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Facilitated Collaboration: CU CrowdSpeak -Independent Vendor Reviews by the CU Crowd

At Filene, everything we do starts with research, but research alone doesn’t move an industry. It stokes ideas and a select few of those ideas hold the potential to be tested for in-market use. Filene’s Beta Lab takes promising i3 concepts and actively prototypes them in order to test their potential for large scale market impact.

  • Tansley Sterns Chief People and Strategy Officer at Canvas Credit Union

Project History and Market Trends 

  • Innovators recognized that easily tracking down objective vendor reviews was a significant credit union challenge
  • Inspiration found in Angie’s List and Yelp with reviews of everything from plumbers to piano tuners
  • Concept and prototype test results presented in April 2014 at the spring i3/Desjardins meeting

Program Overview 

Unlike other vendor review sources, CU CrowdSpeak is driven by credit unions, for credit unions — without the influence of advertising or endorsements. Developed in conjunction with Horsetail Technologies, CU CrowdSpeak is a web application built using ASP.NET and SQL. The web application provides the ability for users and vendors to create accounts, complete with personal information, pictures and statistics.

The system was preloaded with over 250 vendors from various sources in the industry. Permissions were created in the system to provide privacy and confidentiality for users as they write reviews. Only credit union employees may see the reviews and authors.


Respondents provided ideas for enhancing the platform, which included:

  • Reaching out to more credit unions to get more usage and develop greater awareness among the credit union community
  • Encouraging participants to be candid with input
  • Creating an agreement that vendors can’t post a claim/lawsuit against users who submit less than favorable reviews