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Banking Transformation Week: Day 1 Highlights

March 24, 2020|0 min read
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Day 1 of Banking Transformation Week is a wrap — including the captivating keynote from Adam Savage of MythBusters.

The first day covered timely advice about navigating COVID-19, working as a team, building out your data analytics strategy, growing deposits and loans, finding purpose in banking, and much more.

When it comes to navigating COVID-19, MX CEO Ryan Caldwell says, “We’re seeing an acceleration of a shift that's been underway for a long time and is now being driven by outside forces. All of a sudden people are being forced to say, ‘I have to figure out how to deposit this check remotely.’ They're going to turn more and more to these digital interfaces.” In light of this accelerated shift to digital interfaces, Caldwell points out that financial services companies have to do some serious reflecting. “The question becomes, Do you have a digital solution that’s easy to use? Do you have a solution that leverages data to understand each user, or provide the guidance that they need?” In a crisis like this, digital matters more than ever. For additional insights regarding the COVID-19, see Caldwell’s post “What Coronavirus Means for Digital Initiatives in Financial Services.”

Ron Shevlin, Senior Contributor at Forbes, adds to the call for more fully integrating banking solutions on a mobile device. He puts it bluntly: “More and more people are saying why do we need all this technology in the branch when we have this on our phone?” It’s a question worth asking — especially during a time of quarantine.

“More and more people are saying, ‘Why do we need all this technology in the branch when we have this on our phone?’”
— Ron Shevlin

Of course, navigating the issue of the coronavirus isn’t only a matter of integrating digital technology. It’s also a matter of leadership. Jill Castilla, CEO at Citizens Bank of Edmund, embodies this leadership well. She says, “As bankers, especially as community bankers, we have a responsibility to our community. So even when our community here hasn't fully understood the threat of this virus, we've tried to be in a leadership role to explain why we need to be sensitive because there are those of us in our population that are vulnerable to this virus and we have to ensure that they're safe.” Leaders like Castilla are setting the bar for what the best financial services companies can do to get us through this crisis.

So much of the success of companies right now hinges on people’s abilities to work together effectively. To this end, Adam Savage talks about how crucial his team members have been to his success. “The MythBusters crew are all great friends who do tons of work together,” he says, “To me there's nothing like putting together a great team that can fire on all cylinders. When someone hires me for work, I say, “You've got to hire my people cause they’ll get it done better, faster, easier.”

Ryan Caldwell and Adam Savage

On a similar note, John Allison, CEO at Home Bancshares, walks through his team’s process and how their past work is paying enormous dividends today. “We did efficiency before efficiency became cool, and it started to feed on itself, separating ourselves from the pack,” he says. “It has become a mindset in our organization.”

To be most efficient, it’s critical to get your data strategy right. On this front, Justin Steele, Vice President at The Points Guy, walked viewers through the data flywheel effect by showing how user data drives better recommendations, which in turns drives more engagement, which in turn brings in more user data — all in a virtuous, win-win cycle.

user data

In this vein, Theodora Lau, Founder at Unconventional Ventures, adds, “I like to say data is the new oxygen. It’s there and it can be regenerated. But it’s not just about having data. It’s about having the data be useful and contextual.” And John Derrico, VP of Data Strategy at MasterCard, showcases three ways forward on this front: “Build trust with clear dialogue about data that resonates with all. Deliver value with strategy and consumable data capabilities. Identify and enable data champions throughout the enterprise.”

“Data is the new oxygen.”
— Theodora Lau,
Founder at Unconventional Ventures

To further illustrate how to put data to use, Sherrie Krizic, Senior VP at Local Government FCU, walks through an original survey data project they implemented. She says, “We decided to reach out to MX and launch a survey to our members to find out what they are thinking about their financial health and their situations. Are they spending, saving, borrowing, and planning? How healthy are they? Are they vulnerable or are they just coping?”

When it comes to growing deposits and loans, Don MacDonald, CMO at MX, details the inflection point we find ourselves in right now. “During these periods, the definition of customer satisfaction is redefined. What was great service before is no longer great service and that in turn allows the redistribution of market share, so it has tremendous impact in terms of your profitability and your growth.”

inflection point

In addition to growing through an inflection point, so much of success in banking comes down to finding and articulating your purpose. Brent Beardall, President & CEO of WaFd Bank, puts it well when he says that a winning strategy is “about banking with a purpose.” He adds that the industry “has a great story on that front. We just don't tell that story very often.”

Ryan Caldwell adds to this line of thinking, saying, “When purpose permeates everything you do, you end up with quality products. You end up with solutions that are better tailored to the need that you're trying to solve.” He says banking matters because “no one can survive without finances.” He continues, “It's one of the reasons why I've always loved this industry. I love being able to help people in the center of these industries because your finances are fundamental.”

“When purpose permeates everything you do, you end up with quality products.”
— Ryan Caldwell, CEO at MX

Perhaps more than anything, financial services companies that find and clearly articulate their purpose — coupled with the right technology — will best weather the storm we find ourselves in right now. These businesses will inspire their employees and customers and win long-term loyalty.

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