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  • Erika Carmichael Community Engagement Liaison at Zeal Credit Union
  • Joshua Houde Regional Branch Manager at Credit Union of Colorado
  • Joshua Stoltzfus Finance Manager at Redwood Credit Union
  • Lis Mulcahy Director of Member Satisfaction at Truliant Federal Credit Union
  • Marella Nardotti Chief Marketing Officer at NextMark Credit Union


Our research indicates that many consumers in the United States are both financially uneducated and undisciplined in the management of their personal finances. 

Less than 60% of American adults are financially literate. This figure has been gradually declining over the past decade. Additional research highlights that:

  • 77% of Americans report feeling anxious about their financial situation
  • 58% feel that finances control their lives
  • 52% have difficulty controlling their money-related worries

Americans are most worried about their financial future, which includes not having enough money to retire (68%), keeping up with the cost of living (56%), and managing debt levels (45%).

The impact financial stress has on Americans stretches into all aspects of life, with respondents saying they feel fatigued (43%),
find it difficult to concentrate at work (42%), and have trouble sleeping (41%). A quarter of respondents (25%) said financial stress affects their relationships.

Additionally, from a sustainability standpoint, businesses that fail to adapt to emerging new technologies and adapt to the emerging needs of their members can quickly find themselves playing catchup, and at worst, are out of business.

After rising to global dominance in the home video rental market during the 1990s, Blockbuster Video made a critical error that would mark its eventual demise. In 2000, the company ignored an emerging new business model and decided not to buy Netflix. In just a few short years, between 2003 -2005, Blockbuster lost 75% of its market value and, not long after, filed for bankruptcy as Netflix's popularity continued to grow. Netflix went on to dominate the home entertainment industry as its innovative business model approach directly met consumers’ changing needs and rapidly captured market share.

At its peak, Blockbuster had 9,000 stores globally and was generating over $6 billion in annual revenues. It was a titan in the space with a globally recognized brand.

In a cruel but very real twist of fate, more than two decades after Blockbuster said "no" to acquiring Netflix, you can watch the streaming service's original comedy series about the employees working in the world's last Blockbuster.

The Netflix/Blockbuster business case study clearly outlines what can occur to businesses who fail to innovate and embrace emerging business models and technologies.

Innovative Solution:

Meet SideKik, an AI personal assistant that integrates with real-time member data to provide budgeting, saving, and other financial advice through a sophisticated human-like artificial intelligence application.

Unlike a typical PFM (Personal Financial Management) tool or chatbot, this personal AI assistant uses a humanizing approach to engage with users by analyzing, comprehending, and providing guidance on the financial goals of its users. By constantly monitoring transaction behaviors, this AI tool learns the unique financial situation of the user and tailors guidance to fit their specific and evolving needs.

The user can name it and select an avatar to match, creating a companion-like relationship similar to that of a trusted advisor. In contrast to many other existing products on the market, SideKik becomes smarter and more affluent as it studies the user’s transactional behaviors and patterns. This enables the tool to adapt to changing behaviors and offer real-time guidance, helping the user reach financial independence in a nimble and adaptive way.

Imagine having a human-like personal financial assistant who has your back, advocates for you, and gives you the kind of solid advice you need to keep you moving forward. Someone who empowers you to make the right decisions and rewards you for staying on track. Take your members to the next level of financial management with SideKik.

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