Happy new year. How did it become (almost) February already? So much going on.
I know it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything to the blog, so here are some links and recent content to get you up to speed on what is catching my interest early in 2014.
I had a chance to review the material for the Technological Future of Money along with some of my friends in fintech and finsvcs. This presentation comes from Envisioning. They describe themselves as an independent technology research foundation based in Brazil that has a mission to raise understanding about the implications of accelerating change. They study emerging tech using research, technology and design. The content is very well done so I wanted to pass it on. As it relates to changes impacting financial services, it just reminds me that big changes are happening to financial services in every corner of the globe – especially in how we interact with financial institutions and view the role of money in our lives. When you view it, hit that full screen button on the bottom right or go out to Slideshare and download the deck. Here’s the primer for the deck:
A tide of technology — cryptocurrencies, P2P economies, payment APIs — is reshaping the world before our very eyes. We rarely memorize, wait in line, rewind, unfold, print or phone anymore. There has never been a better time to map the phenomenon of human innovation, and there is no better place to start with than with money.
Hats off to Michell Zappa and the crew at Envisioning to produce this work.
What else have I been up to? What have I been talking about?
My focus for much of the past year was on updating our mobile apps, adding mobile deposit and expanding related services in mobile and online, helping redesign our bank’s web content and user experience, as well as directing efforts toward mobilizing our client facing technology to drive direct revenue through digital channels. I’m still amazed how mobile app usage and mobile deposit are tethered. I have called mobile deposit (and mobile banking through apps) the gateway drug to mobile payments – something banks need to keep on pursuing – the idea of driving financial relationships through a Primary Financial Application really resonates with me, so expect more writing and developments on that topic in the coming months.
I’ve spent a lot of time kicking the tires on finsvcs technologies, especially as it relates to potential partnerships with smaller/growing fintech firms and startups. The financial services revolution may not be televised, but it will be driven by APIs (Stripe, Standard Treasury – what financial services can’t be facilitated and made more efficient through APIs?). I am currently looking at business applications now, from SME to corporate, really trying to better understand opportunities to make these services more efficient, resonate more with end users. The problem is that there is a dearth of really good (traditional fintech) core client facing business applications – especially in regard to mobile offerings. Let me know if you are using (or have developed) something we should see. It’s been a busy year at the bank, and with a new CIO and CEO, and focus on growth and gaining efficiencies, I think we have another great year ahead of us.
While not directly blogging, I’ve tried to be active in at least commenting on and contributing to what’s been happening in the space. I’ve participated in several conferences in the past quarter and continue to be amazed at how quickly things are changing in financial services. I’ve expanded the breadth of companies I am advising, including working with Meniga out of Iceland, Nerture out of Canada, and CU Nexus out of Northern California, two of which will be part of Demo at Bank Innovations conference in Seattle in March (info here). CU Nexus just announced a partnership with Digital Insight, so I am very excited about the year ahead for their team. I’m learning from each of these experiences, and look forward to hearing what you’re focused on this year. There’s a bit of a bubble brewing I’m afraid, as we see 930 payment startups on AngelList alone (that number seems to increase daily), but there is plenty of opportunity left in fintech, especially in creating new payment experiences going after what I call the Holy Payment Trifecta: Consumers, Merchants, and Developers.
While you probably get a good sense of what I find interesting through Twitter (international apps like Numbrs coming to the U.S., the rise of pre-paid and ongoing march of NeoBanks), you can see some of my published thoughts since my last post on the state of financial services and fintech in 2014 through these links: Apple and Payments, T-Mobile and Banking, NCR’s purchase of Digital Insight, Predictions for 2014, Google Glass Part I (based on a conference panel in October with (now former) American Banker writer Sean Sposito and blogger extraordinaire Jim Marous), Glass Part 2, mBank from Poland, U.S. payment isolation and working with Jim Marous, I took part in an Economist Study on Social Media In Banking.
I was also very fortunate to take part in an interview on banking in the trenches discussing the future of banking and innovation. Here are the links to that two part interview on Backbase’s BankNXT blog:
Breaking Banks – Innovation In Small To Mid-Sized Banks
A few weeks back I had the great privilege of joining Brett King’s radio show Breaking Banks speaking alongside JP Nicols on innovation in small banks (the audio can be found here – suggest you subscribe to the Podcast via iTunes).
I’m going to have to step it up if I want the blog to get another honorable mention from the Financial Brand for best bank marketing blog. I know this is more of an update on what I’ve been up to over the past few months, so I’ll see what I can do about a more consistent posting schedule. Let me know what you’re interested in seeing.
I feel fortunate to be working within this space, trying to make a difference in the financial lives of the average consumer each and every day. So much of that journey has been learning from and sharing with my extended network. As always, connect further. Let me know what you’re doing to make banking and fintech better. Let me know how I can help.
Wishing you and your development teams all the best in 2014.
It’s going to be a fantastic year.