Women in Fintech: Kathleen Craig on the Importance of Financial Literacy

As we approach the end of the summer, we reignite our #WomeninFintech series. We recently spoke with Kathleen Craig, CEO, HTMA creators of Banker Jr. and Plinqit about what inspired her to launch fintech software for banks and credit unions to engage their next generation of customers and why she thinks the future of fintech has to become more relationship driven.

Finovate: How did you start your career?

Kathleen Craig: I have more than a decade of banking and customer service experience. Prior to launching HTMA, I served as Vice President of eServices at a Michigan-based community bank. I studied Business Administration at Eastern Michigan University.

Finovate: What sparked your interest in fintech?

Craig: During my time with eServices in 2010 through 2012, I could see the writing on the wall that our community bank was going to need to compete in the digital arena. At the time the large cores were making this really hard to do. I understood that open banking and open API’s were an inevitability and I wanted to be a part of driving our industry forward to a place where only the largest technology companies could use technology and consumer data to serve $1 billion bank customers better.

Finovate: What prompted you to launch HTMA/Banker Jr etc.?

Craig: My motivation to create HTMA came from my passion for technology, children, and financial literacy. Our first product, Banker Jr. for banks and Member Jr. for credit unions, launched in January 2013 to provide financial education to children while giving institutions the opportunity to tap into their up and coming customer base through a branded platform. The solution is now licensed by financial institutions in nineteen states.

Finovate: Why is it important to teach financial literacy to children?

Craig: Financial education is lacking, especially among the youngest generations, and we are seeing the effects in consumer financial behavior and saving habits. In fact, according to GOBankingRates, over half (58 percent) of American adults do not have $1,000 in their savings accounts to cover emergency expenses, and many are struggling to pay down debt. Forbes reported that 38 percent of United States households carry credit card debt. Just under half (43 percent) of individuals with student loans are not making payments. Additionally, one in three Americans have no money saved for retirement.

Meanwhile, only 16.4 percent of United States students are required to take a personal finance course to graduate high school, however, the group where the biggest lack of financial literacy can be seen is Millennials, with only 24 percent demonstrating basic financial knowledge. This is a serious problem.

Finovate: Why is it important for banks to embrace new tech?

Craig: One of the biggest differentiators for community financial institutions is their customer service and ability to help their community members. However, increasingly people are not walking in the doors, so technology is going to be the best way for them to translate that great customer service to a digital experience. To do this, we are going to have to push for it and be creative and innovative.  Digital lends itself to transactions versus relationships, but we believe it can do both.

Finovate: Where do you think the future of fintech is heading?

Craig: It has to be more relationship driven. While it is great that folks can check balances, deposit checks and transfer money, people really need guidance and help with their money. Right now education and guided experience is not happening yet in fintech. There is a lot of talk about AI, chatbots and data driven tech, but measured successful outcomes that demonstrate a customer is better off having used your platform is what fintechs need to be striving for. The future of fintechs needs to be made up of less buzzwords and more customer results.

Finovate: What piece of advice would you give women starting out their career in finance/ fintech?

Craig: First, you need to do what you are passionate about. Secondly, have great mentors and advocates. The wider and more diverse your circle is the more fun you will have and the more success you will be able to achieve by learning from those you surround yourself with.

Finovate Webinar: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks – Modernizing Print Management in the Age of Privacy

Finovate Webinar: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks – Modernizing Print Management in the Age of Privacy

September 12, 2019 | 2pm Eastern Daylight Time | Register now

Each year billions of documents are produced by the banking industry in the US and Europe. These documents include statements, notices, correspondence, and bills that are essential to managing relationships with customers. However, many banks still rely on legacy print management solutions that cost millions of dollars in maintenance every year, haven’t been updated in over 2 decades, don’t support modern digital access methods like mobile, and most importantly, they don’t conform to modern privacy and security regulations.

Join this #FinovateWebinar with Nuxeo to learn how your peers are modernizing print management in today’s age of privacy. We will cover how to: 

  • Replace expensive printing and posting with digital delivery and a “mobile first” strategy
  • Modernize antiquated and expensive legacy print management solutions
  • Manage and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements, such as GDPR and the California Privacy Act
  • Delivers consistent customer service for the print impaired ensuring compliance with Section 508, AMA, AODA, the UK Equality Act

Featuring

  • Chris McLaughlin, Chief Marketing Officer, Nuxeo
  • Tim Nelms, Vice President International, Crawford Technologies

Register now >>

Webinar: How Next-Generation Data Protection Accelerates Financial Institutions’ Innovation Cycles

Webinar: How Next-Generation Data Protection Accelerates Financial Institutions’ Innovation Cycles

Register for the upcoming #FinovateWebinar with ALTR, Wednesday, 14 August, 11am CT / 12pm ET / 5pm BST

Account holders should be able to trust their bank or credit union to protect their valuable financial data. However, the human presence within complex networks inherently creates privacy and governance vulnerabilities, particularly in the visibility, control, and protection over how, when, and where data is made available to the people who use it every day.
 
Though modern cybersecurity is inherently multi-layered, the deepest layer must include modern data security governance that protects against privileged access and human error.

Join us for this webinar to hear Lou Senko, CIO of Q2, and Doug Wick, VP of Product and Marketing for ALTR, explore how a large, publicly traded financial experience (FinX) company is using innovative solutions to provide the ultimate failsafe to its customers, as well as:

•    Best practices for keeping sensitive financial data safe
•    How to gain transparent visibility and control over your data
•    How blockchain technology can support the restoration of digital trust

Register now >>

Webinar: How to Close the Trust Gap in Retail Banking

Webinar: How to Close the Trust Gap in Retail Banking

Tuesday 30 July | 1pm EDT or 6pm BST

Register for the latest Finovate webinar, in collaboration with Quadient >>

Customer preferences and expectations are rapidly changing. For banks to remain relevant – or better yet – increase their relevance in customer’s eyes, they need to operate from an entirely different CX paradigm. Banks need to orchestrate increasingly complex systems of engagement and support a broad range of use cases along the shop-buy-use continuum. Beyond just sales and marketing, banks must develop and nurture customer relationships flexibly along the entire customer lifecycle with fewer in-person interactions.

In this webinar, Celent’s Bob Meara will review recent consumer research which suggests a significant and tangible gap between transactional and advisory trust among U.S. banked adults.

We will discuss:

  • Defining the Trust Gap in retail banking and illustrate its root causes
  • How leading banks are closing the Trust Gap through redefining the in-person and digital customer experience
  • How banks must re-tool to deliver excellent CX as engagement becomes increasingly digital
  • Practical next steps to take in improving your customers’ trust in your organization, regardless of where you are in your transformational journey

Featuring:

Andrew Stevens
Product Marketing Manager
Quadient

Bob Meara
Senior Analyst
Celent

Register now >>

The Future of Digital Banking and Payments

We’re only halfway through 2019, and it’s already been a big year for fintech. The last few years have given us exciting fintech developments with a lot of potential, and it looks like this is going to be the year where those promising new technologies make the transition to real-world solutions.

And no area of fintech exemplifies this trend more than AI and machine learning. With such a wide variety of applications on show at FinovateSpring, and beyond, it’s clear to see the conversation moving beyond getting started with AI to how to leverage it for best use.

Of course, fintech is about much more than AI, and this issue of the Finovate eMagazine takes more of a deep dive into digital banking and payments, and the technology shaping this particular section of the industry. Read on for a recap of FinovateSpring, insights from some of our exciting speakers, an overview of the 8 companies that the audience selected as Best of Show, and more.

Read it now >>

Experts Look Beyond the Incumbents: Why Smaller Players are Winning

In the world of fintech, you would be forgiven for thinking that all the major developments and collaborations are happening within the four walls of the largest incumbent banks and their startup partners. But, there is a whole world of exciting opportunity and expansion happening within smaller community and challenger banks, as the recent FinovateSpring showed. With an entire stream dedicated to community banking and many more sessions and speakers looking at the potential of SMEs, it was hard to miss the importance of this sector. Here, we catch up with some of the leaders in the space to hear what is exciting them and what they think the future has in store.


Rick Winslow, Chief Experience Officer at Kabbage talks about responsible borrowing behaviors and the importance of being able to provide much smaller lines of credit to small businesses.

Almost half of Americans own or work for a small business, yet they often are not given the priority. We spoke to Karen Mills, Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School and former cabinet member under President Barack Obama as Head of small Business Administration, about how important small business lending is to the health and well-being of businesses and ultimately the economy, and how technology may transform this process.


Jill Castilla, President and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond sits down with Steven Ramirez of Beyond the Arc to talk innovation in community banking, pushing the norms with legacy technology companies, and being organically invested to seek out new opportunities.


Tyler McIntyre, Founder and CTO of Bank Novo and Steven Ramirez, CEO at Beyond the Arc, talk challenger banks and why they’re needed in the current financial services and banking ecosystem.

Women in FinTech: “The Ability to Serve Customers in the Best Manner Possible is Where I Draw Energy.”

As part of our #WomeninFinTech series, we sat down with Kristin Marcuccilli, executive vice president and chief operating officer at STAR Financial Bank.

We talked about her transition from the world of college football to the world of banking and finance, what technology she thinks will lead the way, and why it is important to work with like-minded individuals to drive a business forward.

Finovate: How did you start your career?

Kristin Marcuccilli: STAR Financial Bank is a privately-owned family bank that’s been around for more than 75 years; in fact, my grandfather’s name is the “T” (Thomas) in STAR. Despite this family history, I didn’t always aspire to become a banker. I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and pre-medicine from the University of Notre Dame, and my student work in football operations and player development ultimately led me to my first job in the Notre Dame Football office for three years.  It wasn’t until later that I decided to pursue a master’s degree in business administration and management from Indiana University.

While working toward my master’s degree, I asked my dad about potential opportunities with the bank – though I still was unsure if this was the right path, I became more curious as I progressed in my studies and job experiences. When an opportunity to join the bank arose, I had to follow the same process as anyone else. Our bank has strict rules about family employees: we must work somewhere else for five years first; new positions won’t be created just for family members; and we must pursue an MBA or banking certification to even be considered for a senior management role.

In 2008, I joined the bank as a project manager, and haven’t looked back since. Over the past 11 years, I have worked my way up to chief operating officer, and I now help oversee our technology partnerships, project management efforts, bank operations and strategic direction. During my time at the bank, I’ve helped establish a strategic vision, oversaw a website redesign, helped implement 55 Interactive Teller Machines and have enhanced our digital banking strategy.

Finovate: What sparked your interest in fintech?

Marcuccilli:My interest in fintech stems from the reason I choose to work in community banking – it’s a relationship business, and our team’s involvement in creative thinking that will ultimately help change and influence the way people and businesses interact with their bank is an ever-present and ever-evolving challenge. A passion for fintech calls for an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to embrace failure and change nearly every day. For me, that’s an exciting challenge.

Finovate: What technologies have you seen lately that have excited you?

Marcuccilli: New technology seems to appear overnight. Years from now, we expect that real-time payments will be the norm – no more waiting for money to move overnight or over the course of several days via check. The application of biometrics and advanced analytics for enhanced security will continue to expand and evolve, and artificial intelligence will support personalized customer experience through digital channels. Electronic delivery of documents, signatures and account opening will also likely be dominating a once paper-intensive banking environment. Self-service kiosks will also have advanced to replace much of the standard transaction activity both as in-branch and as standalone options. All of this excites me, as the ability to serve our customers in the best manner possible is where I draw energy.

Finovate: Why is it important for banks to embrace new tech? How is Star Financial Bank doing this?

Marcuccilli: In our rapidly changing industry, banks that are slow to adapt risk falling behind and losing critical business. Bankers have a significant advantage when it comes to building valuable relationships and supporting their local communities, but they must also add modern technology to remain nimble and relevant.

At STAR, we place a strong emphasis on maintaining our community focus while optimizing delivery channels and meeting customers where they are on their financial journey. We take a collaborative approach when evaluating and implementing new technology, starting at the top with our CEO who encourages the team to embrace change.

I am proud to be part of a powerhouse team, working alongside innovators and leaders who dedicate significant time and effort toward studying technology and client behavior to best meet our community’s needs. We have a group of smart, data-driven individuals who ensure our technology and services align with our business and customer demands.

Finovate: Where do you think the future of fintech is heading?

Marcuccilli: Delivery channel optimization (to ensure convenient and engaging customer experience), security threats and payments are all rapidly evolving and will continue to be a major focus in the fintech space. To effectively address these trends, there will be a growing demand and emphasis on the selection of third-party partnerships.  Finding the right technology partner – both a technical and cultural fit – will be important in facilitating the best experience for customers.

Finovate: Why is the #WomeininTech movement important?

Marcuccilli: There is a general lack of female representation in financial services, especially when it comes to the technology side of the house.  As industry professionals, we can help influence this by supporting and encouraging women to join and contribute to the field. Series like these are a powerful way to highlight how women are innovating and making a difference in their local communities through financial services and technology.

Finovate: What piece of advice would you give women starting out their career in finance/ fintech?

Marcuccilli: My advice is to be open to different possibilities within the financial services and fintech space as there are no shortage of opportunities. It’s important to surround yourself with strategic and smart individuals who help build up the team, supporting professional goals and development. I’d also encourage women to become involved in their local communities. Learning and growing from individuals outside of your organization can also be key to professional success. When we commit to staying attuned to business and industry trends and recent developments, we’re able to better support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and growth in our local communities.

Finovate: And what piece of advice do you have for other banks to attract and retain more star female talent?

Marcuccilli: At STAR, we prioritize collaboration and innovation, and that’s been very attractive to top talent. Showing potential employees that the bank cares about exploring new ideas from all levels of the institution, not just from management or the C-suite, can be a powerful differentiator. Institutions that break down silos, encourage cross department collaboration and transparency, and embrace change will find more success in attracting and retaining star female talent.

Webinar: Don’t Disrupt – Avoiding the Dangers of Transformation

Webinar: Don’t Disrupt – Avoiding the Dangers of Transformation

Challenger banks shouldn’t stand a chance. Incumbent banks have tens of millions of customer relationships, decades of risk-management experience, and petabytes of data.


Yet incumbent banks struggle to adapt to rising customer expectations quickly enough. This has encouraged well-funded, design-led, new market entrants to pose serious competitive threats. Incumbents struggle with rapid change because of the legacy systems, silos, and data volumes that exceed human capacity to analyze them.


In pursuit of disruptive innovations, banks have embarked on digital transformation programs and big data projects. But the low odds for success for these initiatives make them dangerous. Seventy percent of digital transformations fail, according to McKinsey. And 60% of big data projects fail, according to Gartner. These are investments with high risks and mostly uncertain return.


Watch this webinar, to learn about a new approach. You will learn how to:
• Leverage legacy systems and understand data across systems and silos
• Turn inhuman amounts of data into information for human decision-makers
• Reduce the cognitive burden on employees so they can use their unique skills
• Increase revenue and cost productivity while reducing risk
• Scale solutions with natural language processing and machine learning

Featuring:

John Finneran
Senior Product Marketing Manager, Financial Services
Sinequa

Finneran is the Senior Product Marketing Manager, Financial Services at Sinequa. He is responsible for go-to-market strategy and designing industry-specific use cases and solutions. Sinequa helps financial institutions become information driven. The platform extracts real-time relevant information and insights from large amounts of data across all formats. R

Analyst All-Stars – Global Fintech: What’s Hot & What’s Not…

At every Finovate, we welcome four leading fintech research analysts to take the stage for seven minutes each to present key opportunities for the future. Take a look back on our most recent set from FinovateSpring 2019 featuring Michelle Evans, Global Head of Digital Consumer Research at Euromonitor International; Jacob Jegher, Senior Vice President, Banking Head of Strategy, Javelin Strategy and Research; Dan Latimore, Senior Vice President, Banking Group, Celent; and Paul Berg, Senior Managing Consultant, Gallup.

Early booking for FinovateSpring 2020 is also now open! Book your tickets now at the lowest possible price!

FinovateSpring 2019: “You have to be at Finovate if you want to be an innovator”

1100+ attendees. 60+ demoers. 120+ speakers. Only at Finovate.

Across 3 main days and one specialist summit day during FinovateSpring 2019, we were joined by hundreds of senior financial and banking executives, venture capitalists, press, industry analysts, bloggers, regulators and entrepreneurs from the Bay Area and beyond to explore fintech’s real-world solutions and share cutting edge insight.

Early booking for FinovateSpring 2020 is now open!  Book your tickets now at the lowest possible price!