While online account opening and digital lending are great, there is one function that is the most in demand by bank customers, yet most banks don’t think to provide any digital functionality around it. It is the one function that drives up the most cost for a bank and is the most significant reason why bank customers still say they want a branch. Solve this problem, and you start to become a true digital bank. In this article, we look at the data around the problem and how to solve for it.
One question we always ask is if we are spending enough on technology? After that question, we get confused and mired in the quicksand of financial reporting, finance philosophy and technology strategy. “Technology” is so pervasive that it is difficult to determine what the difference is between spending on “digital” projects versus “analog” projects. For instance, if we upgrade our phone system from dedicated copper to fiber optics that is an analog project but if we convert over to a slower voice-over-IP system is that a digital project? In order to shed some light, we did some research to help banks set their IT budget for next year.
Technology Spending As A Percent of Non-Interest Income
The Wall Street Journal published a story about small banks beginning to rebel against the Big Three Oligopoly ("the BTO") of core IT suppliers Fiserv, FIS and Jack Henry - now commanding more than 90% of market share according to CELENT. I was interviewed extensively by the writers about the ease (or difficulty) of technical access and economic affordability when banks need unfettered access to their data (i.e. for third party fintech partners). While they are starting to provide access, they're doing it in a way that unfairly monetizes your data to their exclusive benefit. Here's how.
How does a $1.6B mutual bank in a small Massachusetts community find a way to drop more than $4.4 million in cash to their bottomline without changing a single IT supplier or interrupting one of their online customers?
Simple. Beginning in 2014 they took the long-game view and intelligent approach to negotiating against their very powerful core IT suppliers and critical technology vendors. BayCoast Bank is run by Nick Christ and was recently awarded the prestigious ICBA National Community Bank Service Award, Grand National Winner, but Mr. Christ has a secret weapon within his ranks - Dan DeCosta their Chief Information Officer. Mr. DeCosta is as friendly as any banker has been created but inside he is a shrewd technologist and businessman that knows how to leverage the power of outside expertise, market intelligence and pricing data with the patience of a tortoise prepared to ultimately beat any other hare.
Excessive fees create a manufactured barrier to acquiring competitive technology that would help the banking industry survive and flourish. This is an unfair business practice at any measure and may not be legal in many states.
The experts agree. Artificial intelligence (AI), the process of machine learning, is exploding and we’re just getting started. According to Gartner Research, AI is the number one strategic technology trend in 2018. The American Bankers Association says AI is one of the top five fintech trends that will drive the next decade of banking.
The vast majority of middle-market community banks and credit unions will at some point explore acquiring or being acquired because M&As are one of the quickest and most effective ways a bank can scale up, expand reach, and grow. Unfortunately, many of these banks have no choice but to watch lucrative M&A opportunities pass them by because they unwittingly agreed to grossly unfair and inequitable terms in their core and IT contracts.
Global independent investment banking advisory firm Evercore ISI interviews fintech expert Aaron Silva on all things banking. Listen now to Aaron's predictions for the banking industry: bit.ly/SilvaOnEvercore
In this comprehensive expert panel discussion at LendIt Fintech 2018, Paladin's Aaron Silva leads a compelling and lively discussion about how financial institutions are navigating the exciting world of fintech. Topics include innovation, opportunities, resistance, analytics, security and much more. Four renowned experts participate in the podcast every bankers should hear. Listen NOW:
Your bank is constantly looking for ways to improve its fintech as competition from the big banks steadily increases. Routinely you turn to your current core and IT suppliers for ancillary add-ons like mobile deposit, fraud detection, a CRM or a new EFT card services feature. There are a million options your supplier can up-sell that will improve the current core solution. There probably isn’t an institution in the United States that doesn’t have a quote on someone’s desk waiting for approval.