ChatGPT. We're exploring all facets—from use cases and implementation to regulatory compliance and ethical considerations. We're committed to understanding the unique challenges this exponential technology will present to credit unions, especially as all institutions will face a future increasingly filled with AI use cases," said Best.

Why Join the Innovation Club?

The Innovation Club is more than a talking shop; it's a catalyst for change. Best explains, "This is an opportunity to not just hear about the future but to shape it. We're looking to add credit unions who are as passionate about innovation as we are."

Interested parties can reach out to Madison Boroff for further details and meeting arrangements at

About Best Innovation Group

Founded in 2014, Best Innovation Group (BIG) was created to provide clients with the resources to quickly implement digital solutions and adopt cutting-edge technologies. BIG provides research and development in areas including voice banking, distributed ledger, and machine learning, as well as a wide array of consulting services. For more information, visit


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