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  • Writer's pictureJohn San Filippo

It’s FIntegrate Versus Spreadsheets for Dispute Management

It’s an easy win for this CRS provider.

By John San Filippo

Although FIntegrate’s flagship product is its collection recovery system (CRS) called Fusion CRS, CEO Kris Bishop claims that one of the Birmingham, Ala.-based company’s key market differentiators is its dispute management module. “Our dispute management module is fully integrated with our CRS, but it’s also available as a standalone module,” he told Finopotamus.

Kris Bishop

“We have our share of competitors in the CRS space, but our biggest competitor in the dispute management space is really the spreadsheet because there's not been a lot of automation [in that area],” said Bishop. He added that given the increasing rise in digital crimes and the resulting increase in member disputes, credit unions that manage disputes manually are wasting more and more resources on these processes.

No More Manual Processing

“Everybody seems to need the dispute management module more than ever because of the manual processes that are so prevalent today,” added Bishop. “Plus, it's not a very expensive product. We don't charge by the dispute. It's just a straight license fee.” He said that while some companies offer dispute management for specific types of disputes – e.g., credit card companies that can manage credit card disputes – FIntegrate’s dispute management module is the only one he knows of that unifies and centralizes all dispute management, including Reg E, ACH, credit card, and checking accounts, among others.

According to Bishop, most credit unions have a detailed, regulation-driven process for dispute management already in place. In other words, they do a good job. They’re just spending too much time and money due to their current lack of automation.

“Our biggest challenge is getting the word out to let people know there’s a better way,” said Bishop. “I think [financial institutions] are just now discovering that and that's why we're so excited about the product.”

The Right Technology

Bishop told Finopotamus that FIntegrate’s dispute management module can piggyback on Fusion CRS and leverage that product’s core integration. However, in a standalone environment, dispute management is integrated directly to the core. The system also integrates into any number of lending systems, credit card processors or legal platforms to create a completely centralized and automated environment.

Currently both the CRS and the dispute management system are on-premise solutions. “Hardware-wise, it's a very simple, small lift,” said Bishop. “We run on a Windows operating system with a SQL server. We don't need a ton of disc space or a ton of memory. Most credit unions just spin up a virtual machine on an existing server.”

Bishop added that cloud-based delivery is scheduled for Q1 of 2023. He said that although Fusion Cloud will initially be a “light” version of the Fusion CRS on-premise system, the cloud-based version of the dispute management system will be identical for both cloud and on-premise delivery methods.

“We can do integration to their voice over internet protocol (VOIP) call center,” he added, “so they can populate that in Fusion CRS. They just click the button and dial whichever number is their primary number.” He noted that a recording of the call can be attached to the member’s collection file.

Better Together

Although FIntegrate’s dispute management system delivers exceptional value and exceptional process improvement as a standalone product, Bishop is quick to point out that the true power comes from running that module as an integrated part of Fusion CRS.

“We bill ourselves as that one central database, if you want to look at a 360-degree view of that member, all their associated accounts,” said Bishop. “You see any disputes as well as any collection history because the history never goes away. We can see if he did this five years ago, if he does this every Christmas. We want to build the analytics around this data to say, ‘Okay, Mr. Member, we realize every January, maybe after Christmas, you kind of fall into a slump.’” He added that the goal is to let the credit union leverage this data to be more proactive and create a better member experience.

Bishop explained that Fusion CRS contains proprietary algorithms that the system uses to generate a delinquency risk score. “We take in 20 something different feeds, whether it be your credit scores or transactional history, to rate who potentially may be delinquent or once those delinquencies occur, what their probability is to pay based on their history and based on all the other factors,” he said.

“We have executive dashboards where they can see how many loans they have by the type of loan,” noted Bishop. He said the system will detect, for example, if a member’s usual direct deposit doesn’t post, indicating a potential sign of trouble ahead.

“Then maybe the workflow sends out a text through our system based on the rules the credit union sets up,” he said, noting that the system can detect a wide range of patterns and variations from those patterns. Fusion CRS saves the credit union money by automating initial emails and text notices, reserving expensive CSR calls for later in the delinquency cycle.

AI Anyone?

Bishop describes FIntegrate’s current software as driven by rules-based business intelligence, but told Finopotamus he expects to see artificial intelligence play an important role in the near future.

“We're talking to a group right now out of the Midwest that does behavioral studies inside of data,” he noted. “The theory there is they can take consumer behavioral patterns and determine the best way to communicate with each member. Maybe it's a direct text early in the morning, but the same member responds better to an email in the afternoon – that kind of stuff. It's really cool to think about. It's also scary, but it's still really cool.”

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