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History of Zoot Enterprises

First company picnic

Zoot Enterprises was formed in 1990, when founder Chris Nelson recognized a need in the financial industry for products that could access multiple credit bureaus' information and allow for easily customized reporting. Zoot's first product was a standalone credit reporting application. This product provided a dial-up connection to each of the bureaus and a standardized approach to viewing and reporting on the data.

Financial services and credit card processing leaders adopted Zoot technology to improve their performance and reduce the cost of credit analysis. Nelson quickly added decisioning and analysis capabilities and was able to offer automated credit decisioning at a reasonable cost.

Zoot's second-generation product, the SPOC® decision engine, was built as a software as a service application or SaaS. The SaaS model enables clients to enjoy the advantages of a reliable hosted environment while maintaining complete control over their solution. They can control their applications, modify business rules and logic flows, and even move code to production without programmer assistance. Zoot manages the interface between clients and all information sources, including access to multiple credit bureaus and alternative data providers with a single vendor network connection.

In 1997, Zoot began offering web applications. Zoot developed America's first Internet-based home equity application. Since then, we've created credit application and loan processing websites for dozens of financial institutions. In most cases, the consumer never realizes that when they click "Apply Now," they are connecting to Zoot's data center to complete their loan form. An additional offering is a set of internally developed rapid development tools that make creating web applications as easy as we've made creating credit decisioning.

In response to the volatile market and changing consumer behaviors that plagued the financial industry from 2007-2009, Zoot created the credit risk lab. The lab allows business users to rapidly develop, test, evaluate, and implement credit attributes and scorecards in order to keep credit policy current and accurate as industry conditions change. This highly innovative solution enables lenders to meet compliance regulations and serve customers well while continuing to generate sustainable revenue growth.

In order to help financial institutions move forward more profitably in the new financial landscape, Zoot co-created the zOptimize multichannel cross-sell solution. zOptimize® garnered Zoot another industry award for its ability to enhance the customer's experience, unify sales and marketing efforts, integrate predictive modeling, and bridge frontend and backend processes.

The company that started in Nelson's basement has now grown exponentially. Rapid growth prompted the company to build an $18 million headquarters building in 2001. What continues to differentiate Zoot are our tools and services approach, which allows financial institutions to configure solutions to exactly meet their needs, and our dedicated workforce, whose experience and expertise have supported long-term relationships with 3 of the top 5 U.S. banks.

  Zoot Timeline  
1990    Chris Nelson forms Zoot Enterprises in the basement of his home in Bozeman, Mont. Zoot's first clients are CUNA and a top 3 credit card company
PC-based credit retrieval is created
1991 First instant loan by phone
1992    Zoot conducts first prescreen-of-oneSM for Spiegel Catalog.
Zoot hires first employee (besides Chris): Warren Bauder
First instant auto approval on credit cards
1994    First automated instant prescreen-of-one
1995    Zoot develops first distributed decision engine: the SPOC® decision engine.
1997    Zoot Banking Systems begins offering web applications
Zoot conducts the first online realtime decisioning home equity application in the United States
1998    Zoot onsite Tech Support hours expands past business hours
First online realtime HELOC decision
1999    First client GUI rules manager release
2000    Zoot regularly exceeds one million transactions in a month
First deployment of enterprise decisioning framework
2001    Zoot launches the KairosSMloan origination system
Zoot reaches 100 employees
2002    Zoot moves into their 150,000 sq ft headquarters building located in Bozeman, Montana
Zoot hosts their first Financial Conference for the financial industry
Zoot releases SPOC® Version 3
First client-side GUI to control in SaaS decision engine
2003 First automated credit file modification & testing tool
2004    DaimlerChrysler Services selects Zoot for their captive lending decisioning
Zoot releases the IQ Workflow™ engine, the Diakon™ test file modification tool, the Web-AI™ realtime interface, and the Zoot Credit Characteristics™ library
Washington Mutual selects Zoot for their enterprise decisioning
2005 Industry veteran Dennis Dixon is hired as new president
Tech Support expands to twenty-four hours
Zoot regularly exceeds ten million transactions in a month
First comprehensive attribute editing & creation GUI
2006 Zoot deploys national sales force
Top 5 bank holding company selects Zoot for re-entry into the credit card market
Zoot Enterprises processes over 200 million transactions from January to December
Zoot successfully completes SAS-70 certification
First successful Enterprise Cross-Sell® framework
2007 Zoot ranked number 1 on Bank Technology News' top 10 tech companies to watch
2008 Zoot was named the 2008 Business of the Year by Prospera Business Network
During the past five years, the company has averaged 99.99 percent uptime in its core environment, reaching 99.996 in 2008.
Zoot is SAS-70 Type 1 and Type 2 compliant
Zoot maintained PCI certification in 2008 in response to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
2009 Zoot activated third data center (Tier 4) in Salt Lake City, Utah
Zoot was named a Hot Banking Technology Company to Watch in 2009 by Forrester Research, Inc.
Four patents pending (KairosSM, ZUITM, DiakonTM, and Enterprise Cross-sell®)
Zoot introduces zEnvision® Credit Risk Lab
2010 Zoot earns a 2010 Innovator Award for the zOptimize® multichannel cross sell solution from Bank Technology News.
Zoot is issued U.S. Patent No. 7,805,330 for its Enterprise Cross-Sell Management Solution
2011 Named one of five companies to consider for instant credit card decisioning by CEB Tower Group
The average uptime for Zoot's core systems exceeded 99.999%
Zoot develops zMerchant®the first ASP merchant underwriting and monitoring solution
2012 Zoot is issued a patent for Diakon® test file modification tool
2013 Zoot opens a data center in Amsterdam; Offices opened in Leeds, UK and Frankfurt, DE