Filene Reveals Eight New Ideas for Credit Unions

Learn more about the eight concepts on Filene’s website.

Filene, the credit union ‘think and do tank,’ revealed eight new ideas from its i³ brain trust last week.

The i³ program brings together credit union professionals from all over the country to solve industry problems. “We found the most captivating next generation leaders, organized them, and set them loose on the consumer finance industry’s most flummoxing problems,” says Filene about i³ on their website.

The new concepts range from a Yelp-style vendor review site to a credit card designed to teach teens good credit habits. “These concepts have been prototyped, tested, and could ultimately be implemented to benefit your credit union and members,” says their announcement of the ideas.

“What we hope to do with the concepts,” said Andrew Downin, Filene’s innovation director, “is identify credit unions that are interested in testing them, so we can share them with other credit unions in the future.”

The eight concepts are:

1. CUCrowdSpeak:

A Yelp-style service to help credit unions rate, review, and choose the best vendors.

2. DreamRide:

An app to help consumers understand and balance all the complex variables that go into choosing and buying a car, and to connect them with the best auto loan rates at their credit union.

3. Employees First:

This web-based app supports younger credit union staff as they help members navigate big life experiences by centralizing the wisdom of more experienced staff.

4. The Independence Card:

This entry-level credit card helps 18- and 19-year olds build good credit habits by gamifying the payment process and rewarding good behavior.

5. Members Market:

This Groupon-like service lets small businesses which bank at a credit union make special offers to that credit union’s members, based on member preferences.

6. MyDime:

This tablet-based app helps members customize loan terms to fit their needs and then easily apply for just the loan they want.

7. StatusTrack:

This web-based app keeps credit union employees and members up-to-date about the status of important systems, like the credit union’s website.

8. Switch Ninja:

Matt Vance, product development and marketing manager at Salal Credit Union worked with a team on Switch Ninja for his first i3 project.

This web-based app makes switching from a bank to a credit union easier by automating the transfer of bill payment and deposits to the new account.

Matt Vance, product development and marketing manager at Salal Credit Union, was accepted into i³ last year and worked on the Switch Ninja team for his first i³ project.

“We looked at a number of problems that took us down some strange paths,” he said, “but came back around to the idea that switching financial institutions is a pain.”

His team created a prototype app to ease that pain, which was tested in a couple branches of First West Credit Union in British Columbia. “We definitely proved there’s a need for a product like this in the market,” said Vance.

The concept is still in development, he said, and he expects that future functionality like the ability to snap a photo of an ID and a check and automatically capture all the pertinent information could make it a great product.

Another Northwesterner, Mary Beth Spuck of TwinStar Credit Union, helped create the CUCrowdSpeak concept.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790,

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