Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of Essential Fintech News, your source for the latest trends in fintech. As we pause to reflect this week on all we are thankful for, we call attention this month to our gratitude for four important areas in which the fintech industry is making slow but steady progress:
1. Thankful that fintech is one of few areas willing to give women a break
As the Investment News headline declared this week, our industry has long been an industry dominated by men, but increased visibility of women in fintech, “where new ideas and companies are emerging all the time,” according to Danielle Fava at TD Ameritrade Institutional, is happening, thankfully, at a faster rate than on the rest of Wall Street. “Women can get into the [fintech] space and be a thought leader more easily than becoming a leading CFP,” she told Investment News.
As a further example of the increasing role of women in fintech, our own Jane Barratt will be speaking at Fearless in Fintech: The Premier Event for Financial Services and Fintech Leaders to Drive Disruption with Inclusive and Innovative Strategic Leadership, Dec. 3 in New York City. (MX is also an event sponsor.)
If you take a glass-is-half-empty view, the latest research is rather grim for credit unions: “Only 10% of credit unions believe they are on an equal playing field with their banking and fintech competition regarding their all-important data strategy. Ninety percent are two or more years behind what they feel is the industry benchmark,” according to Kirk Kordeleski, senior managing partner and chief strategy officer at BIG Consulting, as reported by Credit Union Times’ Roy Urrico.
However, under a glass-is-half-full lens, reported the same article, credit unions are making progress. One credit union VP of IT who responded to the survey said, “Data analytics is a major part of our strategic discussion. We recognize that we have reached a point where a data warehouse is a necessity. Continuing to build out our own solution does not make sense for us, anymore. We are in the beginning stages of developing a data analytics roadmap that will lay out our journey to become a data-driven organization … I look at the end game. It’s clear we need to use our data to be competitive. The reality is it is an evolving process, so there really isn’t a finish line. We just need to start.” –Jeremey Sterner, vice president of information technology at Heritage Valley Federal Credit Union in York, Penn.
Read the full article: Many Credit Unions With No Clear Data Analytics Strategy: BIG Survey, Credit Union Times, by Roy Uricco, Nov. 16
Last week at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Lael Brainard spoke for the group on the importance of the Board getting involved in the discussion of how AI is changing the financial landscape.
“As with other technological advances,” Lael said in closing, “AI presents regulators with a responsibility to act with thoughtfulness and perspective in carrying out their mandates, learning from the experience in other areas. As we move ahead in exploring the policy and regulatory issues related to artificial intelligence, we look forward to collaborating with a broad array of stakeholders.”
In summary, there’s a lot of noise right now about AI in financial services. We’re thankful to see the regulators weighing in on the opportunities and risks.
——————4. Thankful for four-plus decades of attention to the future of money
In an article in Wired magazine in 1996, former CEO of Citibank Walter Wriston was quoted as saying “Information about money has become almost as important as money itself” – a famous remark now inscribed in the lobby of New York’s Library of Science, Industry and Business. What’s even more amazing is that Wriston actually said that in the 1970s!
Read the full 1996 Wired article "The Future of Money," by Thomas A. Bass.
In summary, we’re thankful to be living in 2018 and working in the world’s most exciting industry!
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