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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Zest Likes a Credit Union

 Zest AI, a fintech company in Burbank, announced last month two partnerships with credit union associations. 

The first is with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. Based in Ontario, the leagues represent the interests of more than 300 credit unions in California and Nevada, and their more than 12 million members in their respective states, according to a release from Zest AI. 

The second partnership is with the Northwest Credit Union Association in SeaTac, Washington, which represents more than 170 not-for-profit, cooperative credit unions in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and their 8.1 million consumer members, the company’s release said. 

Both the leagues and the association are teaming up with CUNA Strategic Services in Madison, Wisconsin to bring Zest’s artificial intelligence lending software to more members of both organizations. 

Zest has developed software used to determine the credit worthiness of loan applicants. It sells its software to banks, large credit unions, auto loan providers and large mortgage companies. The company was founded in 2009 by Douglas Merrill, former chief innovation officer at Google.

Jose Valentin, vice president of corporate development at Zest, said that the company was pleased to help the leagues bring AI-driven lending to credit unions of all sizes and across all consumer products.

“This partnership will pay off by enriching the lives of millions of members in the form of wider access to more affordable credit,” Valentin said in a statement. 

Larry Palochik, senior vice president for the leagues, said that for nearly 90 years the organization has played a role in sustaining the health of its member credit unions. 

“Zest has earned the trust of dozens of credit unions by delivering significant value in the form of faster and more consistent approvals and more inclusive decisions,” Palochik said in a statement.

Barb Lowman, president of CUNA Strategic Services, said that Zest has paid strict attention to the needs of credit unions looking to lend more effectively. 

“It has been our top priority to deliver an industry-leading solution that is fully compliant with fair lending laws, mitigates risk to credit unions and opens up borrowing capabilities to members who may not have been approved if not for the non-traditional credit scoring models offered by Zest,” Lowman said in a statement.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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