Fintech Innovation Expert Jeremy Balkin Joins JP Morgan Chase

Fintech Innovation Expert Jeremy Balkin Joins JP Morgan Chase

Among the more popular members of our regular roster of Finovate speakers is Jeremy Balkin. An expert in retail bank management, fintech innovation, and strategic digital partnerships, Balkin spent six years as Head of Innovation with HSBC USA where he was part of the team that introduced humanoid robot Pepper to HSBC’s flagship Fifth Avenue branch.

So what’s new? Balkin announced today that he has joined JP Morgan Chase & Company as its new Head of Fintech and Innovation for Wholesale Payments. In his new capacity, Balkin will supervise fintech and innovation initiatives for wholesale payments, as well as help advise the company with regards to potential investments and partnerships with companies that can help JP Morgan become more effective in the space. JP Morgan’s wholesale payments business moves $7 trillion every day.

Balkin most recently shared his insights with Finovate audiences last fall as part of FinovateWest Digital. His discussion centered on how financial institutions can use innovations in customer experience to win new customers and better engage current ones. Adding new services, products, and rewards, Balkin argued, is a better strategy for most financial institutions than “the dead-end of price competition”. This customer-centric approach, which embraces fintech innovation, is all the more vital in a world in which Big Tech is effectively leveraging its digital platforms to offer financial services to its increasingly digitally-native customers.

In addition to his public appearances and work with banks and fintechs, Balkin is also an author. His books include Investing with Impact: Why Finance is a Force for Good and Millennialization of Everything: How to Win When Millennials Rule the World. We wish him luck in his new opportunity with JP Morgan Chase and look forward to seeing him on the Finovate stage again soon.

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What You Don’t Know About Device Reputation Tracking- and Other Security Fails

What You Don’t Know About Device Reputation Tracking- and Other Security Fails

In an economy that is taking place increasingly online, the recent boost in fraud has left many banks, fintechs, and retailers underprepared in the fight against bad actors.

In a recent conversation, I spoke with Neustar Senior VP Robert McKay, who offered his perspective on the increase in fraud, the use of device reputation tracking, and steps firms can take to minimize their shortcomings.

Catch us up on the current security landscape in fintech and banking

Robert McKay: The pandemic has forced almost all customer interactions with institutions to digital channels. While it offers a new level of convenience for customers, it has exacerbated an existing problem in these types of interactions – increasing ambiguity for seeking secure, trusted connections across anonymous interactions. Institutions and fintechs that deal with highly sensitive customer information have long struggled to properly authenticate the identities of consumers across these digital channels, and fraudsters have developed savvy methods to skirt some of the most prominent forms of identity authentication.

Trust is at the center of successful fraud mitigation. If you can trust, with a high enough level of confidence, that the person on other end of the device is who they claim to be, then financial institutions and fintechs can reduce friction and improve the experience for legitimate customers while limiting additional verification and fraud-fighting resources to suspicious interactions.

2020 disrupted every subsector of fintech. Talk to us about how it changed the online security realm.

McKay: McKinsey cited that the pre-COVID consumer adoption rates for performing balance inquiries and transactions in the digital channels in the U.S. was at 50% while adoption for more complex activities like new account openings or credit card applications was around 36%. Many institutions and fintechs had to quickly address this as consumer activity shifts boomed across digital channels in a ‘survive-or-die’ approach. The combination of branch closures and an under-preparedness for these digital shifts resulted in spikes in call volumes and wait times, for example.

This disruption also shown a light on the robustness of institution’s authentication processes. Throughout 2020, a commonly used method for mitigating fraud was device behavior analysis using device reputation tracking, which determines whether a device has been linked to fraud in the past. Today, fraudsters can easily bypass this method by constantly rotating out devices they use to commit fraud.

Fintechs and their business customers need to take a more comprehensive approach to consumer authentication, exploring who is behind the device rather than focusing exclusively on the device itself.

Discuss what device reputation tracking is and why it is no longer an acceptable form of fraud prevention.

McKay: Device reputation tracking is a method of fraud mitigation that gathers device fingerprints — a series of device characteristics – and assembles a view of that device’s previous association with fraudulent activity. It’s a simple, yet effective, method to catch basic forms of fraud. However, sophisticated fraudsters know this approach relies on backward-looking data, and avoid it by using multiple ‘burner’ devices to commit fraud. Once they complete their interaction, they’ll abandon that device and use a new device to continue their scam. New devices present a big question mark to device reputation solutions since, without past user data, it cannot indicate whether the new device can be trusted.

Additionally, knowing a device is connected to normal or safe behaviors is also not a failsafe solution. It only takes one time for a device to fall into the wrong hands to open the door to fraud.

What is the easiest way for a firm currently using device reputation tracking or fingerprinting to adapt to a more secure fraud prevention technique?

McKay: To adapt, firms should consider a device-based identity resolution technique that connects the device to what is known about a consumer with persistence, and then observe how this online/offline identity graph is honed through continued observations of digital interactions. These online/offline identity graphs should also draw upon historical behavioral data and device fingerprints as just one source element of a multilayered fraud-prevention approach.

Device-based identity resolution determines not only whether a device has been linked to unsafe behaviors in the past, but also whether the device is likely in the hands of the individual who owns it. Hundreds of signals in an array of combinations provide a clear direction to either proceed with the transaction or seek additional verification from the fraud team.

A robust, layered approach like this incorporates data that cannot be hacked and stops fraud in its tracks.

The digital identity conversation is hotter than ever. What are some new developments in this space that we should be paying attention to?

McKay: Consumers, especially digital natives, have developed high expectations for a frictionless customer experience. When considering fraud-mitigation tools, it is critical to remember that most consumers are not fraudsters. If businesses treat all customers as such, it will increase friction and drive good customers away. To provide a smooth customer experience while simultaneously reducing the risk of fraud, businesses need authoritative identity signals that enable them to accurately evaluate the degree of trust in digital interactions.

As fintechs look to accommodate an increasingly remote customer interaction model, it is even more essential to ensure the person on the other end of the interaction is who they claim to be.

What is the number one way you see financial firms fail in terms of security?

McKay: Firms often scrutinize and treat every interaction as possible fraud. This not only impedes the customer experience, but also spreads already thin fraud resources even thinner, leaving the business scrambling and that much more vulnerable to fraud.

Further impeding sound security and efficient fraud mitigation, many firms fail to make the connections across various customer touchpoints (e.g., digital, call center, in-person) and across different business units (e.g., credit card, retail, insurance) to gain the full view of a customer’s identity.

What is the best way for firms to fix this flaw?

McKay: Firms should seek out an identity resolution organization that can help form an identity graph with a singular view of a consumer against every touchpoint, and implement strong and silent authentication measures to automatically authenticate the great majority of interactions that are legitimate. This will allow firms to focus fraud-fighting resources and warranted consumer friction on the minority of interactions that truly represent potential fraud, instead of applying fraud fighting resources against every call center and digital interaction.

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Dave “The Ambassador” Birch Joins Digital Jersey

Dave “The Ambassador” Birch Joins Digital Jersey

Consult Hyperion’s Global Ambassador – and frequent Finovate keynote speaker – David Birch is bringing his diplomatic talents to Digital Jersey, where he has been named the Fintech Ambassador for the island-based technology hub.

“I’m delighted to take on this role with Digital Jersey,” Birch said in a statement. “After visiting the island many times over the last few years, I have seen first-hand the opportunities provided by the technology and regulatory infrastructure there. This, combined with its world-class connectivity with an agile, innovative mindset, makes Jersey an interesting proposition in the Fintech space. I’m looking forward to working more closely with the DJ team.”

The largest of the islands in the English Channel between England and France, Jersey is home to Digital Jersey, a state-supported economic development agency and association designed to help grow the island’s digital sector. Established in 2013, Digital Jersey offers a co-working space for technology workers (with both hot and dedicated desks), as well as a lab designed specifically for testing IoT solutions, Digital Jersey Xchange (DJX). In addition to promoting sustainable economic growth on the estimated 107,000-person island and creating a “connected, digital society and enhanced quality of life” there, Digital Jersey also seeks to establish itself as a world-renowned digital center.

“Dave has an excellent reputation built through decades of experience,” Digital Jersey CEO Tony Moretta said. “We know he fully understands the unique advantages we have here in Jersey and will help spread the message off-island that we are open for business in the fintech arena.”

Formally known as the Balliwick of Jersey, the 45 square mile island has been the site of a significant amount of technology innovation compared to its larger, neighboring jurisdictions. Jersey was a pioneer in bringing full-fiber broadband to every home and, in 2016, the Jersey Financial Services Commission, was among the first jurisdictions in the world to implement a virtual currency regime.

Hear David Birch talk more about Jersey and fintech innovation. And check out our most recent conversation with “The Ambassador”, discussing one of his most commonly-requested topics: banks, digital identity, and the challenge of Big Tech.

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Deciens Capital’s Dan Kimerling on Seed Funding and Emerging Fintech

Deciens Capital’s Dan Kimerling on Seed Funding and Emerging Fintech

I came across Dan Kimerling while chasing down the latest investment insights from Cathie Wood, whose ARK investment funds have been among the most sought-after, best-performing funds for the past few years. Dedicated explicitly to the most disruptive companies in the most disruptive sectors of the economy, Wood’s ARK funds are an interesting place to look when trying to learn about those companies that could become the next Amazon, or the next Tesla.

One of the people ARK’s analysts have turned for insight into disruption in the fintech industry specifically is Dan Kimerling, co-founder and Managing Partner of Deciens Capital. As Kimerling explained in an interview from last fall, he realized early in his career that there were “incredible” venture capital funds involved in fintech and “incredible” venture capitalists involved in seed funding, but “there’s nothing at that intersection of fintech early stage capital.”

He added, “… and where there is capital, it rarely will lead financings. A lot of them will be follow-on financings or if they are angels or smaller managers, they are not in a position to lead rounds.” He said that if Deciens stood for one thing, it’s leading seed rounds in fintech companies in the United States.

What has Kimerling’s attention as we move into 2021? As someone who saw back in 2012 that open APIs were the future of banking, Kimerling now underscores three factors that will drive fintech evolution in the coming years. These include what he calls “the scope of the prize” – fintech’s massive opportunity as 20% of GDP – as well as the rise of embedded finance which will enable more companies to participate and compete in financial services, driving competition and innovation.

Perhaps most interesting is the one factor Kimerling called “the most exciting”: the development of a cultural “context where smart ambitious professionals, especially early career professionals, feel like working on innovative businesses is a socially acceptable career trajectory.”

Check out his conversation with ARK Invest’s Max Friedrich and George Whitridge (currently of Graham Capital Management) from October 2020.

Launched in 2012, Deciens Capital supports early-stage companies in a wide range of fintech areas including payments, lending, insurance, regtech, and financial wellness. Among the firm’s portfolio companies are Chipper Cash – which raised more than $44 million in funding last year – Funding University, and Finovate alum True Link Financial.

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Fintech’s Challenge: Enabling Technology to Empower Humanity

Fintech’s Challenge: Enabling Technology to Empower Humanity

Our keynote speaker series has been a major feature in the transformation of Finovate from a demo-only showcase to its current incarnation as a digital-friendly, intellectual marketplace for fintech insight and thought leadership, as well.

With a new set of digital and in-person events planned for 2021, we wanted to take a quick look back at some of the speakers who have provided some of the most unique insights into the nexus of finance, technology, and society over the past year. Stay tuned for big announcements this month on what we’ve got in store!

Steven Van Belleghem, author of Customers The Day After Tomorrow

Providing a special address at FinovateEurope just over a year ago, Belleghem took attendees on a fun and insightful journey that looked at how enabling technologies – from 4G and social media – have forced businesses to reconsider the nature of customer service. And with even more powerful enabling technologies like quantum computing and AI right around the corner, he suggested further disruptions to and opportunities in the relationship between customers, businesses, and the products and services they provide are almost assured.

Interestingly, Belleghem points to a new relationship – B2A or business-to-assistant – that will actually make it easier for all parties to negotiate this new, more personalized, but more complex and challenging e-commerce experience. But even as he sees the consumer taking a less active role in everyday financial decision-making, Belleghem still sees human nature behind the wheel. “It’s not going to just be technology that drives new customer expectations,” he said, “it is also going to be personal dreams and wishes, and also the challenges the world will be facing.”

Pablos Holman, Futurist, Founder of Turing AI

“Please crawl out your window,” folk singer Bob Dylan once crooned. “Use your arms and legs, they won’t ruin you.” A similar sentiment was at the center of the keynote address by futurist and founder of Turing AI, Pablos Holman. Speaking at our first all-digital fintech conference, FinovateFall Digital, back in September, Holman urged his audience to focus on solutions to real problems and to avoid the comfort zone of the tried and true. “Nobody has ever invented a new technology by reading the directions,” Holman noted.

For fintechs specifically, Holman – who is also an Inventor with the Intellectual Ventures Lab – urges two strategies. First he encourages startups to see bank partnerships as a way to understand more clearly the needs of financial institutions and their customers. Second, Holman bluntly recommends “running a lot of experiments” to ensure that you remain open to often-overlooked solutions that might actually work best.

Nancy Giordano, strategic futurist and TEDx curator

In her keynote opening address at FinovateWest Digital, Navigating the Big Shift – How Exponential Technologies are Changing … Everything, Nancy Giordano highlighted the fact that as we are struggling to keep up with rapid technological change, we must be vigilant to the pitfalls of becoming paralyzed in the face of it.

For businesses, the strategic futurist cautions against the temptation to “not make decisions,” encouraging them instead to be readier to “act dynamically” in the face of uncertainty. A little over a generation ago, it was the political that became personal. Increasingly, Giordano observed, it is the professional that is becoming personal. And technology is playing a major part in making this happen.

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Enlightenment from a Conversation with a Futurist

Enlightenment from a Conversation with a Futurist

Most of us probably don’t spend our entire workday thinking about what the future holds. Fortunately, there are a handful of people who specialize as futurists, studying what’s next for humanity.

I had the opportunity to pick the brain of one such person, Nancy Giordano, last week after watching her keynote presentation at FinovateWest.

In our conversation, Giordano explains the four awakenings shaping our future, describes the productivity revolution, and examines the meaning of leadership vs. what she calls leadering. She also takes a look at COVID’s impact on the future and offers up practical next-steps for both companies and individuals.

Check out our conversation below to hear her thoughts:

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The Importance of Innovation in Customer Experience

The Importance of Innovation in Customer Experience

With 2021 right around the corner, we’re taking one last look at a year we will remember for a long time.

The Finovate Fintech Fulltime Review kicks off next week with a free, all-digital, live and on-demand showcase of webinars, white papers, eMagazines and more – all designed to make sense out of a year that was in many ways both tragic and transformative. The event begins Monday, December 7 and runs through Friday, December 11.

Among the features of next week’s event worth highlighting is our interactive conversation: Don’t Let Your Contact Center Be the Black Sheep of Your Bank’s Innovation. This live webinar with Mike Straham, VP of Contact Center Solutions with Lifesize, will explain the role of the bank contact center in the overall customer experience and why it is critical for banks to innovate in this space.

A customer experience specialist, Straham has more than 20 years of experience identifying and implementing advanced software technologies to reduce costs, increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction, and create new revenue streams. He joined Lifesize earlier this year after tenures at Talkdesk, Genesys, and Interactive Intelligence.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Lifesize specializes in providing video conferencing and collaboration solutions. In October, the company announced a strategic partnership with Omilia, a conversational AI solution provider. Over the summer, Lifesize acquired U.K.- and Silicon Valley, California-based digital collaboration solutions company Kaptivo.

Also featured next week during our Finovate Fintech Fulltime Review is our conversation with Quadient: Digital Overload: What Do Customers Want Now Besides Emergency Zoom Installations and Contactless Payments?

Led by Quadient’s Andrew Stevens, Principal for Banking and Financial Services, and moderated by Celent Senior Banking Analyst Craig Focardi, this interactive webinar will discuss how to maintain a true focus on the customer experience in the middle of rapid technological change and disruption.

Stevens is a customer experience and communications experts who has worked with and executed transformation programs for institutions across the world. His experience in both technology and banking/finance gives him unique insights into the challenges that financial institutions face today in meeting the needs of ever-more-demanding customers.

Quadient is an international customer experience solution provider specializing in customer experience management, business process automation, mail-related solutions, and parcel locker solutions. Headquartered in Bagneux, France, Quadient includes Societe Generale, Humana, FedEx Express, and Ping An Bank among its customers.

To learn about all we have in store for next week’s Finovate Fintech Fulltime Review, check out our event hub for more information.

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InterSystems on Navigating Data in the Fintech Landscape

InterSystems on Navigating Data in the Fintech Landscape

The topic of data is one that pulses throughout conversations in the fintech industry. No matter what sub-sector you’re working in, it’s likely you faced the challenge– or are facing the challenge– on how to manage, store, and interpret data of all types.

I recently spoke with Joe Lichtenberg, Director of Industry Marketing at InterSystems, one of our FinovateWest sponsors. During our conversation, Lichtenberg spoke about recent trends he is seeing within financial services, the technology that is driving those trends, and how data is playing a role.

Be sure to catch InterSystems’ keynote on Monday, November 23 at 2:15 pm Pacific time. In his discussion, Jeff Fried, Director of Product Management for InterSystems, will be detailing seven steps to implementing machine learning in financial services. Finovate Analyst David Penn highlighted Fried’s session earlier this fall in a post titled, Giving AI and Machine Learning the Business.

FinovateWest’s Investor All Star Panel on Tomorrow’s Fintech Trends

FinovateWest’s Investor All Star Panel on Tomorrow’s Fintech Trends

What trends are likely to drive fintech funding in 2021? Which sectors in fintech are most likely to produce the next fintech unicorn or the next big fintech IPO? What are the key factors that startups and entrepreneurs need to keep in mind when it comes to securing investment, driving growth, and developing constructive partnerships with fellow fintechs and industry incumbents?

In less than two weeks our Investor All Star Showcase at FinovateWest Digital will answer all these questions and more. Featuring five professionals involved in helping fintech startups get the capital they need, our Investor All Star Showcase is a must-attend event at a conference you won’t want to miss.

Check out our All Star Quintet below.

Joel Brightfield, Principal, SixThirty. Brightfield leads the investment activities of SixThirty, a global early stage venture capital fund and go-to-market program.

Andrew Casey, Director of Corporate Development, Fidelity Investments. Casey is involved with organic growth opportunities focused on investments and acquisitions.

Isabelle Freidheim, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Starwood VC. Freidheim is a fintech venture capital investor and repeat fintech entrepreneur. She invests in high growth fintechs in the U.S. and, previously, in Europe.

Arvind Purushotham, Global Head, Venture Investing, Citi Ventures. Purushotham leads Citi’s efforts to invest in and partner with startups as a way to bring technology-based innovation to Citi’s businesses.

Greg Shepard, Founder and CEO, BOSS Capital Partners. Shepard is an upcoming author and angel investor with a legacy of building and running sustainable growth businesses.

Moderated by Ansaf Kareem of Lightspeed Venture Partners, our Investor All Star panel at FinovateWest Digital will give you a 30,000 foot view of the critical trends in fintech going forward, as well as a look at the availability of capital in a post-COVID world.

To save your spot at our upcoming, all-digital event, November 23 through November 25, visit our FinovateWest Digital hub today. Take advantage of big savings if your register this week!

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BigTech, Partnerships, and the Evolution of the Fintech Ecosystem

BigTech, Partnerships, and the Evolution of the Fintech Ecosystem

The growing presence of BigTech in the fintech ecosystem is one of the stories of 2020 that will likely be among the top stories of 2021, as well. As companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft look to fintech for new markets and opportunities to innovate, how will their relationship with the fintech ecosystem evolve and change?

For a few answers to this and other questions, check out our interview with Microsoft’s Sandeep Mangaraj and Tom Feher, industry executives, Digital Transformation, Financial Services. Both Mangaraj and Feher participated in our all-digital fintech conference, FinovateFall Digital, in September.

What is the value of partnership as BigTech becomes more involved in fintech?

Mangaraj: Microsoft leads with partners. That’s been true throughout our history and especially given what we are facing now, all the uncertainty and challenges that our partners are facing. I don’t see that changing. Our partners were quick to respond to what happened with COVID. They leveraged the power of our platform, and they were there immediately with creative and innovative solutions.

That has been the story of Microsoft. What is it that we provide? We have a secure, compliant, scalable platform that they can innovate on, and we are here to help them and support them, and make sure that they take advantage of the full power of what we offer, what they offer, and what our other partners offer, to take to their clients.

Feher: Partners are key to our success. We have several programs to help incubate and expand our fintech ecosystem. This includes everything from Microsoft for Startups, a program that assists startups in building solutions on our platform, to our M12 Ventures program that invests in a portfolio of fintechs in the industry. We also have our worldwide partner organization that focuses on strategic alliances and partnerships with fintechs that enable us to bring net new solutions to market on our platform that accelerate our clients’ innovation and well as helping them drive business outcomes.

Watch the rest of the conversation. And for more from our FinovateFall Digital speakers, check out our Finovate TV YouTube playlist.

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George Anderson on What You Don’t Know About Open Banking

George Anderson on What You Don’t Know About Open Banking

When we saw Ninth Wave Founder and CEO George Anderson’s keynote presentation at FinovateFall titled, “Open Banking: Ignore at Your Own Peril,” we wondered what else the tech industry is missing about the topic.

After the event, we tracked him down to ask him a few questions about what we’re missing about open banking and where the U.S. stands on the path to an open banking paradise.

When it comes to open banking, there’s a lot of terminology out there: open banking vs open finance, for example. What’s the difference?

Open banking is often viewed as a set of regulations and government-mandated standards (e.g., U.K. Open Banking, PSD2 in the E.U.) and usually describes the consumer-permissioned exchange of financial account and transaction data. I see open banking as a basic “check-the-box” feature for financial institutions.

Open finance represents a broader paradigm shift. Anything we can do by walking into a bank branch, calling our financial advisor, or logging into the bank app, we should be able to do from any app, software, or online service. Open finance is the natural extension of open banking and as such can be a strong differentiating factor for financial institutions.

What is one thing most fintechs don’t know about open banking?

One thing many fintech firms don’t realize is that, when using an aggregator or other API service, they will pay fees to get data they can get for free by integrating directly with the banks. While it’s currently not practical for smaller fintechs to do that, the move towards a standardized API – such as the FDX API standard – will make this more and more feasible. Why pay fees for data you can get for free?

A close second would be for fintechs to try and step into the shoes of the bank. This could make their business model more successful in the long run and also face less resistance from data providers. Questions entrepreneurs should ask themselves include: How does the bank perceive what I am offering? Can we find a win-win situation for the bank by adding value for them in some way?

What is one thing most banks don’t know about open banking?

Many financial institutions (FIs) still see open banking as a threat to their traditional business model. I think that’s a shortsighted view. I believe that banks that embrace open finance will be able to reinforce the “trusted advisor” relationship with their customers and also leverage third-party integrations as a true differentiator from other financial institutions.

Open finance API platforms, such as the Ninth Wave Platform, allow customers to securely share their data, integrate their bank accounts with third-party software, and most importantly, act on this data. This means that customers can initiate payments from non-bank-owned applications. Banks can regain control by having the necessary tools to securely and transparently manage data exchange with fintech applications, aggregators, and other third parties.

Without specific governmental regulation, do you think it’s possible for all banks, fintechs, and consumers to be on the same page when it comes to open banking?

On the surface, it would appear that banks, fintechs, and consumers have different viewpoints and interests. While I agree it’s really a tall order, I think it is possible to get all market participants aligned on open banking since they all realize that customer security and privacy must come first and foremost. Without these, the ecosystem completely breaks down.

The Financial Data Exchange (FDX), of which we are a member and contributor, is a group of ~150 companies, consumer, and industry groups which are developing and promoting a common, interoperable, and royalty-free data sharing standard. This includes banks, aggregators, fintechs, as well as other companies that provide or request financial data. The FDX working groups contributing to the standard have balanced representation of interests from members.

Having said all that, regulation may not be that far off, as indicated by the recent CFPB “pre” ANPR (Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) on Section 1033 of the Dodd Frank Act.

The Open Banking Implementation Entity recently unveiled that over two million U.K. residents now use open banking. What will it take for the U.S. to reach that point?

While the U.S. may not have a government agency tracking users of “Open Banking”, I believe the U.S. is already at or beyond that level of utilization. Earlier this year, the Financial Data Exchange said that nearly 12 million end consumers have been transitioned away from screen scraping since 2018. This has been achieved mainly by large organizations embracing stronger security and data access methods, such as APIs, to reduce or eliminate screen scraping. I also believe the U.S. is leading with open finance initiatives – which go well beyond the definition of open banking – and have seen immense adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic. Embracing open finance will allow the U.S. and U.S. institutions to lead global adoption.

Sometimes the open banking conversation can feel like a battle between banks and fintechs! Where does the end customer fit in and how can firms consider their needs?

This is a great question and one I very much enjoy speaking about. I’ve watched this ecosystem evolve for longer than I care to admit. While Ninth Wave officially launched in 2018, the experience of our team is unmatched in this space.

The one constant I’ve been seeing is the perceived tug-of-war between banks and fintechs. Predominantly, I see three groups of players. First is the consumer or account owner, next comes the financial institutions, and third are the apps a consumer wishes to use and the aggregators/API players that connect fintech apps to financial institution account data.

Everyone needs to understand that the data belongs to the account holder. Period. Once you acknowledge and embrace that, it becomes much easier to understand the customer, meet their needs, and protect them.

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Google, 21st Century Branch Banking, and the Power of the Platform

Google, 21st Century Branch Banking, and the Power of the Platform

This year, FinovateFall Digital brought representatives from some of technology’s biggest players to our all-digital stage. One of these individuals was Paul Rohan, Solutions Consultant with Google Cloud.

Rohan’s presentation on the future of banking showed a connection between the evolution of branch banking and the necessary changes banking will need to undergo in order to thrive in the 21st century. He also discussed the changing nature of competition in financial services brought on by trends like open banking.

Check out our interview with Rohan ahead of his FinovateFall Digital presentation last month.

On the current state of open banking and PSD2

This is a major change in mindset because you start to realize that you could have the very best banking product with superb features and brilliant pricing. But if it’s not a part of these connected digital experiences across multiple brands that customers are increasingly demanding, it could fail. And you could have a middle of the road, not the best financial product, with not the best prices and not the best features. But, boy, if it pops up with the right context, with the right personalization, and the right customization – in these connected digital experiences – it could be a tremendous success.

On open banking as 21st century branch banking

Why did unit banks fall away and then branch banking become the norm? Because it didn’t matter how superb the staff were in the one branch you had, or how wonderful the customer experience was once they came into the branch, or how fast the decision-making was because everyone in your bank was in that one location. But if your one branch was in the wrong town, or beside the wrong industries, as things changed, it didn’t matter how wonderful the user experience was … In essence, (branch banking) started to allow customers to begin their customer journey with the bank where they were living their lives or where they did business.

On the difference between pursuing an app strategy versus a platform strategy as a financial services provider.

The sociology is quite different. In a traditional enterprise that’s quite reliant on doing everything themselves, and there’s always a human desire to innovate and serve your customers, if you do something clever to serve your customers, there is a big round of applause: “This is exactly what we should be doing.”

Companies that are immersed in the connected experiences of digital ecosystems (are) all about trying to make your partners clever. Enable them to be clever because they’ll do the customization, they’ll do the personalization. So there’s a huge amount of thought that goes into taking friction and difficulty out of your partner’s ability to deal with you, and to extend your brand and your proposition into segments you don’t want to serve yourself directly or you couldn’t serve yourself directly.

Watch the rest of the conversation. And for more from our FinovateFall Digital speakers, check out our Finovate TV YouTube playlist.