A Passionate Mindset and Superior Execution: A Conversation with BM Technologies’ Luvleen Sidhu

A Passionate Mindset and Superior Execution: A Conversation with BM Technologies’ Luvleen Sidhu

Is there a better person to lead a conversation about bold leadership in fintech than Luvleen Sidhu? Chair, founder, and CEO of BM Technologies, Sidhu was the youngest female founder and CEO to take a company public when her firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange at the beginning of the year.

“I am proud to see BM Technologies take this historic step and enter the public markets,” Sidhu said in January. “We are delighted to be one of the first neo banking fintechs to go public. We are also EBITDA positive today, which serves to set us apart from other neo banking fintechs in the market.”

Formerly known as BankMobile, BM Technologies currently has more than two million account holders, and provides disbursement services at 700+ college campuses in the U.S., reaching one out of every three students in the country. The BaaS innovator was among the fintechs to earn recognition at the recently announced Finovate Awards, taking home top honors in the Best Fintech Partnership category for its collaboration with T-Mobile.

Beyond the Arc’s Steven Ramirez hosted a fireside chat with Luvleen Sidhu as part of the FinovateFall conference in New York last week. Below are a few excerpts from their conversation.

On what it takes to be a bold leader today

For me, being a bold leader really comes down to a few key things that, in my opinion, a bold leader would demonstrate. So that is being able to have a compelling and unique and unifying vision and purpose. (It is) being able to get people to buy into that, to be energized by that, committed to that. (It is also) being able to have superior execution, because you can have a great idea and be in the clouds, but unless you are working on improving, iterating, and being agile and adaptive to the times, you’re not going to succeed.


On the inspiration behind her company’s “bold bet” in 2016

We launched in 2015 as a direct-to-consumer strategy – like the Chimes, the Varos, the N26s of the world are doing now. We found out pretty early on that our pillar of being able to have a profitable, sustainable model as fast as possible wasn’t happening. The CAC was really high. We weren’t getting the sort of engagement and direct deposit customers which are critical in banking to actually get. So we took a bold bet in 2016 where we took a B2B2C approach and started implementing banking as a service, which is our strategy today.


On practicing bold leadership on an individual level

I think it’s contagious. When you’re bringing that innovative sort of passionate mindset and energy to work, then you engender that with everyone that you work with. It creates this ripple effect and you get others to buy in and work with you and you create a lot of tremendous momentum from that. I think it’s (important to) remain keen to continuous learning. This space is moving so fast. We can’t rest on our laurels for more than six months (before) you’ve got to innovate again. And so it’s people that make sure that they’re looking at what their customers are saying – and responding to that – but also looking at the competitive environment, how is it changing, how is it evolving … (That’s) how you remain competitive in the space.

Check out the rest of Luvleen Sidhu’s Fireside Chat: Why We Need Bold Leadership More Than Ever Before from FinovateFall 2021.

FinovateFall eMagazine

FinovateFall eMagazine

The future of finance is being ushered in. And the pioneers of the new era lead the change from the FinovateFall stage this year. 

We can’t tell you how exciting it was to welcome so many people back to Manhattan. It was made even sweeter by the fact that we were able to engage so many digital attendees at the same time. It felt good to be able to bring our community together again!

Following the long-anticipated meeting of minds and ideas, we looked back on the themes that emerged and will steer the industry forward into unchartered territory. It’s impossible, of course, to distill so many conversations down to a few high-level takeaways. However, within these pages are snippets and insights from on-and-off-stage to give you a taste of the action and a spark of the knowledge shared. 

Download the latest Finovate eMagazine from FinovateFall to get access to:

  • Insight from Finovate’s resident analysts on the top trends from the event and beyond
  • Thought leadership from Finovate’s Headline Sponsor, InterSystems 
  • The Best of Show demo videos
  • The Finovate Awards winners
  • Expert opinion on the elements of a super app, consumer risk modeling innovations, and more 

Download now >>

Welcome to Day Three of FinovateFall 2021!

Welcome to Day Three of FinovateFall 2021!

After two days of live demos from innovative fintechs and financial services companies, today is a day dedicated to discussing the key themes and critical issues facing our industry today.

From our Investor All-Stars presentations to our special focus tracks on Future Tech, Future Payments, SME and Consumer Lending, and Digital Transformation, Day Three of FinovateFall gives us the opportunity to put two day’s worth of fintech innovation into context – and to turn that context into action: to grow and evolve, to improve ROI, and to change the customer experience for the better.

Thank you for spending the week with us here at FinovateFall. Here is the agenda for today. All times Eastern.

8:15am – 9:00am | Registration, Breakfast, and Networking

9:00am – 9:05am | Welcome from Finovate

9:05am – 9:35am | Investor All-Stars

9:35am – 9:50am | Mastermind Keynote featuring Jon Curtis of Samsung Electronics America

9:50am – 10:40am | Seven in Seven: 7 Expert Speakers Tackle Top Issues in Fintech

10:40am – 11:10am | Networking Break

11:10am – 11:25am | Special Address: The Growth of In-Car Intelligent Assistants

11:25am – 11:40am | Mastermind Keynote: The Future of Digital Identity is NOW

11:40am – 12:05pm | Five in Five: 5 Expert Speakers Tackle Top Issues in Fintech

12:05pm – 1:05pm | Lunch and Networking Break

1:05pm – 2:25pm | Finovate Focus Tracks

  • Future Tech
    • Fireside Chat: Digital Currencies, Diem, Central Bank Digital Currencies & Blockchain – Are Digital Currencies & Blockchain Finally Gaining Traction with FIs?
    • Mastermind Keynote featuring Nick Mates of Lendr
    • Keynote Address: Harnessing AI to Improve Efficiencies, Increase Margins, and Prevent Fraud
    • Power Panel: The Conversational AI Market is Expected to Reach a $14 Billion Valuation by 2025 – How Can You Leverage It to Deliver ROI-Driving CX?
  • Future Payments
    • Mastermind Keynote: Creating a Winning Cardholder Experience
    • Fireside Chat: The Need for Speed – Where Next with Faster Payments?
    • Keynote Address: eCommerce and Post-Pandemic Priorities
    • Power Panel: How Will New Technologies, New Competitors, and New Business Models Shape the Future of Payments? Is Payments Orchestration About to Have its Moment?

2:25pm – 4:00pm | Finovate Focus Tracks

  • Digital Transformation
    • Keynote Address: Customer Insights – Sharing Real Life Examples of Best Practices in CX and How to Blend Human and Digital CX
    • Keynote Address: Financial Services Digital Transformation: Embracing the Next Generation of Technology
    • Power Panel: How Open Innovation & Strategic Partnerships Can Help You On Your Digital Transformation Journey
  • SME & Consumer Lending
    • Keynote Address: PPP Loans – How Community Banks Rose to the Occasion & What Lessons Can We Learn from Their Success?
    • Mastermind Keynote: Onboard at the Speed of Digital – Flatten Silos, Fuel Lending, and Regain Control
    • Power Panel: Lending 2.0 – What Are the Problems that Need to Be Solved for Consumers & SMEs in the New COVID-19 World?

4:00pm – 4:05pm | Close of FinovateFall 2021

Welcome to Day Two of FinovateFall 2021!

Welcome to Day Two of FinovateFall 2021!

“Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome …” to Day Two of FinovateFall 2021!

From the smiles on the faces of the hundreds who joined us yesterday at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square to the thunderous applause that greeted virtually every demoing company and keynote speaker, yesterday was a wonderful reminder of both how much we missed hosting live events and how much so many of you have enjoyed attending them.

Today on Day Two we plan to keep the momentum going with another full day of fintech demos, insightful keynotes, and fireside chats. And to finish off the day – in addition to our Best of Show Awards Ceremony – we’re hosting a quartet of free-wheeling, no-holds-barred, Champagne Executive Boardroom sessions held under Chatham House Rules. With topics ranging from New Technology and Fighting Financial Crime to Open Banking and how to take advantage of “the Single Biggest Wealth Transfer in History,” these cocktail-hour sessions are not to be missed.

Here’s the schedule for today. All times Eastern Standard.

8:00am – 8:50am | Registration, Breakfast, and Networking

8:50am – 8:55am | Welcome from Finovate

8:55am – 10:20am | Demo Session #1

10:20am – 10:35am | Mastermind Keynote: The Transformative Role of AI in Financial Services

10:35am – 10:50am | Fireside Chat: The Platform Economy is Coming – How Much of a Threat Are the Tech Giants to Incumbents?

10:50am – 11:20am | Networking Break

11:20am – 11:35am | Mastermind Keynote: Accelerating Innovation in Financial Services with Unqork and InterSystems

11:35am – 12:45pm | Demo Session #2

12:45pm – 1:30pm | Lunch & Networking Break

1:30pm – 1:45pm | Mastermind Keynote: AI-First Digital Engineering for Financial Services

1:45pm – 2:45pm | Demo Session #3

2:45pm – 3:15pm | Networking Break

3:15pm – 3:30pm | Mastermind Keynote: Open Banking – Powering the Future SME Marketplace

3:30pm – 4:30pm | Demo Session #4

4:30pm – 4:45pm | Fireside Chat: Why We Need Bold Leadership More Than Ever Before

4:45pm – 6:15pm | Networking Reception with cocktails & appetizers

  • Champagne Executive Boardroom Sessions 4:45pm
  • Best of Show Awards Ceremony 5:30pm

6:15pm – 6:20pm | Close of Day 2

Welcome to Day One of FinovateFall 2021!

Welcome to Day One of FinovateFall 2021!

The day we’ve been waiting for is here. After more than a year and a half of all-digital events, Finovate is LIVE!

With more than 75 innovative fintechs scheduled to demo their latest technologies and 1,100+ registered attendees (900+ in person), we could not be more excited for the start of FinovateFall this year.

Our return to the live stage begins bright and early Monday morning and continues through Wednesday afternoon with live demos, dynamic panel discussions, and keynote addresses from some of fintech’s most insightful and accomplished analysts and entrepreneurs.

For those who are joining us in New York at the Marriott Marquis Times Square, we look forward to seeing you in person this week. We also want to assure you that we take the challenges of COVID-19 seriously, and have taken a number of steps to comply with local guidelines and requirements to provide the safest possible environment for this week’s event.

To this end, please review our FinovateFall 2021 At-Event Safety FAQ, which provides information on vaccination requirements, masking policy, and other additional measures we are following.

And if you can’t make it here, you can still enjoy Finovate anywhere you’ve got an internet connection via our Digital Pass offering.

However you plan to join us, here are the essentials for Day One of FinovateFall 2021 that all attendees – in-person and virtual – need to know. All times Eastern Standard.

8:00am – 8:50am | Registration, Breakfast, and Networking

8:50am – 8:55am | Welcome from Finovate

8:55am – 10:20am | Demo Session #1

10:20am – 10:35am | Mastermind Keynote: Why Three Decades of Cybersecurity Advances Still Don’t Protect Our Data

10:35am – 11:05am | Networking Break

11:05am – 11:25am | Analyst All Stars: How Financial Services Have Been Changed Forever

11:25am – 12:50pm | Demo Session #2

12:50pm – 1:40pm | Lunch and Networking Break

1:40pm – 2:10pm | Women in Fintech Power Panel: Paving the Way for the Next Generation of Female Founders and Executives

2:10pm — 3:25pm | Demo Session #3

3:25pm – 3:55pm | Networking Break

3:55pm – 4:10pm | Mastermind Keynote: What Are The Key Questions to Ask When Evaluating Neobanks?

4:10pm – 5:10pm | Demo Session #4

5:10pm – 6:45pm | Networking Reception with cocktails and appetizers

Live From New York, It’s the FinovateFall 2021 Keynote Speakers!

Live From New York, It’s the FinovateFall 2021 Keynote Speakers!

FinovateFall 2021 is right around the corner (Monday, September 13th through Wednesday, September 15th). That means there’s no better time than the present to pick up your ticket and save your spot as Finovate returns to New York City for its first live fintech conference in more than a year.

We’ve already shared a ton of Sneak Peeks into the innovative technologies our demoing companies will have on display next week. To further whet your appetite, here’s a quick look at some of the keynote speakers and fireside chatters who will share their insights on the hottest topics in fintech.


Monday

Why Three Decades of Cybersecurity Advanced Still Don’t Protect Our Data – Monday, 9.13.21, 10:20am

What Are The Key Questions to Ask When Evaluating Neobanks? – Monday, 9.13.21, 3:55pm


Tuesday

The Transformative Role of AI in Financial Services – Tuesday, 9.14.21, 10:20am

The Platform Economy is Coming – How Much of a Threat are the Tech Giants to Incumbents? – Tuesday, 9.14.21, 10:35am

Accelerating Innovation in Financial Services with Unqork and InterSystems – Tuesday, 9.14.21, 11:20am

AI-First Digital Engineering for Financial Services – Tuesday, 9.14.21, 1:30pm

  • Ajay Krishna – Senior Vice President of Data and Analytics, Finicity, a Mastercard Company. LinkedIn.

Open Banking: Powering the Future SME Marketplace – Tuesday, 9.14.21, 3:15pm

Why We Need Bold Leadership More Than Ever Before – Tuesday, 9.14.21, 4:30pm


Wednesday

Wednesday, 9.15.21, 8:50am

  • John Curtis – Vice President and General Manager, B2B Mobile, Samsung Electronics America. LinkedIn.

Wednesday, 9.15.21, 9:35am

The Growth of In-Car Intelligent Assistants – Wednesday, 9.15.21, 11:10am

The Future of Digital Identity is NOW – Wednesday, 9.15.21, 11:25am


Photo by Monica Silvestre from Pexels

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

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.

What’s Driving the Fintech Ecosystem?

The fintech space is filled with new players bringing to market new innovations and solutions to old business and consumer problems, as well as traditional businesses looking to develop in-house innovation teams and partner with start-ups. But what they both have in common is a desire to meet and exceed changing customer demands, make financial services more accessible and user-friendly, and keep up with the fast-paced technological advances. During FinovateFall, we sat down with the experts on the ground to ask them about what’s driving the fintech ecosystem where they work.

Andrew Boyajian, Head of Banking, North America, Transferwise on overcoming regulatory challenges to launch a global product.

Neeraj Arora, Global Head of Decision Science and Data Automation – Personal Insurance at AIG on the importance of an innovation branch in the business and why they should work hand-in-hand with start-ups.

David Snitkof, Head of Data Integration & Insights at Kabbage discusses leveraging data and why it should be more than just plugging in some numbers to get an output.

Christian Zimmerman, Co-founder & CEO, Qoins on the pain points which lead him to Qoins and what the future has in-store for crowd-funding to pay back loans.

Alyson Clarke, Principal Analyst, Forrester on the three components for a quality customer experience.

Analyst All-Stars: What’s Hot in Fintech?

During Finovate Fall 2018, leading fintech research analysts took to the stage for 7 minutes each to present key opportunities for banks and other financial services providers. Featuring:

  • Jacob Jegher – Senior Vice President, Banking and Head of StrategyJavelin Strategy & Research
  • Alyson Clarke – Principal AnalystForrester
  • Daniel Latimore – Senior Vice President, Banking GroupCelent
  • Thad Peterson – Senior AnalystAite Group

Cracking the Fintech Code: Secrets to Success for Start-ups

FinovateFall welcomed over 70 start-ups to demo exciting new products and ideas, and opened the stage to pioneering thought-leaders to discuss the future of finance, technology and how the two come together to solve real world problems. We sat down with leaders of inspiring start-ups to get their insight on what the recipe for success is this often overcrowded space.

Matt Armstead, Executive Director, Founding Member, Board Member, FintechAccel gives his advice to start-ups and explores why getting a great team behind the idea is critical.

Jon Zanoff,  Managing Director, Techstars on knowing when a start-up is re ready to take a next step and join an accelerator.

Pini Yukeul,  CEO of Optimove, on how AI helps with segmentation, prediction and optimization within marketing and how start-ups and established businesses can leverage it.

Bringing Legacy Banks into the 21st Century

FinovateFall brought together fintech innovators from all over the world and representatives from some of the largest banks in the U.S., so naturally there were discussions around forging new partnerships and benefiting from the culture and technology shared between the different sides. We sat down with some of the key speakers to get their insights on how legacy banks and financial institutions can compete or collaborate in this new era.

Jeremy Balkin, Head of Innovation, Retail Banking & Wealth Management, HSBC USA on successful innovation projects and how to get them off the ground.

Mary Jane Ajodah, Vice President, Strategy, BNY Mellon, on how legacy banks can leapfrog start-ups – when they have the right strategy.

Steven Ramirez, CEO at Beyond the Arc, discusses the new trends he’s noticed emerging from the shadows.

Jim Marous, Publisher / Fintech Strategist, The Financial Brand/The Digital Banking Report explores why historical success can be a liability, as well as an asset for a bank.