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  • Writer's pictureRoy Urrico

Eltropy’s Ashish Garg on Credit Unions and 2023 Trends


Eltropy's all-In-one contact center solution. Source: Eltropy.

By Roy Urrico


Finopotamus chatted with Eltropy Co-Founder and CEO Ashish Garg, who spoke about the company’s direction and fintech trends for 2023.


Ongoing fraud threat, continuing labor shortage, contact center transitions and help with collections are four trending areas that Garg foresees. He also expects the Milpitas, Calif.-based Eltropy, which enables financial institutions to engage digitally in a secure and compliant way, to help credit unions address each of these trending areas.


Four Trending Areas


1. Fraud

Eltropy Co-Founder and CEO Ashish Garg.

“Everyone right now is dealing with fraud at some level. It is high on the list for most financial institutions, and community banks and credit unions have come to realize that this problem is not going away,” said Garg. He noted that two-factor and multi-factor authentication have quickly become the standard method for preventing and fighting fraud, and community financial institutions (CFIs) are using these secure authentication tools so their members can not only access their accounts, but also know who is reaching out to them. “What the savvy credit unions will be doing more of in 2023 is blending commonly used technologies into the strength of multi-factor authentication tools. This blending of the old and the new, essentially, gives their members peace of mind while also creating an effective, digital and in-branch communications strategy that will have staying power over time.”


2. Labor shortage


Garg suggested the current and projected unpredictable job landscape combined with existing widespread staffing shortages are testing the entire financial industry, including community banks and credit unions. “Here is what is happening as a result: To combat the lack of available workers, in-branch video banking capabilities are being adopted in unprecedented numbers. This is allowing hundreds more credit unions to get around the staffing shortage, maximize their resources and have the ability to members anytime, anywhere, in their channel of choice.”


Garg pointed out many progressive credit unions such as the $5.4 billion Liberty Lake, Wash.-based Spokane Teachers Credit Union – which formerly had a limited geographic area – are now expanding. “These credit unions can still open branches thanks to their utilization of video banking. It is all part of a widespread trend to have a strategic digital and in-branch communications strategy that allows a CFI to service more members in-branch.”


3. Contact Centers In Transition


“It is no secret that the trend of working from home, accelerated by the pandemic, is here to stay. This is what workers want. And this is what they are demanding. So, the first trend is that credit union and community bank call centers will continue to allow their employees to work remotely – or even require it,” said Garg. Otherwise, he said they will “simply lose out to their competitors” in the long run. “The second big trend here is that the contact centers agents are essentially being forced to blend multiple forms of communication into one, coherent conversation, without missing a beat.” Garg listed secure chat, text and voice as the big ones, with video becoming increasingly important. “Those community bank contact centers and call center agents who can use the proper technology to effectively handle all channels – often simultaneously – are the ones who will come out on top.”


A third major trend in contact centers, he added, is artificial intelligence (AI) to help automate the simplest tasks. “The basic, general questions must be handled by AI to free up time for agents, whose job increasingly is to build relationships with members. Authentication, quick templates and keywords are all tools that will be helping call centers provide faster responses so the agents can slow down and take the proper time on the important questions.”


4. Help With Collections


“Everyone is predicting a giant recession coming our way in 2023. If this were to happen, delinquencies will rise dramatically, and technology (like texting plus AI) will need to step up to help credit unions,” said Garg. He added, “the problem is that most members dislike collections calls (to put it lightly). In fact, only 1 in 100 collections phone calls get answered.” However, when receiving a text about collections, a whopping 40 in 100 members respond. “Credit union members who otherwise feel embarrassed to talk on the phone for collections tend to be much more willing to communicate by text.” Garg noted texting lowers the barrier to entry into a conversation. “Having a compliant, secure text messaging solution for collections will be a focus for credit unions and their digital and in-branch communications strategies in 2023.”


Eltropy Can Help Credit Unions


“Essentially every credit union in the country – and there are approximately 5,000 of them – is looking to increase their deposits, increase their customer satisfaction and lower the costs of their operations, including their contact center,” said Garg. He added Eltropy can help them do each of those things. Another important part of Eltropy’s ecosystem is the Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) that he said combines the best of both AI and human interaction, as part of a complete, digital communications platform. “It helps credit unions (and community banks) improve the banking experience by taking a load off the contact center agents so they can focus on the relationships and what only they can do.”


Garg suggested that Eltropy helps CFIs to better communicate, automate and use artificial intelligence properly to improve their operations, their productivity and build loyalty with their members. “All this through the proper use of text, video, secure chat, co-browsing, screen sharing, and chatbot technology — all integrated into a single platform bolstered by proprietary AI, skill-based routing, and other contact center capabilities.”


Eltropy Prepares for Forthcoming Trends


Garg maintained that Eltropy is addressing each trend one by one, and all at once. “To fight fraud, our industry-leading digital communications platform has built-in the secure multi-factor authentication tools we talked about earlier. In addressing the labor shortage, we are helping CFIs come on board faster with video banking. To help the contact centers in their transition, Eltropy is providing that right blend – text, video calling, and real-time photo ID identification – to help facilitate meaningful conversation between the customer/member and their community financial institution, securely, on their terms, in their channel of preference, wherever and whenever they are ready to engage.”


Eltropy is now working with more than 550 community financial institutions, 400 of which are credit unions, across the United States and Canada. “We are growing extremely fast and this will continue in the coming year. We got a big lift in 2022 when we acquired POPi/o, the leader in video banking, and Marsview, a leader in AI for community banks and credit unions.”


Garg said in 2023 Eltropy will bring all of its products onto one, integrated platform while leveraging integrations with other key providers. “We struck partnerships late last year with the likes of Tyfone, Origence, Q2 and others, and expect this momentum to continue in the new year with other key providers we plan to partner with. On the product side, in 2022 we introduced Video Notary, Appointment Management, Reputation Management, and co-browsing – all of which we will be strengthening in the coming year. It is all part of building the industry’s leading digital communications platform, and we could not be more excited about what is coming in 2023.”

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