Three Strategic Issues Shaping Financial Services

By Al Dominick, CEO of DirectorCorps (parent co. to Bank Director & FinXTech) | @aldominick

Quickly:

  • Banks need to think beyond the notion that they can either build a technology solution or buy it — for inspiration, take a look at how Silicon Valley Bank uses APIs to tap into technology from third party providers.
  • Thanks to products like Amazon’s Alexa, financial institutions must now prepare for “hands-free banking.”
  • Various startups are using behavioral economics to nudge people towards making better financial choices for saving & investing.

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If you have been to any of our conferences, you’ve probably heard me (and others) encourage participants to get up & out from their offices to see what’s happening with their customers, potential partners and competition.  I do my best to practice what is preached — and have recent trips to San Francisco, New York City and Austin to prove it.  As I re-read hand written notes, dog-eared white papers and highlighted sections of annual reports, I realize just how much time I’ve spent talking about technology-driven trends shaping the financial industry.  To me, three of the bigger issues being discussed right now involve:

  1. The push for retail customers, which may already be spurring dealmaking.
  2. How customers experience and interact with their bank — which broadly ties into the question should an institution buy, partner or mimic a fintech; and
  3. Given all the hype surrounding machine learning and advanced decision modeling, leadership teams want to know how to augment a bank’s revenues & relationships with such technologies.

To these three trends, both our editor-in-chief, Jack Milligan, and I agree that most bankers understand the imperative to innovate around key aspects of their business, whether it’s payments, mobile in all its many permutations, lending, new account onboarding or data.

Personally, when it comes to knowing one’s customer (and potential customer), I find any good experience starts with great data.  As Carl Ryden, the CEO and Co-Founder at PrecisionLender, made clear at their recent Bank of Purpose conference, “if you hold your data close to the vest and you don’t do anything with it, it’s not an asset. It’s a liability.”

So with that in mind, let me close by sharing a link to our newest issue of Bank Director magazine.  This is our “Great Ideas” issue, one in which we highlight companies like USAA who crowdsource upwards of 10,000 ideas per year for products and new technology.  At a time when banks of all sizes are starting to take advantage of platform-based services, this new digital issue is one that I am really proud to share.

 

The University of Maryland’s Marketing and Finance Super Day

I’m looking forward to keynoting today’s University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business’ Marketing and Finance Super Day.  What follows is a sneak peak of my remarks on the intersection of technology with financial services and why FinTech matters to business-school students.

Investments in financial technology have grown exponentially in the past decade – rising from $1.8 billion in 2010 to $19 billion in 2015.  Global investments in financial technology ventures in Q1 2016 were reported to reach $5.3 billion, representing a 67% increase over the same period last year.  Still, profitability remains elusive for many large FinTechs, despite attracting large volumes of customers and creating significant revenue.  So against this backdrop, I developed my remarks for current MBA students and fellow Smith-school alumni.

The opinions I’ll share reflect a number of conversations I’ve had throughout the year.  One, made by Chris Flowers at the International Finance Corporation’s annual FinTech CEO Summit this October, certainly bears mention.  In his words, a bank “is not just a business model, it is a regulatory concept and a social undertaking.”  So as much as some expect recent investments to radically change the nature of banking, I’m far more optimistic that creative new partnerships will emerge that ease payment processes, reduce fraud, save users money and promote financial planning.

Since this is a more academic audience, my remarks explain how the fabric of the financial industry continues to evolve as new technology players emerge and traditional participants transform their business models.  As part of the school’s Marketing and Finance Super Day, I’ll provide insight into the profound transformations taking place throughout the financial sector while sharing graphics like these from our friends at LetsTalkPayments

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If you’re interested to see the full presentation, I’ll share a link on LinkedIn and Twitter later today after I wrap up my remarks.

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