Melissa Thomas

Senior Vice President of Operations and Payments, VyStar Credit Union

Supernova Award Category: 

Digital Safety, Governance, and Privacy

The Organization: 

In 1952, VyStar (formerly Jax Navy Federal) was founded with 12 members and $60 to serve civil service members, military employees and their families at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax). Today, VyStar is the 16th largest credit union in the nation, serving +665,000 members with assets totaling >$8.6 billion. VyStar membership is open to those living or working in the 49 contiguous counties of Central to North Florida and the Southeast Georgia Counties of Camden, Charlton, Glynn and Ware.

VyStar’s tagline: “We never forget that it’s your money,” underscores its focus on respecting members’ time and money. The credit union strives to help its members achieve their goals and conduct their financial business quickly and conveniently.

The Problem: 

VyStar Credit Union has experienced phenomenal growth, nearing the critical $10 billion in asset mark. It’s a big milestone, as crossing that line brings a credit union or bank under the oversight authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – ushering in a new set of regulations and regulators and an additional examination aside from the NCUA, FDIC, or OCC.

Thanks in part to rigorous security protocols that are now applied to credit cards and online channels, fraudsters are targeting contact centers as a more vulnerable entry point into organizations to gather consumer information and potentially steal their identity and money. Considering its contact center agents handle 170,000-180,000 calls per month, VyStar recognized the need to protect its members from fraud while supporting the company’s continued growth and preparing to comply with new regulatory requirements.

The Solution: 

Starting with adaptive fraud analytics, multiple technology layers are employed for real-time threat analysis prior to calls reaching an agent. This includes analysis of telephony and voice self-service behavioral data where unique characteristics/patterns can precipitate a fraudulent event. Once a call reaches an agent, analysis via embedded voice biometrics authenticates the member seamlessly or detects a fraudster.

Incoming calls are “scored” in real-time by telephony data and various risk profile criteria. This score is sent to the agent desktop via screen pop with next-steps guidance. The member profile kicks off a 2-factor authentication process via outbound text or email for member identity validation. The outcome triggers a green/red light to the agent for a simplified agent experience and automated authentication process.

A data flag is encoded on the call recording as to a 2-factor authenticated voice print and the voice print automatically enrolled.

The Results: 

The implementation supports:

Automatic authentication of members through voice biometrics.

Reduced and/or eliminated time spent asking security questions to identify members.

The capture of member feedback to measure and improve the member experience.

A key element of VyStar’s fraud detection approach is the use of passive voice biometrics which operate in the background without disrupting live phone conversations. It does not require certain words or phrases to be used and is language-independent. This approach helps protect member accounts and eliminates the need for multiple security questions, minimizing member effort and frustration, while improving responsiveness to member needs.

This supports a more efficient and effective experience for both agent and member, leading to lower average handle time and call costs, fraud prevention, and potential damage from financial loss that can include time-consuming recovery efforts, credit damage to members and harm to brand reputation.

The approach also integrates an adaptive fraud solution to detect fraud in the IVR and alert employees in real-time. Unification and workflow with the agent desktop provides relevant digital workplace guidance to empower employees in their engagements.

By leveraging Speech Analytics together with Identity Authentication and Fraud Detection, VyStar can detect, analyze and act on rising trends, opportunities and anomalies to both reduce risk and improve member experience.


Automating fraud detection has helped VyStar’s fraud department achieve incredible time savings over previous manual methods. As well the new technology enabled approach takes pressure off employees by providing proactive fraud indicators in real-time to prevent fraud activity before it begins, so they can concentrate on best serving VyStar members.

With the solution, VyStar anticipates the following benefits:

Improved Security and Risk Reduction — By validating identities based on a caller’s unique voiceprint and matching it with a voiceprint from a database of known fraudsters, VyStar can identify and catch fraudulent callers. This has a direct positive impact on member and data security and plays a significant role in curtailing instances of fraud taking place through the company’s contact centers.

Better Member/Caller Experiences — Passive voice biometrics operates in the background without disrupting live phone conversations, eliminating the need, frustration and hassle of multiple security questions that elongate calls and annoy members.

Enhanced Efficiencies and Cost Savings — VyStar can now quickly and easily validate a legitimate member’s identity based on his/her own unique “voiceprint,” and do so in the background while the call is in process. This leads to more efficient interactions that require less member effort, time and cost.

The Technology: 

The holistic fraud detection solution leverages Verint’s Adaptive Fraud ACD and IVR solution, PCI Compliance through Encrypt and Desktop Process Analytics, Speech Analytics, and Voice Biometrics. To address VyStar’s need for 2-Factor Authentication to enhance security and the member experience, the solution also incorporates an outbound text and email feature, which is configured via an innovative use of Verint Enterprise Feedback Management.

Disruptive Factor: 

Savvy compliance practices can boost member experience by supporting safe and secure transactions while minimizing member effort. VyStar’s approach effectively safeguards against fraud in the contact center while making the experience seamless for both contact center agents and credit union members.

VyStar has simplified, modernized and automated its approach to fraud detection, mitigation and prevention, enhancing security while supporting the delivery of more efficient, seamless and safe interactions.

The approach enabling VyStar agents to focus on member service – akin to having its agents focus on playing “offense” -- concentrating on serving its members -- while the technology in the background proactively handles the “defense.”

Shining Moment: 

To address the issue of fraud prevention in the contact center, VyStar challenged the Verint team to think outside-of-the-box to devise a holistic fraud detection solution focused on its specific business and technology requirements. The resulting collaboration represents a true model for member-vendor partnerships – of critical necessity to push the envelope of innovation.

About Your Organization

VyStar Credit Union is the largest credit union headquartered in Northeast Florida and the 16th largest credit union in the nation ranked by asset size. Serving >665,000 members, with assets totaling >$8.6 billion. VyStar serves those living or working in the 49 contiguous counties of Central to North Florida & the Southeast Georgia Counties of Camden, Charlton, Glynn and Ware.