How Commonwealth Credit Union is Cross-Selling New Members Gained from Upstart
With members’ expectations and the competitive landscape evolving daily, Commonwealth Credit Union knew they needed a partner that could help them provide a fast, fintech-like digital banking experience for their members.
The right partnership model
When their search began, leaders at the credit union knew they were looking for a partner, not a vendor. “One thing we look for at Commonwealth Credit Union is a partnership – we feel we gain more when we are working together to improve each other’s outcomes,” said Jaynel Christensen, Chief Growth Officer at Commonwealth Credit Union.
In order to serve members within their risk tolerance and economic approach, Commonwealth Credit Union was also looking for a partner that leveraged AI and machine learning to expand their pool of creditworthy borrowers. Christensen explained that the team was already comfortable leveraging AI technology due to existing fi ntech partnerships, and Upstart’s ability to increase automation and approve more borrowers without increasing losses stood out.
With the Upstart Referral Network, Commonwealth Credit Union could simultaneously improve the digital experience while gaining new members within their credit parameters. Qualified personal loan applicants on Upstart.com who met Commonwealth Credit Union’s field of membership requirements and credit parameters could automatically be matched with a personal loan from the credit union. These applicants would seamlessly transition into a Commonwealth Credit Union-branded online experience from application through closing and same-day funding.
Once Commonwealth Credit Union gained buy-in from the appropriate stakeholders that manage risk in their consumer portfolio, they worked alongside their dedicated Upstart account manager to set key metrics for success and appropriate thresholds for volume, returns, and more.
Adjusting program levers
With the Upstart partnership, Christensen has had the flexibility to adjust the credit union’s max loan amounts, DTI, income levels and other program levers as economic conditions have changed. “We’re very comfortable with the platform and technology, and we appreciate the fact we can use the levers to adjust thresholds to expand loan amounts, volume targets and DTI at any time,” said Christensen.
In the first year of the partnership with Upstart, Commonwealth has increased its monthly loan volume targets, and losses have performed better than expectations. Additionally, Christensen and the Upstart team review Commonwealth’s KPIs monthly to determine where they stand today and where they’d like to be in six months.
“At different times and seasons of lending, we’re willing to take on more, and at other times, we need to pull back. This helps the overall program management to have the flexibility to adapt to where we are in our lending strategy,” said Christensen.
Expanding member relationships
The Commonwealth team has been working to ensure that the members gained through Upstart are long-time, sticky members. After a year, Commonwealth has gained over 680 new members.
Once a newly qualified applicant from Upstart becomes a credit union member, they receive an automated, personalized email follow-up from Commonwealth Credit Union, along with other various touchpoints recommending additional products that fit their financial needs.
To date, 7.8 percent of members gained through Upstart have purchased additional products and services with Commonwealth, including checking, savings, credit cards, home equity loans and auto loans.
Staying a step ahead of the curve
Looking ahead, the Commonwealth Credit Union leadership team continues to look for ways to grow membership and improve the member experience, primarily through technology. By providing that seamless, fintech-like experience for members who apply for loans digitally, the team hopes to stay ahead of the competition and keep long-term members coming in.
“Automation and improving our member experience is top of mind and what drives everything we do,” said Christensen. “It’s all about striking a balance between in-branch and digital, and providing the best experience possible for whichever channel members choose.”