2024 is the Year of Financial Data Intelligence
January 18, 2024 | 2 min read
Banking Transformation Week is now more than halfway through, and the second day was full of insights about how to optimize digital banking experiences right now.
Here are 6 actionable steps you can take today based on the insights from Day 2.
Uncertainty is top of mind for many. For instance, Liz Wolverton, Chief Strategy and Customer Experience Officer at Synovus Bank, shares that she hasn’t seen anything like the past few weeks during her entire career. “The velocity at which things are changing is unprecedented,” she says. She adds that her bank has adopted a “get-it-done mentality” and had to convert all their branches to drive-thru only in a 48-hour time period, which required new messaging, new signs, new training, new schedules, and much more. “Our focus has been in three areas: teams, customers, and community,” Wolverton says. “Our customers are saying, ‘I need you to be here. I need access to my funds.’ So we’re taking our communication streams very seriously.”
“Our focus has been in three areas: teams, customers, and community.”
— Liz Wolverton, Customer Experience Officer at Synovus Bank
Josh Rowland, CEO at Lead Bank in Kansas City echoes Liz Wolverton’s concern for the customer. He says, “Because we’re a community bank, we have a lot of pride in the personal relationships we have with our customers. We’ve prioritized connecting with those customers.” He adds, “At its heart, this is about a human relationship.” To deepen the relationship with these customers now, they’re making use of digital chat and video conferencing. “We want to make sure they see our faces and hear our voices during this time.”
This personalized strategy is working well when it comes to financial guidance. As Ramona Ortega, Founder & CEO at My Money, My Future, says, “The silver lining in all of this for us is that there’s an increased interest in personal finance and interest rates.” Her company is using digital channels to offer advice. “We help people — particularly millennials — know how to manage their money, how to find answers to their questions. We’re using all of our social media channels to do that.”
In a similar vein, Doug Nielson, SVP at US Bank, envisions a future of automating financial guidance. “It’s like the autonomous car,” he says, which gets a person where they want to go after just a few inputs from the user. Similarly, autonomous banking gets people to where they want to go financially. Nielson aims to provide an experience where a customer can say, “You have enough data, you have enough permission from me. Just go ahead and do it so I'm not wasting time on activities that don't add value to my day to day life.” As this experience becomes a reality for customers, they’ll see improved financial strength.
At a certain level, giving automated advice is already a reality for leading banks today. As Jane Barratt, Chief Advocacy Officer at MX, says, “Advice can be data-driven. It can be automated. It can be real time. It can be highly personalized. Not personalized to the segment level — personalized to me.”
“Advice can be data-driven. It can be automated. It can be real time. It can be highly personalized. Not personalized to the segment level — personalized to me.”
— Jane Barratt, Chief Advocacy Officer at MX
Digital transformation is easier said than done. As Shayli Lones, Director of Product Marketing at MX, points out, a majority of digital transformation efforts fail.
To avoid this failure, Lones gives five core suggestions, one of which is to make sure the leadership team is all united around each major initiative. 'If there is an unspoken disagreement on goals among your top managers, it can set a project up to fail even before it begins,” she says.
Omar Hatamleh, Former Chief Innovation Officer at NASA, claims that diversity is key to any new initiative. He says, “Diversity brings success, whether it's diversity in thinking, diversity in technology, diversity in gender. Diversity is a key parameter.” To illustrate his point, he talks about a potato chip company that was struggling to remove grease from their potato chips. The company would put the potato chips through a machine that was intended to shake the grease off, but too often the machine merely broke the chips into pieces, which wasn’t appealing to customers. One day, a violinist was playing his violin near their experiments when someone noticed the grease slid right off the potato chip when the violinist played a certain frequency. Omar asks, “Who would have thought that the solution to getting the grease out of a potato chip would come from a violinist?”
“Diversity brings success, whether it's diversity in thinking, diversity in technology, diversity in gender. Diversity is a key parameter.”
— Omar Hatamleh, Former Chief Innovation Officer at NASA
Sam Maule, Co-Host of 11:FS Fintech Insiders Podcast, says that when it comes to implementing a successful digital transformation what matters is finding what sets your institution apart from the rest. “What works for Chase will not work for Wells Fargo, and what works for US Bank won’t work for Origin Bank. That’s why it’s critical to find out what's unique to your DNA and what's unique to your customers that you're servicing.”
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