Investor Advice for Fintechs
March 27, 2023 | 2 min read
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April 2, 2020 | 0 min read
As part of Banking Transformation Week 2020, Ryan Caldwell, founder and CEO at MX, sat down with James Dotter, CFO at MX, to discuss best practices for banks, credit unions, and fintech companies during the covid-19 crisis and economic downturn. They discuss what they’ve been hearing from leaders in financial services, the importance of data in offering optimal digital experiences, and how MX is responding.
Here are three key insights from the conversation:
The entire conversation is full of critical insights to optimize your efforts right now. Watch the video above or read the transcript below.
For more on this topic, see Ryan Caldwell’s article, 'What Coronavirus Means for Digital Initiatives in Financial Services.'
James Dotter (00:17)
Hello, and welcome to Banking Transformation Week. I'm James Dotter with MX. I'm here with Ryan Caldwell, the founder and CEO of MX. We're here to talk a little bit about current events, both with the coronavirus as well as in our economy and how that potentially impacts the banking industry. Thanks for joining us.
So Ryan, it's been a busy last few weeks and, as you know, we've been reached out by so many of our clients and partners in the industry asking what this means and what we are seeing. Given the fact that we're serving more than 2000 financial institutions now, there are a lot of questions around the uncertainty ahead and not just the economic implications, but people thinking about how they best help their customers at this time.
What are some of the questions that you've heard from customers who have been reaching out to us?
Ryan Caldwell (01:19)
What's been interesting is that a lot of our customers — really our partners, because we're so deeply integrated into their solutions and what they're bringing to market that they don't just buy us and then put it out there. We really help them deploy it. And so it changes the nature of the relationship. The relationship is much more personal because we have a shared vision of trying to make this future come to pass.
So when you get these phone calls from people who are asking you, almost like a friend leaning over and saying, 'What are you seeing?' Or 'We're feeling this. Is that what other banks are saying? Is that what other credit unions are saying?'
It's interesting because we serve the entire gamut, everything from banks and credit unions all the way to the index — hundreds of fintechs, thousands of banks and credit unions and everyone in between. And a lot of them are really just trying to figure out what we're seeing in the data and what we're seeing from other people. Those are the main questions that I hear.
They know that for one, we sit on top of the largest collection of financial data that exists in the world right now. And they're saying, 'You guys are constantly analyzing it. You're experts at doing that. What are you seeing broadly?' And there's a lot in that data.
James Dotter (02:41)
We are seeing trends there, but I don't think they're a surprise to anybody. They're trends that we're already seeing in our inboxes, right? We're getting proliferated with emails from various local businesses and restaurants saying, 'Hey, we've sanitized. You can come visit us.' I think those are really strong indications of who's potentially struggling.
And so as we're talking to some of these financial institutions, some of that feedback is you already know who they are — they're in your backyard and are some of the local businesses you need to be focused on and serving, whether it is people in hospitality or the food business or auto dealerships, etc.
That's something we've seen permeate a lot of these conversations on who's struggling and who's possibly in need. And obviously there are the ramifications around if those businesses are struggling, then what about consumers who are employees of those businesses and how do we best reach out to them? These are some of the big questions that I've been hearing. It's interesting because a number of these institutions — even though they're seeing those trends and there's kind of that commonality in the conversation — a lot of them are saying, 'We still need to go figure out what our contingency plan is.'
Ryan Caldwell (04:13)
What I think is interesting about that is the problem of what's happening to these local businesses that can immediately go digital and have their workers work from home but still need that foot traffic. They need those crowds to be able to survive. And that's a large percentage of the US population that actually marries really well with, 'What do I do as a financial institution, right? What do I do as a fintech?' Those types of questions actually pair really well because these people need help like they've never needed help before.
I mean, no one can survive without finances. 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.
Say you're a small business on a cash flow, and you need to know, 'How am I doing? What's going on?' And every household out there isn't in the same bucket. So if we can actually help answer the question of how banks can connect to their consumers during this time of need in a digitally fluid way, how powerful is that? And how strong can you come out of this temporary crisis?
And so when we breathe for a minute and reflect on that, we realized that there's so much opportunity not just to become financially stronger as a financial institution or fintech, but to also serve — to take care of your community, to take care of your consumers, to take care of the people who bank with you while also increasing your bottom and top line.
James Dotter (05:56)
But some of the things won't be temporary. Although what we're experiencing as it relates to the coronavirus — everybody's staying at home, there isn't traffic in these types of businesses — those kinds of things will expire, and a lot of life will go back to normal. But there's going to be a lot of things that fundamentally shift and pivot in the way the business is done.
So for example, we've seen these email trends from a lot of financial institutions already going out saying, 'Hey, you don't have to come into our bank, download our mobile app. Here's a link to go download it.' And so that's creating this escalation. And people who used to go into the branch to transact are now doing it digitally. A lot of those people won't go back. We're seeing this onset of additional digital adoption and engagement.
And so we're already seeing a lot of institutions starting to have the realization that they're going to have to think about these consumers differently going forward because they're not going to serve them through the branch anymore. These consumers now downloaded the mobile app. They are now transacting through that mobile app.
Ryan Caldwell (07:18)
I think what you're seeing is a shift that was already very clearly underway. Everyone's seen it. But what you're seeing this acceleration of that shift that's being driven by this outside influence.
All of a sudden people are being forced to say, 'I have to figure out how to deposit this check remotely. I have to figure out this.' So now they're going to turn more and more to these digital interfaces. So then the question becomes, 'Do you just have an average digital solution?' It may be digital but actually not easy to use. It's not clear. It's cumbersome. It has high friction, and it doesn't use any data to really understand that user or provide the suggestions or guidance that you need.
And that's where financial institutions are really going to differentiate themselves — through that digital experience. Is it going to leave users saying, 'That was better than going into a branch. You know what, I'm going to use that next time'? Or is it going to leave them saying, 'Oh, thank goodness I can go into a branch now'?
This is an opportunity for those who have a great digital experience to permanently change a huge percentage of their users' behavior, which will lower costs and increase opportunities to serve those users, versus those who are just going to have users get by with a clunky digital experience but then want to revert back to the branch as soon as it's over.
James Dotter (08:32)
And I think what's more concerning is that maybe they're not saying, 'Hey, now thank goodness, now I can go back and transact in the branch.' They're saying, 'I found a different app at a different bank to which I can transact that point.'
Ryan Caldwell (08:44)
That point is dead on. That's one of the big concerns is that someone is going to come out a winner during this time, and it's going to be those that have the easiest interface to use — the interface that's most compelling, that's the most guiding.
James Dotter (08:58)
So let's talk a little bit about what's compelling and what's guiding, because I think there's two fold of what we're seeing in an aspect of what's going on throughout the world. One is that obviously there's going to be an acceleration to your point, of how people are transacting digitally and banking digitally. And that's one aspect of it. But there's this whole other aspect of just the degree of uncertainty that lies ahead. And even when things calm down around and people are getting back out into the public and social distancing isn't that big of a deal anymore. People will be looking for financial guidance in a way, but they just haven't sought it before from a digital perspective.
Ryan Caldwell (09:42)
But I think, again, this all comes back to like opportunity, right? So let's use a few examples of other industries. Right now there are people who've never used DoorDash. They've never used UberEats or GrubHub. They've also never really done much video conferencing. They haven't even set up a Zoom meeting themselves yet. There are a lot of people like this. What's interesting is now those companies have an opportunity to take this tragic moment where the whole world's under a lot of pressure and actually take better care of the world, growing their businesses.
For example, DoorDash can come out of this thriving if people use it and tell their friends, 'Oh, you've got to try it. I never would've tried it otherwise, but then I had to try it because we needed a meal that night and it worked wonderfully,' and then they get addicted to that wonderful experience.
Same thing goes with Zoom. Same thing goes with someone who says, 'You know what? I'm going to stream for the first time. I'm going to really explore Netflix.'
And so all of a sudden all these users in this moment are going to shift a lot of their behavior, and banking sits right in that same situation where again, they pair those two powerful things of taking really good care of their communities and the users that they serve while also making sure their businesses thrive through this downturn and making sure that they come out of it incredibly strong.
James Dotter (11:15)
Yeah. And part of that thriving is enabling them to be able to engage in the economy. Again, there's kind of this amplification that happens as we stopped transacting in the local community, right? The business is struggling. There are additional people in the community who aren't receiving income. Now the relief bill was recently signed into law. Now there's going to be some kind of economic relief that's coming through to small businesses too, coming through to individual households. as people kind of grapple with the coronavirus and its implications in the economy, but ultimately people still need that guidance of saying, 'You can go out and transact' and 'You have the financial stability to be able to do that and that will help strengthen the economy.' And when that doesn't happen all with the fact that amplification — not just locally, but then they're not buying from suppliers that aren't buying from suppliers that aren't buying from suppliers in the sense of being a global phenomenon — that we end up experiencing in our worldwide economy.
And if we can simply give additional guidance on where you can spend and where you can't spend — giving that competence to consumers — financial institutions can have a great degree of influence in helping support the economy to provide that calm.
Ryan Caldwell (12:38)
Yeah. And I think that's an important component is to be able to say, 'Here are your finances. Here's the picture, here's it even projected.' And then that allows that person to say, 'Okay, so this is where I'm sitting. I'm comfortable now. You know what, I don't have to completely batten down the hatches. I need to be wise, but I'll be okay.'
James Dotter (12:58)
That's exactly right. And so there's the innate benefit that you'll see within the financial institution just in the nature of transacting like question Mark on the, on the impact of, like interchange revenue and things like that that are going on right now for financial institutions with people, recoiling on, on spend. but as that continues, to, to pick up again and where that guidance is given obviously that Boone's, revenue and assist the financial institution economically. But there's also the social element of it because one of the things that we have to think about beyond just our local communities and how we're helping them is, again, with this amplification that happens in a global economy, there are countries that can support a downturn, right? A lot of us in America will be fine.
We'll get through another recession. There'll be challenges, sure. We've been through this before. The government is stepping in in a big way and is likely to step in in a bigger way with talks that are happening on the Hill right now. But there are people throughout the world who will be definitely impacted by those decisions that we make in our local economies and how that ripples throughout the world. And so you think about just from a social endeavor and from a social impact by, by providing this kind of guidance, we're helping the local community as well as the global community and providing these kinds of resources, this kind of guidance and security is stability.
Ryan Caldwell (14:35)
I think the key thing is realizing how connected the world is. I mean when you realize how diverse our supply chains are from a standpoint of not just the number of ways you can get the item, but the number of people that an item passes through and you realize that any link in that chain breaks, it has these huge effects. And so if our local economy isn't doing well and isn't spending and people don't have that confidence, it affects all the supply chains throughout our own communities, across our state lines, across national lines, and globally. And that's the part is that we're a connected world right now. We have to think nationally. We have to think globally, and we can't just think within our own communities, but we have to realize that how we take care of our own communities does have that, that ripple effect.
[Read: 'What Coronavirus Means for Digital Initiatives in Financial Services.']
James Dotter (15:22)
Yeah. That's it. It's amazing. I'm a little off topic, but it's amazing that a number of us have been talking to people where they have that one part that was manufactured in this place in China or, or, or in India or wherever it may be. And that's creating a curtailment of their overall production because there's this one small piece of the overall device that they were manufacturing or components that we're manufacturing. So it's amazing to see how interconnected the world is at this point. And the fact that just simply by providing an enriched digital experience that guides consumers and their ability to spend and transact can have the amplification and impact globally.
Ryan Caldwell (16:13)
And I think what's interesting is how the root of all of that is that we don't have to have fear, right? What's amazing to me is one of the most beautiful things that I've seen come out of this is, there were a bunch of tech leaders that all of a sudden sorted these video conference calls where they get everyone together and say, how do we help the government? How do we help our local government? How do we help our state governments? How do we help the national government respond to this better, faster, quicker, and that optimism of, we've got this, this is going to be tough. It's going to be painful, but not only are we going to get through this, okay, we're going to come out of this thriving. And that's the part that I love and I feel that, I mean, right now we're in a distributed office. We've got everyone working from home. We've got our kids jumping in and out of video conference calls. We were laughing about that earlier about how we all get to not just know each other, better through these video conferencing. But we get to know each other's families better as well. But what I've loved through the interaction that I've seen this last week is the optimism of not only do we have this, but in the MX is incredibly strong. I mean, we're continuing to grow at an incredible rate. all of the things that we would say they need to be positive internally as a company are wonderful, but we have an opportunity to take care of these great people that we serve these great financial institutions to help them better take care of their users. It's exciting. I mean, I feel like it's interesting that during this time of great stress. I see more and more bits of humanity stepping up and in this optimistic, inspiring, just saying that again and again, we got this.
James Dotter (17:52)
Yeah. And that's something that obviously we just need to embrace holistically as an industry is. and, and this is something that, that hopefully is a positive change, not just, you know, what does technological advancements look like? What is transacting? How does transacting evolve because of, because of these changes. But just how do we become more interconnected as a human family, right? And, and how do we, how do we change our perspective and how does that permeate our messaging and the why and the connecting with our consumers, with our customers. and and, and thereby kind of permeating purpose and in reason how we do things. And this is fundamental to the way we operate at MX since purpose is what drives everything. We start with why, start with why the golden circle, right? But it always comes down to purpose. And 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. You end up with people who are more engaged, who really care about the outcome.
And so building businesses, whether it's a bank or it's a technology company, is messy. It's hard and you're always trying to pick up that mess that's hitting the floor because you're trying to figure out, 'How does this actually function, and how do we know that we're actually solving the problem?'
And that's just the nature of it. When you have people who care, they're willing to roll up their sleeves and make that happen. And so hopefully one of the positive things that we get out of this experience is, again, humanity. We give back to humanity, and we give back to caring and back to purpose in our contribution and how we're building, and the solutions that we're delivering into the market.
Ryan Caldwell (19:47)
And one of the things that I just absolutely love about that is that because so often it's, 'Well, we have to choose between whether we make the right business decision or do we do what we know is right?' And kind of like when I mentioned those examples of whether it's a DoorDash or food delivery type service or whether it's a Zoom meeting or that type, they're helping people get through this. They are really making a difference. Those types of services. And when I look at what we do, our ability to really take care of and build that community not only is not an opposition to but as in direct synergy with the idea that you can thrive as a financial institution.
And one of the things that's interesting is when people have reached out over the last week or two, they're saying, 'Look, we're slammed, we're stressed. What do we do?' And they're like, 'Well, we've got to push this meeting away. We've got to push this.' We're like, 'Guys, we're digital. We're digital. We can educate, we can connect digitally, we can video conference, we can actually do the full integration digitally.'
And it's just that thing of breathing, of saying, 'This crisis is an opportunity.' It does not have to be a reason to not move forward. It's actually an opportunity to catch your breath, to really strategize and say, 'Okay, we're in the middle of learning a really powerful lesson.' And we see that some of the players on our platform are having mobile adoption that is just spiking, only their adoption but the number of times of the users are logging in on a mobile interface is going up, RDC is going up, everything's going up and then there are other people with customers that we're hearing from saying, 'Yeah, we're seeing a lift for sure but we're not seeing the same spike.'
Why is that? And so this is that great opportunity to have that conversation to get really educated on what's possible and to say, 'Okay, is it possible to implement this digitally where we actually don't have to have someone on site, where the teams are video conferencing and we can go all the way from evaluation, education, decision and integration and deployment, go through all of that and have it be incredibly successful in a digital environment?' The answer is yes. And I think that's what a lot of people are realizing right now is that this is not the time to put on the brakes. This is actually the time to drive forward.
James Dotter (22:02)
Let's talk a little bit about what that experience looks like just so that those who are watching see it's not vague. It's an amazing experience, right? And that's what kind of gets it. They're like, what are some of the fundamental components that exist in that amazing experience that makes it enriching, that's going to both benefit the institution as a lot of our viewers are thinking about, 'Okay, what is our go forward strategy? Is it aligned with kind of where the market's going to go and what the consumer needs are going to be? And is it gonna help us better address the market generally speaking?'
So what are some of those fundamental components that exist within that digital experience that they should probably be at least looking at, if not absolutely prioritizing?
Ryan Caldwell (22:45)
So this is the stuff that obviously I'm over at MX we get pretty jazzed about. We'll talk about these things a lot, right? There are a lot of things you can do with great data, but one of the most exciting things is Pulse. And the whole idea that someone can have a pulse on their finances, the whole idea that they can have a feeling of, 'How's that heartbeat going? How am I okay?' Because that's the way that it is with your finances. Paycheck, then paying bills, paycheck. There are all these things that are going on in these repeating daily and weekly occurrences.
So with the right data, you can help users understand this is a recurring charge, that they should probably put this on pause for the next three months since they're not going to be going to the gym during that time. Users need that little bit of help. And for a lot of Americans that makes a difference. Those little bits of advice help users feel like you're not just saying, 'I gave you a loan and I store your money for you safely. What else do you want me to do?' They want someone to say, 'Look, your life sometimes goes through great times and tough times. We're going to be there for you. We're a partner. We're going to help you understand and analyze your finances and we're going to actually give you insight and advice.'
These little beats in that pulse that tell you here's something you should probably notice. Here's something you should probably look at. And so what we're saying is people who are looking at that way of using data are completely rewriting the rules. What it means to be a bank and what it means to serve consumers as a bank.
James Dotter (24:19)
Yeah, that's spot on. We want to make transacting seamless and without friction. And so, you know, 'Are your remote deposit capture rates, success rates high enough? Do you have the ability to do peer-to-peer transfers and be able to transact and move money around? Is it working to a high enough degree where people aren't feeling the friction?'
This goes to your point on Pulse, which goes so far beyond just, 'Can I move money around too? Am I getting the advice and insight that I need my finances?' And what we're seeing already is the lift in traffic and people looking into our apps that we're providing to the bank saying, 'How am I doing?' And it's so early on in this process that I think there's still a lot of people questioning, 'Are we actually in a recession?'
I think a lot of people concluded this set it off, but it hasn't been called yet. So, but yet consumers are already looking and saying, how am I doing financially? We see, consumers and, and businesses alike, pulling down what available credit they have and then trying to, trying to store up and weather the storm. And so having that proactive advice and that guidance, digital elements and attributes within the applications that are being provided to the consumer are going to be, those are going to be fundamentally crucial going forward when we talk about what features and what kind of experience are we providing. It's not just about can I see my balance and can I move money? It's, 'Do I have a financial GPS? Am I being guided in my financial life?'
Ryan Caldwell (26:04)
Yeah. I would say dead-on. Let's get to a real world example. The government has said you need to be able to hunker down if you get sick. For a lot of Americans, especially Americans in certain higher risk demographics, they've been told you're at a higher risk, you have a secondary health condition, whatever it might be, you need to be ready to be able to hunker down.
How does that person do that? If you have a normal banking experience just a list of transactions. They have a balance. If you look at the data, the way that we use the budgeting app and the approach of a cash flow over time, all those tools that let you know the reality of your finances, you can see that you have this much disposable income so you have that information that you can use as a tool to go to the store right now and say, 'I can go spend right now an extra $100, $200, or $500 on food supplies — things that I need and I'm still going to be okay this month because it shows you that you're going to be okay in that application and users need that guidance.'
The whole idea that they have to immediately sit down in that moment of stress and calculate spreadsheets, or get out a sheet of paper and start adding things up to make your users do that when a computer can do that for you and display it beautifully to give you that calm so that you can do what you really need to be doing, which is get to the store calmly. Don't buy more toilet paper than you need, but get what you need and buy the supplies that you need and then get home and get back to more creative types of things. And I think that is where people are realizing that's the bank that I want. That's the relationship that I want.
James Dotter (27:33)
So going back to what we were talking about as it relates to what components need to exist in that digital experience — how they should be prioritizing, what kind of features exist there, etc. Obviously, we've already seen this growing trend and a lot of institutions moving towards, 'How do I launch an account? How do I do account origination in one seamless experience?'
So the first interaction with an application or online where they can go and validate the customer, their identity, open up an account and fund it from another account all in one seamless workflow. I think that's another thing that's going to be really crucial as a prioritization item, as, as we're seeing more and more again, these consumers moving from, they weren't even a digital user before now they are now that that war is raging to a point that it just hasn't in the past. And, and financial institutions can be those who are leading charge on that, on that front in the industry or they could be laggards, right? But if they're leading that charge, they need to be thinking about, okay, then how are we not just going to create this amazing digital experience, but how are we going to enable this frictionless account opening and the ability for them to be able to in one seamless workflow, be able to stand up a new account as they look at competing and better serving the consumers in their community.
Ryan Caldwell (28:53)
I think that one of the biggest things is if you want to grow with your consumer. Yeah. You were saying, I want to grow this relationship that I have with an existing consumer. I want to grow the number of relationships I have and I want to add brand new consumers. You can't achieve meaningful growth or exceptional growth if you don't have an exceptional experience. And that exceptional experience is, is entirely dependent upon exceptional data. So if you think about why I want someone to open an account quickly, how do you do that? You make them on a little tiny phone that's convenient as they sit in a bus stop or whatever it is, sit there and type out their name, last name, address, social security number. You make them do that or you just make them say, where do you currently bank, add their credentials and then pull all that information in for them. That's great, right?
And so I think that that you have to be able to have the ability to get to data, the connectivity to get the data and the ability to now have the data to be meaningful, properly cleanse, structured, normalized, and then power that experience with that data so that users getting what they're used to, which is swipe, swipe, and they can do what they need to get new account, fund that account, switch the actual relationship, move that card to the, not just the top of wallet, but have that card be the card on file at Amazon and all the other sites that they go visit and be able to move their direct deposit seamlessly.
So all of that relies on data and the ability to connect to that data. So exceptional experience starts with exceptional data and exceptional data starts with MX. That's what we do. That's everything that we are about is asking, How do we connect to that data? How do we cleanse that data, give it structure, give it meaning, and then how do we now use that data to power through these beautiful experiences?
James Dotter (30:38)
Yeah, I think it's going to be really amazing to see how much that accelerates. Obviously we've talked to a lot of financial institutions over the last few years. People have been thinking about how they create that experience and how they do things like account opening like what you're talking about, but we'll see. I think we'll see a pretty significant acceleration of people actually taking action on that now rather than just a rather than just planning. So it's a phenomenal area for people to be focused and prioritizing as they're thinking about a contingency plan as we've heard it called by so many financial institutions. But really it's just what do they need to shift? What do they get picked on in the strategy for the next, for the next few months.
Ryan Caldwell (31:19)
Yeah. And they're thinking, 'What do I do? What do I do that sometimes feels overwhelming?' What a lot of them don't realize is that it gets really easy when you break it into pieces so you don't have to boil the whole ocean. You can start with, 'I need to get connected to the data. I need to have my own ability to control my own destiny. So I need the right APIs the right way to stitch it together and then, okay, wow, I have that.' All of a sudden all these possibilities open up from that. So a lot of people are coming to us saying, I know I need to get here and I want to get there quickly. And by the way, you can get there very quickly, but you don't have to get there in one leap. You can do it bite size.
James Dotter (31:58)
But to the point of doing it quickly, a lot of them are probably thinking, 'Okay, I'm going to launch this project. It's typically my mobile deployment. In the best case scenario it's going to be, if I'm doing a new mobile initiative, going to be 12 months. This is a need that's in the marketplace today. So what do I do? How do I get going if I need to innovate that rapidly?'
Ryan Caldwell (32:18)
Yeah, 12 months for a lot of people would be considered aggressive. For us, that's not aggressive, but for a lot of people that could be considered aggressive. You know what's interesting is people have reached out and said, I need somebody to solve for my consumers in the next few months. I realized that they're stressed. I realize that I'm behind. I realized that my current digital experience doesn't really help guide them or whatever. How can I get them a tool that can let them see their full 360-degree view of their finances and get guidance and advice, get things like Pulse, actual AI-driven, insightful advice delivered in that mobile experience? They're asking, 'How do I do that immediately?' And what a lot of them are realizing, and this will show them the different options they have, they can leave their existing mobile in place exactly as it is right now and get an app out.
And they said, 'Well, how could I get another app out in some of the biggest banks in the world?' The top 10 banks in the world are doing this where they have their main app, but they're launching these hyper-innovative neo-type apps. The same way as the neobanks. They're like these neo-type apps and these are really modern, just like Pulse and our mobile experience.
And so they're able to take that mobile experience and think, 'Wow. Could I get that done in three months?' And our team has been answering them saying, 'You could get this out to market in a few weeks.' And it completely changes their entire perspective of what's possible. A lot of banks just don't realize that.
We get that by working with the right partner — and again, it truly is a partnership. We can get that experience, that guidance from your bank to your customers, from the moment you say go within a few weeks.
James Dotter (33:55)
Thanks, Ryan. Just in closing, we appreciate everybody participating and watching this, this session with us. Obviously we have a fundamental role that we see, we play within the financial services industry and helping institutions re re formed themselves really transformed themselves from being a financial intermediary to becoming your financial advocate. And then that is the future of banking as we know it.
So in conclusion, why don't you share with our guests the mission of MX and why we're after this? You know, our mission starts with, with, with our vision and, and our vision was finances as they should be. And it seems like such a simple statement that you're just like, okay, what does that even mean?
Ryan Caldwell: (34:47)
But we all know what that means. We feel it when you have that friction. I remember what I remember about a year and a half ago just to try it. I was trying to do an account opening process from a credit union that I actually really enjoy — I like this credit union and I've had a strong affinity towards them, right? And I was going in there trying to set this thing up and it was crazy. Online page after online page for online page wasn't even mobile. This was online. And I look at how high friction that was, how frustrating. And at the very end of it, it gave me a message that said we could not complete your application. We apologize, please come into a branch. And there was no safe data. So I think we all have experienced moments like that where we're maybe not sure exactly what finances should be, but you know, it shouldn't be that.
And so when we looked at that, we're thinking, well why is it so bad? You know, why are finances so bad? Why aren't they the way that they should be? And the answer was there wasn't the right data to fill it because all these experiences were around these high friction, non uninformed, unintelligent processes. And so the mission of MX came down to how could we bring about this vision of finances they should be by empowering the world to be financially strong, by being able to actually give them the tools that they need to be completely informed, to have it be easy, low friction and not just to protect these consumers so that way they can actually knock it internal in the way, but actually guide them in an autopilot like fashion. And if we can do that, then these people can put their energy into building great bridges, being the great engineer that they are — being an incredible doctor, being a cancer researcher, being a phenomenal parent and getting home.
I don't want the population of the world going home and work on their finances for an hour. What I want is that super intelligent app to analyze it all for them and simply say, you're okay and I'll let you know if you have anything you need to worry about. And that consumer can go in and look at all their finances with great clarity whenever they want, but they don't have to be stressed about it because they know that the app is going to alert them if there's anything anomalistic in that data. And we're still always a ways away from getting there, right? But we're now starting to provide really meaningful advice at scale to tens of millions of users. And so I'm seeing that mission start to come into fruition. And I think one of my favorite things about it is it changes a bank into a loved brand with a real relationship with their consumer. And I think banks and credit unions and fintechs, doesn't matter which of those you were talking about, if they can't achieve that, they're not going to have a future. But if they can, their future's going to be brighter and more robust than it possibly could have been otherwise.
James Dotter (37:43)
Thank you Ryan, and thank you to all those who have joined us for the session. We put this together, not for MX, but for you. We understand the challenges that are going on in the industry. We understand the planning and effort that goes into what you do to support our financial system. and we hope that you gained value out of the additional content that we've provided here for you. Please enjoy. Please provide feedback. We're here to support you however we can. Thank you very much.
Looking for more on this topic?
Read the article 'What Coronavirus Means for Digital Initiatives in Financial Services' and the infographic 'Financial Behavior & Spending Amid Covid-19.'
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