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As Data Science Lead at Navy Federal, I’m lucky that I get to do something I love every day: use data science and advanced analytics to solve problems and help make our members’ lives easier.

It’s really satisfying to know that what my team and I are doing can take some of the burden off our members’ shoulders—especially during the pandemic.

Designing Loan Payment Solutions

Here’s a great example: because of the economic fallout from COVID-19, some of our members have been struggling with their finances. We wanted to reach out to them and offer help, so my team and I used advanced analytics (with a neural network model) to identify this group of members. Working together with Member Service Representatives, we were able to let them know about solutions to help with their loan payments. The member response to this proactive communication was overwhelming. One member even told us we had answered his prayers!

That experience was really gratifying. Knowing that I’m adding value at the human level makes my job in analytics meaningful.
My team of data scientists and I are always working behind the scenes to help our members with their finances and even budgeting. We developed a model to identify a group of members who would benefit by having their credit card due dates changed to a date that better met their financial circumstances and cash flow.

All this model development in our cloud environment is worth it, because we know that even changing one due date would make it easier for these members to manage their monthly budget and stay on track.

Understanding Paycheck Deposits and Savings

Our data science team was also involved in extending certain benefits to members who don’t have access to a direct deposit of their paychecks. As you probably know, if you use direct deposit, you get a lot of benefits—like eligibility for products with extra offerings, including ATM rebates, early access to pay and even higher dividend rates. The thing is, lots of these members did deposit their paycheck around the same time every month—they just didn’t do it through direct deposit. This model required text analytics to dive into the nuances of deposit behavior. Now, because of the model, many more members are able to get these benefits, too.

Another model the data science team developed identified members who looked like they were on the brink of setting up recurring savings transfers. Like the other models, we developed this using PySpark, Spark ML and other tools for processing vast amounts of data. We were then able to let our members know about the steps they could take to start saving to help establish an emergency savings fund.

Building On Our Great Workplace

These are just some examples of things my team and I do every day. I’m definitely a data guy—but I also like helping people and working for an organization with a cause I can get behind. If that’s something that appeals to you, I’d recommend checking out our careers page on our website. We’re hiring right now for a variety of data- and analytics-related jobs.

We have a great workplace culture here with a genuine sense of collaboration and openness. I really feel like I can go to anyone, no matter what their job title is, because we’re all on the same team with the same mission: to help our members.

Check us out. Maybe we’ll end up working together!

Bryan Christian is Data Science Lead in Mission Data at Navy Federal Credit Union. He has been with Navy Federal for 3 years. He has an MBA from Georgetown University and a PhD in music (composing with advanced analytics and data science) from Duke University. He spends his free time hiking, writing music and enjoying life with his family and their new kitten.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.