Magazine article American Banker

In Brief: Credit Union to Use Speech Recognition

Magazine article American Banker

In Brief: Credit Union to Use Speech Recognition

Article excerpt

US Airways Federal Credit Union of Moon Township, Pa., plans to use a speech-recognition system to take loan applications by phone.

Members will be able to access the system, which will use natural-language speech-recognition software from Maxxar Corp. of Detroit, starting in midmonth. US Airways Federal will set up a toll-free number for the system, which will be used in conjunction with the credit union's automated call-distribution system.

"This will be our future. Long term, you will see more of this from us, " said Kevin J. Dougherty, the assistant vice president of technology at the $624 million-asset US Airways Federal. "We are expecting to funnel all" loan application calls through this product, "because it's that easy. It's just like having a conversation on the phone."

The credit union has been using an audio response system so customers can apply for loans using the telephone keypad. "My speculation is that we will quadruple our volume" by using speech recognition, Mr. Dougherty said in an interview Dec. 22. "Literally, it pays for itself."

The credit union plans to use the software for a variety of loans, including its credit cards, second mortgages and home equity lines of credit, and personal loans, both secured and unsecured, he said.

But the system cannot consummate the deal with a signature and a handshake.

"We want this to be a channel to get things started," even if members cannot complete the loan-application process over the phone, Mr. …

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