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MeridianLink, one of the nation’s most respected consumer loan origination system (LOS) providers, held their annual MeridianLink Live! event last week in Huntington Beach, California. It offered a great opportunity to learn about trends in the consumer and mortgage lending space from people who are shaping the path forward.

It was also especially interesting because, as one of MeridianLink’s newest partners, Socure has been working with the company on an important integration that is scheduled for release in the second half of 2022. With that release, MeridianLink customers can expect to access Socure’s entire identity verification platform (Socure ID+) through MeridianLink’s product portfolio. This includes Socure KYC, Sigma Identity Fraud, Sigma Synthetic Fraud, our EmailAddress, and Phone RiskScores, as well as Predictive DocV, our best-in-class ID document verification solution.

While at MeridianLink Live!, I met technology, fraud, and user experience leaders from hundreds of credit unions from across the country who are all  dedicated to moving toward a faster digital experience for their members. In fact, MeridianLinks’ CEO, Nicolaas Vlok, shared the below datapoint during his keynote that showed nearly everyone was now making account applications available online.

Online is Table Stakes

The work being done to continue to stimulate this kind of growth is not happening in a vacuum. The people driving this change truly want to remake the way that consumers engage with digital lending and other financial products to make it a more seamless and effective process – seamless for end-users, and effective for financial services companies who want better ways to onboard customers and reduce fraud. This blog provides some of the learnings I gathered from the presentations and conversations with these thinkers. They include:

  • Credit unions are seeing a large increase in new account fraud. Almost every credit union representative I spoke with talked about the sharp increase in fraud attempts at account origination across lending, deposit account opening and indirect auto and home mortgage channels.
  • Bot attacks overwhelm some credit unions’ onboarding resources and require better fraud technologies to stay ahead of the resulting spikes in validation efforts. An interesting “good news, bad news” trend mentioned by various credit unions I talked with was that as their SEO improved, there was a corresponding increase in bot attacks on their web and mobile sites.
  • Credit unions are seeing increased efforts to take over accounts via call centers. Several people talked about the increase of bad actors’ aggressive account takeover tactics in call center environments that are accomplished by changing emails addresses, and/or physical addresses, and deploying social engineering tactics that attempt to circumvent online password credentials.
  • Fraud rates vary drastically depending on which state your credit union membership resides.  If you are a credit union in Florida, you are seeing higher than average fraud rates. Credit unions in other geographies are seeing relatively little fraud but are still plagued with the high declination and abandonment rates driven by entrenched players’ less innovative CIP and fraud solutions. Regardless of where you are in the country, there is a real desire from credit unions to identify fraud and validate identity using better technologies and data.
  • Synthetic identity fraud plagues everyone. Credit unions see a good deal of synthetic identity fraud, especially in their indirect auto channels where they have to rely a great deal on the due diligence of their onsite lending partners.
  • MeridianLink customers are seeing a high decline rate for “thin file” applicants, who tend to be in demographics that are either younger, older, immigrants and the underserved, and ethnic minority populations. Socure focuses our data acquisition strategies and advanced entity resolution technologies on driving inclusivity for these populations to provide coverage while maintaining fairness and inclusion.
  • Credit unions are hungry to move toward more passive ways to validate new members and authenticate changes to account PII elements, such as emails, addresses, and phone numbers, and OTP destinations for password resets. Passive authentication and onboarding allows more risk intelligence to happen behind the scenes and substantially reduces friction and speeds origination and call center processes.
  • Credit unions are unhappy with Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) “out of wallet” question solutions and are looking for enhanced alternatives. No surprise here and this is consistent feedback I’ve heard from many other financial institutions (see Figure 1 below). KBA has been an ineffective solution since it was released in the Dark Ages. Good customers sent through the process tend to abandon at high rates or, even worse, fail to accurately respond to obscure and dummy questions, while the bad actors tend to have ready access to data to answer the questions. Socure has multiple tools that enable credit unions to move beyond KBA. For example, Socure’s ID document verification solution eliminates the need for antiquated KBA offerings and subsequently, credit unions will gain two major advantages from it: less abandonment of good potential members, and higher fraud detection. Credit union members are accustomed to automated document validation at this point and will enjoy the frictionless authentication and more advanced technology.

Has your FI reduced the use of KBA in the past 2 years

Figure 1: “Contact Center Authentication: A Mystery Shopper’s Journey ”Aite-Novarica, May 2021


  • Many existing fraud and CIP solution offerings available to the credit unions I spoke with create high decline rates and increased friction, and result in increased fraud. Decline rates for CIP checks and fraud are artificially high, reportedly as high as 50%, and several of the credit unions I talked with told me that onboarding new members in the branch takes more than 20 minutes on average.

While many of these trends are seen across the global lending landscape, I gathered from my conversations that credit unions have not had access to more advanced fraud, authentication, and CIP technologies to help in their fight.

Socure couldn’t be more delighted to lend a hand and we look forward to meeting with more of the MeridianLink team and their customers to help eliminate friction, speed onboarding, and reduce financial loss stemming from identity risk.

Mike Cook
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Mike Cook

Mike Cook

Mike Cook is VP of Fraud Solutions Commercialization at Socure and works alongside Data Science, Product, Sales and the Fraud Investigation team to help ensure solution optimization across all the markets Socure serves. Mike has been an innovator in fraud, identity, and credit risk for almost 35 years and has created several patents for identity risk technologies.