Penny Crosman (00:03):
Welcome to the American Banker Podcast, I’m Penny Crosman. So called no-code software is software that lets non-technical users create applications by dragging and dropping pieces of pre-built software and putting them together to create a full application. The idea is to be able to quickly develop new software without having a team of developers or going to the other extreme of just buying software and using it right off the shelf. This is a kind of technology that many large banks have been using for some time. For example, we talked with Citi about this two years ago, their use of what they call low-code software, but it’s rarer among regional and smaller banks and credit unions. Today we are fortunate to have with us Matthew Pincoski, director of engagement systems at Ent Credit Union, which has about $8 billion of assets. Welcome, Matthew.
Matthew Pincoski (00:57):
Good morning, Penny. Nice to meet you.
Penny Crosman (00:58):
Thanks for coming. Can you tell us a little bit about your credit union and where you are and the kinds of clients you serve?
Matthew Pincoski (01:05):
Yeah, so Ent Credit Union is based out of Colorado and a lot of people have probably seen the name Ent in our area. Sometimes people think it’s an abbreviation, but we have a little bit of a history there with the name. It was originally established on the Ent Air Force Base back in 1957 and the Air Force base was actually named after General Uzal Ent, and so that’s kind of where we actually got our name. He was a commander in World War II and had quite a decorated career, so if you’re curious, I definitely recommend at least checking out his wiki page. But we served that very small Air Force base until about 1999 when we rechartered to serve the surrounding communities.
Penny Crosman (01:50):
That’s interesting. And what is the view right outside your window?
Matthew Pincoski (01:54):
Yeah, so we’re at a pretty new headquarters here and it’s right at the tip of northern tip of Colorado Springs and we are right across the street from the Air Force Academy. It’s actually a really great view because just about any day or time you can look out and see the cadets out there jumping from planes, flying planes or kind of gliding around in some gliders in the area.
Penny Crosman (02:22):
Do you have a lot of military members in your customer base?
Matthew Pincoski (02:26):
We do. So the credit union was originally serving military, and so military is kind of at the core of our membership. We have quite a few bases nearby as well. We have Shriver and Peterson Space Force bases out to the east. We have Fort Carson Army base near the south, and there’s also another base up near Denver as well.
Penny Crosman (02:52):
It’s interesting, I did a podcast with Jill Castilla a few months ago about all the challenges that military members have with finance. Often they’re on tour and they’re not really focused on their money and sometimes they get taken advantage of by family members and there’s a number of issues that they can have, but that’s not our topic today. Our topic today is no-code software. So when did you first become aware, familiar with no-code software?
Matthew Pincoski (03:27):
I’ve been in the software industry for a number of years now, and prior to coming to Ent, I was actually on the software vendor side. We were developing solutions for fixed income investors and we actually had kind of a low-code philosophy in our own application, but we really reserved that low-code capability for ourselves. We really didn’t release it to our clients and it was a pretty complex software. So moving over to Ent Credit Union with the Creatio platform, which is what we use for our CRM today, they really took that no-code philosophy to the next level. And so I’ve been deeply ingrained in their application since I’ve started here at the credit union.
Penny Crosman (04:13):
So for this particular use case, which is customer relationship management, why did no-code make sense to you?
Matthew Pincoski (04:23):
So at a smaller credit union well, I say small, but we are close to $10 billion now, but relative to some of the large, just I would say industry behemoths that exist, we don’t have unlimited funds to just throw at an application for research and development and be able to have resources readily available to continue to maintain that application. And so the low-code platform is really attractive because it allows us to really build applications in ways that would’ve otherwise taken teams of developers to actually complete. We’re able to use those kind of reusable components to create new business processes, new applications and we can do it with a really small and efficient team.
Penny Crosman (05:14):
And can you give an example of how that works? What might be some examples of some of the reusable components that you might be able to put together to create something new for people who maybe haven’t used the software yet?
Matthew Pincoski (05:29):
So maybe a really simple example might be a process that automatically sends out an email. So perhaps in the CRM system we wanted to create some sort of case to track an incident or a complaint that a member submitted. One thing we could do with the low code is drag these reusable components that will say, okay, when my case is created, I also want to send an email to that member to let them know that, hey, we’ve your complaint, we’ve created a case. We’re going to follow up in three to five days and here’s your case number if you want to reach out to a member service rep for a follow-up or for follow-up information. And so that process we can have trigger off from the creation of a case and then the email can automatically send afterwards to that member.
Penny Crosman (06:18):
So that’s a pretty significant customization that if you just bought software, you would have to ask the software company to make that kind of change for you. Am I right?
Matthew Pincoski (06:30):
Yeah, I think automation is really becoming the center of most software, so I imagine you could probably automate just about anything. And to the extent that processes can’t be automated natively within the applications, I know that robotic process automation really is becoming the buzzword around I think most credit unions as we’re all seeking to improve efficiency.
Penny Crosman (06:56):
So Matt, you were talking about robotic process automation. Is that sort of intertwined with no-code software and is that something you’re doing today at Ent Credit Union?
Matthew Pincoski (07:15):
Absolutely. So we actually have a number of optimization teams here at Ent Credit Union, and we’re trying to find ways to do more with less basically. And that is, again, at the core of the low-code, no-code philosophy is that we can create those business processes, whether simple or complex, so that way each of our employees can be more effective and impactful with the time they’re spending on their various tasks.
Penny Crosman (07:42):
Can you give an example of where you’re using RPA?
Matthew Pincoski (07:46):
I’m actually not in charge of the RPA group, so I’m not the best person to answer that.
Penny Crosman (07:51):
Okay. Well, can you share a case where you wanted to do something new or you wanted to create a new application? I mean, you gave the example of the sending out emails, but are there any other examples you could give of how you’ve used this software in a low-code, no-code way to build something new?
Matthew Pincoski (08:14):
Yeah, so one of the apps that we’ve built recently is our next best offer module, and the idea behind that module is we want to make sure we’re communicating the offers and products that are available to our members. We’re really not doing our job as financial partners if we’re not making sure our members are informed so that way they can make the best decisions for themselves. And so what the next best offer module allows us to do is present an offer to that member based on available offers. We don’t show offers that we’ve already talked about. If we know a member’s already declined that offer, we don’t want to waste time talking about the same thing that they’re already not interested in. And so that module was built entirely on the system, and it’s a really dynamic feature. We can actually go in and just plug new offers and products into that feature in a matter of minutes and seconds even.
Penny Crosman (09:10):
So you are creating something new from time to time with what you have. No-code software is kind of billed as being for anybody really, that you don’t have to be technical to be able to do to use it? Is that true in your experience?
Matthew Pincoski (09:28):
I would say not entirely true. I think there absolutely is a baseline requirement of technical aptitude even to use a low-code, no-code software. There’s just so much potential in an application like this, and the more that you understand the technical aspects, the more powerful it really can be.
Penny Crosman (09:46):
So what level of people are using, or what kind of experience do people have who are using this at Ent Credit Union?
Matthew Pincoski (09:56):
So our end users are basically our frontline employees. So primarily that’s going to be our MSRs in the call center or at the service centers. And the technical requirement of those users is minimal. That’s really where anybody can log into the application, use the application, and get value from it. On my team for engagement systems, we’re really in charge of administering and developing the software, and that’s where we’re heavily using that low-code feature set. Certainly there is a greater level of technical aptitude required there, but we help bridge the gap between that end user experience and without actually getting into full-blown development. And we can protect our senior development resources in that way too.
Penny Crosman (10:42):
But do the people on your team have actual programming experience or do they have business process experience, or what kinds of backgrounds do they have?
Matthew Pincoski (10:51):
Penny Crosman (11:34):
What might you do with this software and the future? Do you have some new use cases planned?
Matthew Pincoski (11:41):
Yeah, so for 2023, we’re focused on reengaging the CRM throughout our entire organization. We were really successful with getting the CRM deployed broadly but we want to take it to the next level and really start to rebuild the CRM m so that way it feels like it’s built for each of the departments that use the application. So while we do have very high volume in usage in our cases and in our complaints and in our product referrals there’s still a lot more that we can do to improve process efficiency and improve workflow efficiency for our various departments. So how we’re tackling that is by embedding ourselves in a particular department, understanding their constraints, understanding their workflow, and really not even asking about the software at all. Because what we want to do is figure out what the goal of the business unit is and then really rethink how we deploy applications within the CRM or that particular department.
Penny Crosman (12:42):
Now, one thing I probably should have asked you from the beginning was, did you do need to integrate this with your core system and how did that go and can you share which core you use?
Matthew Pincoski (12:55):
Yeah, so we’re using Jack Henry as our core back office and integration is actually pretty straightforward for us. We have a middleware and the middleware has native integrations with Symitar and Creatio. So pretty easy for us to get that integration stood up.
Penny Crosman (13:14):
And how do you think that no-code and low-code software could be useful in general in the industry? For banks that haven’t gone down this path yet, what do you think they might be able to do with it?
Matthew Pincoski (13:32):
Yeah, so I think one of the big benefits of a no-code low-code platform is that it has features out of the box that are ready to use. So if you’re not ready to start doing custom app development, there’s not necessarily a requirement that you have to do that. It’s really an optional tool for you. So if you’re looking for some sort of solution to help you manage your member engagements or your customer engagements, you want some assistance and tracking notes between departments, that really a CRM like Creatio out of the box, despite having powerful no-code components still does work out of the box. But then when you’re ready to take it to that next level, then you really can start creating purpose-built apps for event management, prospect management, business partner relationships. Really whatever need you have, you can probably create in a no-code environment.
Penny Crosman (14:26):
So it sounds like ease of use and ease of customization are kind of key things.
Matthew Pincoski (14:31):
Penny Crosman (14:32):
All right. Well, Matt Pincoski, thank you so much for joining us today.
Matthew Pincoski (14:36):
Thank you. Happy to be here.
Penny Crosman (14:38):
And for all of you, thank you for joining the American Banker Podcast. I produced this episode with audio production by Kevin Parise. Special thanks this week to Matthew Pincoski at Ent Credit Union. Rate us, review us and subscribe to our content at www.americanbanker.com/subscribe. For American Banker, I’m Penny Crosman and thanks for listening.