If you ask Amazon’s digital assistant “Alexa” who won best of show in the Speed Round competition at this year’s CUNA Technology Council Conference, she might respond: “Fiserv, for its voice banking solution utilizing me – Alexa.”

“Our voice banking capability can integrate with any Amazon device in the ecosystem,” said Kobi Magnezi, Fiserv’s director of product strategy.

In early October, Magnezi, along with his co-presenter, Senior Sales Executive Cheryl Harris, had just five minutes to show a few hundred attendees how credit unions can execute voice banking with the Amazon Echo and digital assistant, Alexa.

Kobi Magnezi, Fiserv’s director of product strategy, after winning the Speed Round competition at the 2017 CUNA Technology Council conference.
Kobi Magnezi, Fiserv’s director of product strategy, after winning the Speed Round competition at the 2017 CUNA Technology Council conference.

“We wanted to demonstrate how credit unions can show themselves as innovators, but also increase engagement with their members,” said Magnezi, who added that Fiserv is currently working with a number of credit unions on related pilot programs.

2018 and beyond

Whether or not voice banking will be widely adopted in 2018 and beyond remains unclear. However, Fiserv’s Expectations & Experiences Channels and New Entrants report (September 2017) found that half of consumers polled have used a voice-activated device in the past year, with the vast majority using a smartphone. The report also found that approximately four in 10 consumers see benefits to using voice to perform banking functions.

“The big tech companies are all advancing their products to be in line with the convenience of voice-based technology,” said Bobby Matthis, VP of IT development and business intelligence at Westerra CU. “Our credit union has been discussing voice banking as part of our eServices strategies. We do not have a firm technology decision/commitment or timeline as of now, but we do believe we will be implementing this in the future.”

In total, 22 vendors presented during the conference – the highest number of participants to date, explained Matthis, who also serves as a co-chair of the Speed Rounds Committee.

“We all love to see the latest and greatest advancements in technology. Our sponsor partners are showing things that create efficiencies, improve the member experience and/or better enable and empower day-to-day business,” said Matthis. “This platform [speed rounds] really affords the ability to stand in front of many credit union influential leaders and share current innovations.”

One voice, one winner

Over the course of two sessions, all 22 presenters were allotted five minutes to deliver what was tantamount to an elongated elevator pitch, complete with slideshows and props. After each session attendees were able to vote via text message. This year a panel of industry judges was added to the mix, noted Matthis.

“The judges’ ratings and the audience’s votes are combined to determine an overall winner,” said Matthis, adding there were no runners-up.

Magnezi engaged with Alexa and demonstrated voice directed authentication as well as various banking applications, such as checking balances, paying past-due bills, inquiring about real-time mortgage rates and executing a peer-to-peer payment with his nanny.

“When you think of voice banking, the first thing that comes to mind is millennials, but what we see is that there is a lot of interest from the older generation,” said Magnezi. The reason for this disparity, he added, is virtually everyone can use his or her voice, “so you get more engagement than you might get with online banking.”

In Matthis’ estimation, Fiserv’s presentation was a “standout” because the solution centers on an innovative member experience.

“By utilizing the latest in smart home technology from Amazon, Fiserv was able to demonstrate with ease how modern-day voice banking can be so very easy and convenient,” said Matthis. “By adding an additional channel of convenience, Fiserv is enabling their client partners to better serve their members.”

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