3 Sources of Inspiration for Financial Services Executives

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  -Walt Disney

Some days just seem to move faster then others.  Fortunately, I found myself on a few airplanes this week without wifi (yes, no wifi!).  What a treat to find a few hours of electronic-interruption free time to catch up on overdue reading.  As I flipped through our soon-to-be-released issue of Bank Director magazine, I took note of a number of issues and trends that I intend to dive deeper into this weekend.  I also pulled up PDFs of articles I’d seen — but had not had a chance to read — that relate to our fast-approaching Acquire or Be Acquired Conference.  Finally, I jotted down a few thoughts on the types of information that I find compelling — notes that inspired this morning’s post.

You see, I really love connecting people with each other… and sharing ideas and insight that I find compelling.  Oftentimes, this takes place in person; however, opportunity exists to do so in digital format.  So if you’re curious about what’s happening in the banking space, let me point you towards these three sources of inspiration:

  • Most Saturday mornings, for me, involve a healthy dose of wit + wisdom from Gregg Schoenberg vis-a-vis The Financial Revolutionist. Powered by Wescott Capital, I appreciate how this weekly newsletter provides sharp and distinctive commentary on financial innovation trends.
  • For those that favor a podcast, take a listen to The Purposeful Banker (backed by PrecisionLender).  Over the past few years, they have assembled a strong library of perspectives relevant to how banks might better perform given various technologies available.
  • Finally, many know of Chris Skinner as an author and independent commentator on the financial markets.  His blog, the Finanser.com, is one I consider a must-read.

As a bonus, Deloitte expects banks to deepen their engagement with the fintech ecosystem as the trend towards digitization accelerates — a theme you’ll recognize if you’ve been on Bank Director’s FinXTech.com*.  The full report from the consultancy can be found here.

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*As the financial landscape continues to evolve, and executives grapple with a fast-changing operating environment that requires partnerships and collaboration, I am so impressed by the exceptionally astute group of men and women that are helping to shape the future of finance through their day-to-day jobs + as part of FinXTech’s Advisory Group.  FWIW, both Gregg and Chris are members.

Bank Director’s new Tech Issue

Earlier this week, we published the December issue of Bank Director Magazine, our annual Tech Issue.  Stories range from the changing nature of mobile banking to institutions moving into the cloud to a venture capitalist’s perspective on the future of banking.  I invite you to take a look.

Since starting this blog in 2012, I’ve shared my optimism that the intersection of technological innovation with strong depository franchises may lead to more efficient banking processes, reductions in fraud and a win/win/win for banks, FinTechs and consumers.  So as I read through this current digital issue, a few key takeaways:

  • When San Francisco-based Bank of the West, an $80.7 billion asset subsidiary of BNP Paribas Group, analyzed last year the bottom line impact of customers who are engaged in online banking and mobile banking, it found some surprising results. Digital customers, or those who were active online or on their mobile phones during the previous 90 days, had lower attrition rates than nondigital customers, and they contributed higher levels of revenue and products sold, said Jamie Armistead, head of digital channels at Bank of the West.
  • Automating the small-business lending process requires some deep thinking from boards and management about how much faith they’re willing to place in technology, and their ability to embrace the cultural change implicit in basing lending decisions more on data than judgment. “The marketplace is demanding quicker decisions through technology,” says Pierre Naude, CEO of nCino, a maker of bank operating systems. Bank customers, he says, are clamoring for special products and specialized coding that enable greater automation of the small-business lending process. “Bankers are waking up to the fact that speed and convenience will trump price. You can lose a customer to an alternative lender if you don’t have it.”
  • As our Editor, Naomi Snyder, shares in her welcoming letter, banks tend to have the usual board committees (think audit, compensation and risk).  But we know that few have a board-level technology committee.  So I wonder if 2017 is the year that more institutions decide to create such a group to become better informed and better prepared as the digitization of the banking industry continues?

Concomitant to this issue’s release, Chris Skinner shared his perspectives on the state of FinTech our FinXTech platform.  In his words, “it is apparent that the fintech industry has become mainstream just as fintech investing cools. What I mean by this is that fintech has matured in the last five years, going from something that was embryonic and disruptive to something that is now mainstream and real. You only have to look at firms like Venmo and Stripe to see the change. Or you only have to consider the fact that regulators are now fully awake to the change and have deployed sandboxes and innovation programs. Or that banks are actively discussing their fintech innovation and investment programs… Fintech and innovation is here to stay.”

Clearly, the pace of change in the banking space continues to accelerate.  Accordingly, I encourage you to check out what we’re doing with both Bank Director and FinXTech to help companies who view banks as potentially valuable channels or distribution partners, banks looking to grow and/or innovate with tech companies’ help and support; and institutional investors, venture capitalists, state & federal regulators, government officials and academicians helping to shape the future of banking.

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