If you want a more innovative bank, it starts, and largely stops, with what your approval process looks like for new technology. Take a human and force them to grow up in New York City. Around age 20, you force them to go to conferences on living in the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and survival. You also hire consultants to come in and teach outdoor skills. Take your well-outdoor trained city dweller and then put them into the middle of the Colorado Rockies, chances are they become bear-food in a week. That is basically how banks are handling innovation.
Back in the 1980s, there were more banks, smaller banks, and little technology. We were still driving checks around, there was no online banking, and networked ATMs was the latest in bank technology. At the time, the rule of thumb for bankers was that each bank employee produced about $20,000 of operating profit per year. Since each bank had about 100 employees, operating profit was about $2mm per community bank. In this article, we look at how this equation has changed and what it means for the future.
The largest problem with bank innovation is that we see or hear about a sexy piece of technology at a conference or at another bank and then acquire it. The new piece of technology ends up solving a known problem but in the process actually creates more problems, and risk, than it solves. It’s called the “Shiny Object Syndrome” (SOS), and it could be sowing the seeds of destruction for many banks. In this article, we look at the seven strategic questions you need to answer before acquiring any piece of technology.
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