Future Banking: Creating an ‘Incumbent Challenger’

Finovate talks with Ronit Ghose, global head of banks research and co-head of the fintech theme group at Citi about the future of challenger banks and why some shouldn’t be calling themselves a “fintech” at all.

Finovate: How would you define the different types of challenger bank that exist today, and what are the key differentiating factors between them?

Ronit Ghose: Challenger banks are designed around the digital revolution and are able to leverage data insights via advanced technology stacks. I’d say there are three types of challenger banks that have emerged:

  • The first are standalone challenger banks, which are primarily Fintech companies leveraging technology and data to streamline retail banking by offering better convenience and pricing.
  • The second are incumbent-led challenger banks, started within legacy banks through investment in technology and by creating new digital-only banks.
  • Finally, we’re seeing BigTech-led challenger banks who can use their vast networks to acquire customers quickly as they branch out into financial services.

Finovate: Interesting! So, we’ve seen many incumbent banks attempt to set up their own challenger banks – how successful has this been, what lessons should others learn, and how can banks make their back end look more like a digitally-native company’s?

Ghose: Over the past five years or so, especially since 2016 through 2017, incumbent banks have moved from ignoring or mocking the new entrants to engaging with them and giving them the best testimonial possible: They have begun copying them by setting up their own new businesses. While the results have been mixed, the success or failure of incumbents in this field could be characterized using three factors: markets, technology and operating model or culture.

So in most cases, incumbent banks launch a challenger bank in a market where they are already active; albeit they use their new proposition to better target a specific segment, such as millennials or digitally-savvy customers. With regards to technology, in the past 12 to 18 months incumbent banks appear to be moving to consider more disruptive technology and business model approaches, and to attempt to actually build new brands or businesses “like a startup”. If you aren’t doing new tech, then stop calling yourself challenger or fintech. ‎

Finally, we have to consider bank employee incentives, training, and formation are the human capital equivalent of a fixed income instrument. By contrast, fintech founders work and their employees are growth equity to the bank employees’ fixed coupon bond. In the language of financial instruments, can banks become convertibles not just bonds? ‎

Finovate: Moving away from challenger banks to other new market entrants, to what extent do incumbent banks fear big technology companies over fintechs?

Ghose: The emergence of BigTech has led to heightened competition in the financial services sector. I think the challenge BigTech poses for incumbent and standalone challenger banks is daunting, given the absence of any cost drag from legacy information technology (IT) systems and underused branch networks (common problems for banks) and their natural advantage in customer acquisition owing to their high user engagement models.

One of the most prominent of these is in Korea, where popular social messaging app Kakao Talk launched a digital-only bank in 2017, acquiring two million customers in a short span of just two weeks from launch date. Similarly in China, challenger banks such as WeBank, backed by Tencent, respectively, have seen strong user growth following their launch in 2015.

The experiences of Korea and China are successful examples of internet companies venturing into banking. There are many lessons to be learned from this. Firstly, incumbent banks should not be overly complacent with their existing customer base – the speed of customer acquisition could be much faster through digital channels than the traditional distribution channels. Secondly, internet giants have a clear edge in certain areas of banking, especially around payments and mobile money. Finally, there are opportunities to cross-sell and scale to other products.

Finovate: So there’s potential for a lot of change and upheaval then. What will the bank of the future be characterized by?

Ghose: Legacy banks often have data that is stuck in multiple silos supported by core banking technology that was literally built in the era of black and white television. Manual intervention is high, which slows down operating speed, reduces flexibility, increases costs, and ultimately degrades efficiency and experience. Creating an incumbent challenger sounds like an oxymoron, but as legacy banks recognize the threat that new entrants into banking are posing to revenue and customers, they need to reinvent themselves and reimagine banking. This involves legacy banks partnering with technology companies to create effective joint ventures as well as moving into more disruptive technology and business models to transform themselves into digital competitors. By creating their own Bank X, we believe some legacy banks can transform themselves from slow moving caterpillars to agile butterflies.

Finovate Webinar: Tech Giants in Payments and the Implications for Issuers

Tuesday, January 28, 2020  |   1:00 PM EST  |   Register now >>

Join us for this #FinovateWebinar, as Ondot gives an overview of what the Google Checking product is, how it compares to payment products from Apple, Facebook, and other tech giants, and what Google stands to gain.

We will be joined by Richard Crone from Crone Consulting, whose Apple Card insights have been featured in Bloomberg, Marketwatch, PaymentsSource, and The Financial Brand, to discuss what’s driving the opportunity from these tech giants and what is the opportunity or threat for banks and credit unions, as well as how financial institutions can respond.

Covered in the session:

  1. How is this different or the same from other tech company launches such as Apple Card?
  2. Why does Google see an opportunity and what’s in it for Google?
  3. Along with Apple Card and other tech giants, what are industry trends and consumer demands driving this change?
  4. What’s in it for banks and credit unions? Should financial institutions see this as an opportunity or a threat?

Featuring:

  • Richard K. Crone, CEO and Founder, Crone Consulting, LLC
  • Heidi Liebenguth, Managing Partner and Research Director, Crone Consulting, LLC
  • Vaduvur Bharghavan, CEO, Ondot Systems
  • Prasanna Narayan, VP of Product, Ondot Systems

Register now >>

Finovate Webinar: Accelerating the Speed to “Platform Ready” for Banks

In 2020, banks will spend about $2.3 billion on core modernization just to satisfy customers and keep fintechs at bay. In the age of apps and the platform economy, do you know how to ensure your bank is ready to compete?

Watch this on-demand webinar to explore:

  • The future of cloud-first strategies
  • The future of platform-as-a-service strategies
  • How banks can accomplish these and achieve transformation goals more cost effectively

Finovate eMagazine: Fraud Prevention, Cybersecurity and Regtech

We close out 2019 with a deep dive into fraud prevention, cybersecurity, and regtech, as well as unique insights from FinovateAsia and Middle East. This quarter’s eMagazine includes insights into the micro-trends set to emerge in 2020, and interviews with some of the Finovate Awards winners about their innovations.

Featuring

  • Tim Ayling, buguroo
  • Wendy Jephson, Nasdaq
  • Brett King, Moven 
  • Clara Durodie, Cognitive Finance Group
  • Jason Davies and Rebecca Engelber, Flybits
  • Chis McLaughlin, Nuxeo
  • Tim Nelms, Crawford Technologies
  • Matt Keil, Cequence 
  • Alissa Knight, Aite Group
  • Wai Lum Kwok, Abu Dhabi Global Market

Read now >>

Small Businesses and the Underserved: This Week in the Finovate Podcast

This week’s Finovate Podcast episodes are both focused on small and medium sized businesses, and the opportunities that fintech is creating for bankers, innovators, and small business owners themselves.

Our first guest is Karen Mills, former Small Business Administrator for the Obama Administration, and author of the book Fintech, Small Business & the American Dream. Greg caught up with Karen to talk about how the Great Recession hurt small businesses in particular, and how fintech has been able to step in and help.

Our second episode features Jeremy Berger of Arival Bank, a Best of Show winning demoer from FinovateAsia 2018. Arival is a challenger bank reaching out to unbanked/underbanked small businesses all over the world. The company is expanding from Asia into the United States and Europe, and Greg spoke with Jeremy about the company’s fintech-first solution to the challenges facing SMB banking.

Next week Greg will be speaking with Wayne Miller of The Venture Center, a fintech accelerator with ties to FIS and the ICBA.

Subscribe, download, and listen today!

Finovate eMagazine: Going the Extra Mile

The focus on the customer and their experiences has dominated the conversation within financial services over the past few years, but seems to have become especially pertinent in 2019. In our latest eMagazine, we examine the fintechs and institutions leading the way with excellent service and products that delight customers, both locally and globally.

This eMagazine features exclusive session recordings from the stage of FinovateFall– including insight and analysis on APIs, consumer lending platforms, and content and communication management. Over the course of reading you’ll find new ways of thinking about becoming truly customer-centric.

Read the full eMagazine now

Data Privacy in the U.S.A. Have We Hit a Stalemate?

This is a guest blog post by Steve Boms, President of Allon Advocacy. Boms, a featured speaker and panelist at FinovateFall 2019 last month, takes a look at the current regulatory landscape in the United States when it comes to data privacy, and why he thinks we’re a long way off from having a one-size-fits-all approach.

Steve Boms, President, Allon Advocacy sits down with David Penn, Research Analyst at Finovate to talk regtech, open banking and the intersection of two within fintech & politics.

Data breaches have dominated the headlines recently, but a federal standard is still a pipe dream in the current political environment.

Why? The answer is as old as the country itself: the tension between state and federal power.

In the current context, it is Republicans, typically strident defenders of states’ rights, who want a national system. House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has said, “Your privacy and security should not change depending on where you live in the United States.” Industry advocates agree with the GOP, arguing for a national standard because they worry compliance across 50 different state frameworks would be impossible.

Though several bills outlining national standards have been introduced in Congress, including some with Democratic support, the two parties still cannot agree. That’s because Democrats, along with consumer groups and privacy advocates, repeatedly have said they will not support federal legislation that supplants current and future state laws that may be stronger than a federal privacy regime.  

Given this ideological argument, federal action could still be years away.

If you want progress fast, better to look to the states.

Data privacy legislation has been introduced or filed in at least 25 states. Maine and Nevada enacted significant legislation this year. Colorado and Massachusetts also did, and proponents of data privacy legislation are active in New York. Connecticut lawmakers failed to consider several data privacy bills, but did pass legislation to establish a task force to examine what businesses operating in the state should have to tell consumers about the data they collect.

This trend – studying the issue – is evident in several states, and while such “study bills” are sometimes viewed as bureaucratic inertia against more powerful legislation, these mandates are quite often precursors to more meaningful statutory changes. That certainly could be the case over the next year.

The gold standard for state legislation is, of course, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that is set to go into effect on January 1, 2020. In arguing against a uniform federal standard, it is the CCPA that Democrats are hoping to preserve.

Even though it will take several months, even years, to reach consensus, it is difficult to envision an eventual federal mandate that doesn’t look a lot like the CCPA. The CCPA addresses numerous measures that empower consumers to protect their data privacy, a common theme lawmakers, industry, and consumer advocates all embrace.

Specifically, the CCPA allows consumers to opt out of the sale of their information while embracing their right to know, access, and delete what companies know about them. The law also includes a 45-day grace period for businesses to comply with consumers’ requests and imposes penalties on companies for privacy violations, including the ability for consumers to exercise private rights of action for a security breach.

California lawmakers have introduced numerous bills since CCPA passage to clarify the law’s prior to implementation. Amendments include the removal of certain categories of data – namely employee and contractor information –and the need to protect businesses’ preferred treatment of consumers who are part of loyalty programs.

These changes might not be enacted, but they present debates federal lawmakers should watch.

Even with the CCPA as a guide, federal legislation must strike an appropriate balance between supporting consumer empowerment and supporting strong protection standards for consumers and businesses alike. Additionally, a major question still lingers in Washington over who should have authority over data privacy issues, and whether they should have the authority to establish rules or enforce current practices. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report points to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the most reasonable choice. Many in the industry agree, citing the agency’s authority to weed out “unfair or deceptive” consumer practices and the FTC’s existing authority to issue and enforce regulations on the collection of data on children under 13 years old.

In its report, however, the GAO does question whether the FTC has the bandwidth to oversee such an enormous issue, or if a new governing arm, similar to the European Union’s European Data Protection Supervisor, should be established.

The most important issue facing federal lawmakers, though, is the need to protect innovation. The GAO urges Congress to consider how to “balance consumers’ need for internet privacy with the industry’s ability to provide services and innovate.” Strict privacy regulations may result in compliance costs that are too cumbersome for businesses, and consumer skepticism increases when privacy protections are too lax. Europe is starting to feel the effects of the General Data Privacy Regulation’s (GDPR) inability to balance the two (many U.S. businesses are not able to comply with the regulation’s excessively high bar or cannot pay the large fees and thus cannot offer their services).

Data privacy is front and center on the global stage. The United States will fall farther behind unless lawmakers focus on the common tenets of data privacy – supporting consumer control, ensuring proper regulatory authority, and embracing innovation – and pass a bipartisan bill.

Webinar: Move Banking from Product-Centric to Customer-Centric

Webinar: Move Banking from Product-Centric to Customer-Centric

Featuring:

Is your bank keeping pace with escalating customer expectations shaped by their mobile experiences? How are you addressing the perception that all banks are the same? 

It’s tough when you have a product focus and outdated technology is holding you back. You know you need to modernize to win and retain demanding, empowered, and fickle customers. Customer loyalty and company revenue are at risk if you don’t.

In this webinar, featuring OutSystems and guest speaker Alyson Clarke, Principal Analyst at Forrester, you’ll learn how leading firms like Amazon, Nordstrom, USAA, and Zappos have made the shift to customer-centricity and are delivering world-class customer experiences.

These insights will help your bank follow suit.

Mission-Critical, Concurrent Transactional, and Analytic Processing at Scale

Mission-Critical, Concurrent Transactional, and Analytic Processing at Scale

This is a sponsored blog post by InterSystems, a financial data technology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Successful financial services organizations today must be able to simultaneously process transactional and analytic workloads at high scale – accommodating billions of transactions per day while supporting thousands of analytic queries per second from hundreds of applications – without incident. The consequences of dropped trades, or worse – a system
failure – can be severe, incurring financial losses and reputational damage of the firm.

InterSystems’ IRIS Data Platform is a hybrid transactional/ analytic processing (HTAP) database platform that delivers the performance of an in-memory database with the reliability and built-in durability of a traditional operational database.

InterSystems IRIS is optimized to concurrently accommodate both very high transactional workloads and a high volume of analytical queries on the transactional data. It does so without compromise, incident, or performance degradation, even during periods of extreme volatility and requires fewer DBAs than other databases. In fact, many installations do not need a dedicated DBA at all.

An open environment for defining business logic and building mobile and/or web-based user interfaces enables rapid development and agile business innovation.

For one leading global investment bank, InterSystems data platform is processing billions of daily transactions, resulting in a 3x to 5x increase in throughput, a 10x increase in performance, and a 75% reduction in operating costs. The application has operated without incident since its inception.

Traditionally, online transaction processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP) workloads have been handled independently, by separate databases. However, operating separate databases creates complexity and latency because data must be moved from the OLTP environment to the OLAP environment for analysis. This has led to the development of a new kind of database. In 2014, Gartner coined the term hybrid transaction/analytical processing1, or HTAP, for this new kind of database, which can process both OLTP and OLAP workloads in a single
environment without having to copy the transactional data for analysis.

At the core of InterSystems IRIS is the industry’s only comprehensive, multi-model database that delivers fast transactional and analytic performance without sacrificing scalability, reliability, or security. It supports relational, object-oriented, document, key value, and hierarchical data types, all in a common persistent storage tier.

InterSystems IRIS offers a unique set of features that make it attractive for mission-critical, high-performance transaction management and analytics applications, including:

  • High performance for transactional workloads with built-in guaranteed durability
  • High performance for analytic workloads
  • Lower total cost of ownership

InterSystems IRIS is enabling financial services organizations to process high transactional and analytic workloads concurrently, without compromising either type – using a single platform – with the highest levels
of performance and reliability, even when transaction volumes spike.

Founded in 1978, InterSystems is a privately held company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), with offices worldwide, and its software products are used daily by millions of people in more than 80 countries. For more information, visit: Financial.InterSystems.com

Webinar: Revolutionizing Credit Cards

Webinar: Revolutionizing Credit Cards

Thursday, October 17, 2019 | 2pm EDT | Register now

Technology advancements and the proliferation of consumer apps have created a new customer experience paradigm that is changing how people are using credit cards. Customers expect brand interactions to feel like a dialogue, one that is relevant, timely and personal to them; regardless of whether that’s online or offline.

Watch this webinar to learn more about:

  • The customer experience paradigm shift, from episodes to journeys
  • How to leverage the power of contextual marketing to enhance the cardholder lifecycle
  • How to optimize your cardholder lifecycle management 

Featuring Jason Davies, VP, Enterprise Innovation, FlyBits and Rebecca Engelberg, Marketing Intelligence Manager, FlyBits.

Synthetic Data Can Conquer FinServ’s Fear of Data Security and Privacy

Synthetic Data Can Conquer FinServ’s Fear of Data Security and Privacy

This is a sponsored blog post by Randy Koch, CEO of ARM Insight, a financial data technology company based in Portland, Oregon. Here, he explores what synthetic data is, and why financial institutions should start taking note.

You’ve heard it before – data is invaluable. The more data your company possesses the more innovation and insights you can bring to your customers, partners and solutions. But financial services organizations, which handle extremely sensitive card data and personally identifiable information (PII), face a difficult data management challenge. These organizations have to navigate how to use their data as an asset to increase efficiencies or reduce operational costs, all while maintaining privacy and security protocols necessary to comply with stringent industry regulations like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It’s a tall order.

We’ve found that by accurately finding and converting sensitive data into a revolutionary new category – synthetic data – financial services organizations can finally use sensitive data to maximize business and cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions, without having to worry about compliance, security and privacy.

But first, let’s examine the traditional types of data categorizations and dissect why financial services organizations shouldn’t rely on them to make data safe and usable.

Raw and Anonymous Data – High Security and Privacy Risk

The two most traditional types of data categorization types – raw and anonymous – come with pros and cons. With raw data, all the personally identifiable information (PII) fields for both the consumer (name, social security number, email, phone, etc.) and the associated transaction remain tagged to data. Raw data carries a considerable risk – and institutional regulations and customer terms and conditions mandate strict privacy standards for raw data management. If a hacker or an insider threat were to exfiltrate this type of data, the compliance violations and breach headlines would be dire. To use raw data widely across your organization borders on negligence – regardless of the security solutions you have in place.

And with anonymous data, PII is removed, but the real transaction data remains unchanged. It’s lower risk than raw data and used more often for both external and internal data activities. However, if a data breach occurs, it is very possible to reverse engineer anonymous data to reveal PII. The security, compliance and privacy risks still exist.

Enter A New Data Paradigm – Synthetic Data

Synthetic data is fundamentally new to the financial services industry. Synthetic data is the breakthrough data type that addresses privacy, compliance, reputational, and breach headline risks head-on. Synthetic data mimics real data while removing the identifiable characteristics of the customer, banking institution, and transaction. When properly synthesized, it cannot be reverse engineered, yet it retains all the statistical value of the original data set. Minor and random field changes made to the original data set completely protect the consumer identity and transaction.

With synthetic data, financial institutions can freely use sensitive data to bolster product or service development with virtually zero risks. Organizations that use synthetic data can truly dig down in analytics, including spending for small business users, customer segmentation for marketing, fraud detection trends, or customer loan likelihood, to name just a few applications. Additonally, synthetic data can safely rev up machine learning and artificial intelligence engines with an influx of valuable data to innovate new products, reduce operational costs and produce new business insights.

Most importantly, synthetic data helps fortify internal security in the age of the data breach. Usually, the single largest data security risks for financial institutions is employee misuse or abuse of raw or anonymous data. Organizations can render misuse or abuse moot by using synthetic data.

An Untapped Opportunity

Compared to other industries, financial institutions haven’t jumped on the business opportunities that synthetic data enables. Healthcare technology companies use synthetic data modeled on actual cancer patient data to facilitate more accurate, comprehensive research. In scientific applications, volcanologists use synthetic data to reduce false positives for eruption predictions from 60 percent to 20 percent. And in technology, synthetic data is used for innovations such as removing blur in photos depicting motion and building more robust algorithms to streamline the training of self-driving automobiles.

Financial institutions should take cues from other major industries and consider leveraging synthetic data. This new data categorization type can help organizations effortlessly adhere to the highest security, privacy and compliance standards when transmitting, tracking and storing sensitive data. Industry revolutionaries have already started to recognize how invaluable synthetic data is to their business success, and we’re looking forward to seeing how this new data paradigm changes the financial services industry for the better.

What is the California Consumer Privacy Act and How Should You Prepare?

In this sponsored blog post, Akshatha Kamath, Content Marketing at MoEngage, breaks down new privacy legislation which could impact financial institutions across the states.

Stronger privacy protection and greater data transparency online are growing global trends. The Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the Facebook data of at least 87 million people were misappropriated, and other instances like this have brought attention to how businesses collect, use, and sell consumer data. Concern over the use and misuse of this data is widespread. 

In many global jurisdictions, the response has been privacy legislation which forces businesses to comply with sometimes onerous regulations regarding consumer data and privacy. One of these pieces of legislation is the California Consumer Privacy Act. In its second section it lays out how pervasive privacy concerns have become and how “it is almost impossible to apply for a job, raise a child, drive a car, or make an appointment without sharing personal information.”

All of this data can be great for marketers, but businesses need to comply with privacy laws in order to avoid fines and stay up to date with consumer demand for privacy and data transparency online.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (AB-375)

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) is by far the strongest privacy legislation enacted in the United States at this time. Businesses must be in compliance by January 1, 2020 (the starting date on which the state can bring enforcement actions involving noncompliance).

For marketers there are three major things to be aware of. First is that wherever personal information is collected businesses must disclose what information they collect and how they will use it. Secondly, businesses have to provide consumers with the ability to “opt out” of having their information sold to third parties. Thirdly, businesses must allow consumers to view and delete the information that has been collected about them.

Is My Company Affected by the CCPA?

If your business (or for-profit entity) is located in California and meets any of the following criteria, it has privacy requirements that need to be met under the law. The criteria are:

  • Your business’ annual revenue is over $25 million
  • Your business receives information of over 50,000 consumers, households, or devices annually
  • At least half of your business’ annual revenue comes from selling personal information

The law doesn’t differentiate between brick-and-mortar and online companies. This means that even a company with no physical presence or employees in California could still do business there and therefore has obligations under the law. So your business doesn’t even need to be located in California for the California Consumer Privacy Act to apply to you. Like the GDPR, CCPA will affect businesses outside the law’s jurisdiction.

Consumer’s Rights Under the CCPA

Consumers have new rights under the CCPA that companies need to be aware of. These rights fall into three broad categories:

  1. The Right to Knowledge – Under the CCPA, businesses must allow consumers to obtain, twice per annum at zero cost, all the information that the business has about them, how that information was collected, and who else has been given said information.
  2. The Right to be Forgotten – The CCPA stipulates that consumers must be able to request the deletion of all of their personal information from a company. If the information has been shared with third parties then those parties must also delete said information.
  3. The Right to Control who has Access to their Information -Businesses must allow consumers to be able to opt out of the resale of their information. Consumers under the age of 16 must affirmatively opt in to allow the resale of their data. Consumers under the age of 13 must have written permission from a parent or guardian in order to allow the resale of their data.

What Marketers Need to Do

First of all, marketers need to review their current procedures and understand their policies and procedures regarding the collection, storage and use of subscribers’ data and mailing preferences. They need to know how a user’s preferences about their data can be stored and how documentation would be provided if a user requests it.

Second of all, marketers need to think in the long term about how they set up their systems. For example, even though GDPR only applies to EU visitors, many companies have opted to implement the same higher standards across their entire platform in order to proactively prepare for similar legislations. In the same vein, marketers who prepare for the CCPA will have a leg up if privacy bills that are making their way through the legislature pass in New York, Mississippi, and Massachusetts.

Penalties for Non-Compliance of the CCPA

If, because of a business’ negligence, a consumer’s information is improperly disclosed, the CCPA makes it easier for consumers to sue (even if there is no evidence that the data breach caused the consumer harm!).

What could be very costly for businesses is the potential for class-action lawsuits due to a data breach. Companies could be on the hook for between $100 and $750 per incident (or even more if the actual damages exceed $750).

Conclusion

The California Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Marketers should prepare in advance to make changes to comply with the regulations. At the same time, CCPA presents marketers with an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between consumers and your business. Educate consumers on the data you are collecting and how you make use of it. Be sure to tell them their rights under the CCPA and how you are compliant. This can build trust with consumers and help you use the CCPA to your advantage.