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Zest AI Brings Credit Underwriting Innovations to Wyoming’s Blue FCU

Zest AI Brings Credit Underwriting Innovations to Wyoming’s Blue FCU

A new partnership between credit underwriting software provider Zest AI and Wyoming’s largest credit union, Blue Federal Credit Union, will enable the institution to provide faster and more accurate loan decisioning across its auto, credit card, and personal loan portfolios.

Blue Federal Credit Union Chief Credit and Risk Officer Jason Buchanan called the partnership with Zest AI “a big win for our members.” He added that “Zest will also allow Blue to reach underserved borrowers across the credit spectrum while maintaining our standards of compliance and credit risk management. The granularity we have access to through Zest is broad and provides all of the features and details we need to explain our credit decisions.”

Zest AI leverages more data and better math to enable banks and credit unions to move beyond the limitations of their legacy credit scoring methods. The company claims that its models use 10x more variables to provide a more accurate picture of borrower risk and empower its financial institution partners to approve more borrowers safely. Blue FCU expects to deploy Zest AI’s technology early next year, and anticipates a 30% boost in loan approval rates as well as the ability to make loan decisions in less than five seconds.

“A Zest-built model gives them transparency, control, and a faster and more accurate decision that approves more members,” Zest AI CEO Mike de Vere said. “Blue’s investment in Zest is really an investment in its community.”

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and founded in 2009, Zest AI is a registered Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) whose credit union customers represent $56 billion in assets and four million members. Named one of Fast Company’s “Next Big Things in Tech” last month, Zest AI won the 2021 Finovate Award for “Best Use of AI/ML” in September. This year, the company forged a partnership with student payment platform Climb Credit, and collaborated with Florida’s largest credit union Suncoast Credit Union. Over the summer, Zest AI secured $18 million in funding in a round led by strategic investors VyStar Credit Union and First National Bank of Omaha. The investment took the company’s total capital raised to $250 million.

With more than 100,000 members in communities across Wyoming and Colorado and beyond, Blue FCU was launched as Warren Federal Credit Union in 1951. The institution merged with Community Federal Credit Union in 2016, and rebranded as Blue FCU. The credit union moved its headquarters to Cheyenne earlier this year, and currently has more than $1.4 billion in assets. Stephanie Teubner is CEO and President.

Photo by Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels