I only have a mild interest in the future branch type stuff but some sort of tipping point was reached and I felt I had to write about it like a grumpy sod. From my point of view it seems the prototype future branches fall into two basic categories. The shiny ultra sleek technology stuffed, self-service focused branch and the ‘come in relax, we have free wi-fi, would you like a skinny mocha latte with that financial review’ faux coffee shop full of lovely people not really selling you stuff, honest. There is also actually a third one and that is closing them but that is a whole other thing.
The first type is an obvious example of using technology to streamline processes and make the brand seem shiny and innovative. Some of the technologies are undoubtedly very clever and powerful but they are also a bit soulless and they are seemingly still incapable of escaping paper. This example from Audi Bank just screams don’t touch anything. So clean, so unwelcoming yet they expect people to stand there and browse dream cars such as a Kia. There are many more videos like this I just picked on this one as I saw it recently. Maybe it is future concept videos that actually annoy me.
The roped off branch, making customers feel welcome since 2012
Self service based branches are inevitable but they should cater for those functions that they excel at. Basic transactional banking. Pay in and take out of money, process the antique paper still associated so heavily with banking. If you can make them more developed sales areas with things such as video calling and interactive signatures then go for it…but surely in most places those can also be offered to people at home today? All these advances in technology are needed and the slick future branch does show them off well. The cost of branch banking is getting harder to justify and technology solutions must be investigated but don’t confuse techno utopia with customer happiness.
The second kind, the chillax coffee shop, is the one that irks most. The reason being that it is an admission that banking has gone too far down the self-service, automated robot route and now banks are confused why no one comes to talk to them anymore? Don’t they love us? Just because we built all these automated straight through processing systems that does not mean we don’t want to hear people’s hopes, dreams and desires. The realisation has set in that customers know banks don’t want to talk to them unless they want to sell them something. Banks have gone out of their way to make them less human and accessible by process shaving and penny-pinching. You can’t phone your branch, try booking or amending an appointment online, they are almost off the grid spaces until you walk through the door. Like a much less exciting version of platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross.
Why madam don’t you look fantastically relaxed and not at all awkwardly staged.
But the main reason for my annoyance is the fact that there is a lot of effort and cash put into these jovial chat shops in the real world yet banks digital platforms remain as conversation free as a library in a monastery. The ability to converse in the scary “new” world of the information superhighway seems lost on most financial organisations. Regulations and rules will be blamed but the reality is banks are not the worlds greatest conversationalists. The unkempt wilds of the web and its 2.0 consumer obsessed walled gardens of inanity represent some sort of alien landscape that a process obsessed industry just can’t codify or fill with cheap coffee and comfy seats.
The solution seems obvious to me. Hire or train capable people who can converse in these new places in the strange tongue they have adopted and make your organisation seem infinitesimally human. Think how you could add nice conversation capabilities to your cold hard Internet banking portals or maybe make it possible to actually reply to those marketing emails you are so fond of. The telephone, and video chatbooths in branch cannot be the only place you can talk with your customers. Of course you may not be able to directly sell loads of products in those digital spaces but there is a lot of mileage in at least making them conversant. Asymmetric digital conversations can be much more flexible and achieved in half the time than waiting on the phone or schlepping to a branch. It is of course important to be innovative in branches and try new things, they are still very important pieces of banking infrastructure and I do not wish to see them closed. For me it is about making it as easy as possible for your customers to talk to you when and where they want irrespective of the medium.
A few weeks back a new service started on twitter. @NeedADebitCard collated all the finest photos from the Internet taken by people keen to share their debit/credit card details and design with the world. The instant reaction to this by most sane individuals is ‘what are you doing you idiots?!’ Banking fraud departments across the globe probably tutted and cursed and then smiled as people proved what they already assume every day, the weakest link in online security is the one between the chair and the screen. Online commentators had a field day spouting off about the obvious dangers of this. My initial reaction was the same for about 5 minutes then I realised that these people are just using social media for its greatest use case, sharing everything. They might not be your most stupid customers but your most loyal, your most proud and in these current times banks need all the fans they can get.
The problems associated with sharing photos of your plastic payment device are actually the making of the financial institutions themselves. The Internet has been with us for 20 years. Social media in its current very easy to use incarnation probably 5-7 years old. Payment cards have been with us since the 60s and in that time they have not really changed a great deal. The bottom line is that they are not really fit for use on the Internet.
Outdated payment methods
These physical tokens of my relationship with a bank contain almost every bit of information a person needs to make card holder not present purchase from the web or via the telephone. The industry has tried to bolt on solutions to alleviate this problem e.g. the 3 digit security number on the signature strip (No one is idiotic enough to take a photo of the front and back of their card are they?) but you enter these details into a site every time you need to pay, effectively giving away the keys to your house every time you buy something via remote channels. Should the sites we buy from do more? Do ecommerce sites have PCI DSScompliance badges that they share with pride? ‘We keep your data safe’. Maybe the site owners should take a smiling photo of themselves holding their PCI DSS compliance certificate and put it on Instagram. Of course there are numerous protection standards in place around ecommerce sites I am being a tad facetious to make a point.
What of other solutions such as the universally loved 3D secure methods like Verified by Visa and Mastercard Secure. Yes they stop a certain kind of fraud but how many purchases are cancelled because of these things? How many swearwords are uttered when asked for an infrequently used password? What we need are payment methods designed for the web, designed to be used for one transaction or that just leave the merchant knowing who I pay via but not needing every single piece of detail to make further purchases.
I mean why do credit/debit cards need my full name printed on them? This is about digital identity and you would do well to watch Dave Birch’s recent talk on that subject. Dave is a man who signs his card transactions Carlos Tevez so he knows when people are trying to make fraudulent purchases.
Social objects of banking.
(Bank) simple have just started sending out invites to their long time registered straining at the leash future customers. The effort and design they have put into their card will mean you will be seeing a lot of photos of these cards over the coming months. They had the foresight to package the cards with a thick blue rubber band holding the card in place but also to obscure the card details making easy to photograph and share the fact they are now proud (bank) simple customers.
Simple realise that the card is an important social object of their customers relationship with them and they wanted to make sure as many of them as possible would share that fact. They also realize the risk and warn their customers accordingly (while still encouraging unboxing photos) Traditional banks would not want you sharing the fact you bank with them online for fear of things like spear phishing yet one of the most used metrics in bank satisfaction is ‘Would you recommend your bank to your friends?’.
I have written about the social objects of banking in the past and I think they are massively underused in an industry that makes talking about your banking relationship and money in general seem massively taboo. This really should not be the case.
So before you go jumping to conclusions about customers who post pictures of their cards on social networks, think long and hard about why they are doing this and why in 2012 the details needed to make a payment online are printed on a small piece of plastic that everyone can see. Who are the real idiots?
*SOUND THE NAVEL GAZING ALARM* While writing my last post on PFMs I was struck by how certain ideas and themes recur in my writing and thinking. I am starting to get the feeling I am burdened by these ideas. My brilliance is being hampered by these synapse occupying visions of majesty so much so that my humility has been diminished. Self mockery aside the real reason they are a burden is due to the lack of progress I have made with turning them from ideas stuck in my head to anything resembling reality. I wrote about the problem with ideas stuck in my head last year and one of the ideas I will talk about in this post is one of the ones I refferred to. In that post I said I wanted to protect the idea:
It of course got killed. For this and other reasons I have decided it is time for me to publish these oh so burdensome ideas. Be rid of these foul demons in the vain hope that someone agrees they are good ideas and has some sort of vision of how to make them reality. These ideas are of various ages and I think this list is probably in oldest first order.
Identity - Clearly this is a huge topic and I am interested in all facets of identity but the bothersome idea I have harboured for several years is why can’t I logon to my bank website? Yes I can log on to Internet Banking but that is different. For most banks the website is a completely different entity to its online banking portal. If I want to save a quote, view the terms of my insurance policy and potentially view my balances I should not need full strength security and validation. All quite subjective with regards to how secure different types of interaction should be but access to some forms of interactions need to be simpler (it could be argued that it’s the customers choice as to what level of security they desire). Also you have the whole personalisation angle (only show me adverts for relevant products, paint the site black if I am a certain grade of customer etc) to this but I am not so interested in that.
Some banks operate other logons on their websites or external parts of their site such as the logon for HSBC’s Advance offers or the first direct lab. I suspect interactions here are not well linked to customer profiles or CRM systems because of these logon issues. They also require yet another user ID and password which everyone loves.
What about non-customers visiting a banks site? Why not have a level of registration/identity to allow people to research products, begin applications and then once they take out a product you can upgrade the logon to a level that allows more secure transactions? Don’t make me fully authenticate for everything and don’t leave tracking to cookies and chance for everything else.
Clearly identity is a much bigger thing but I don’t want to get into all that NSTIC / Digital Asset Grid type stuff just yet or even the connection of social network identities or the thought of Klout scores linked to product offerings (shudder). I just want basic federated logons for bank websites and any 3rd party sites the bank operates.
Notification Systems – I have written quite a detailed post on this idea a while back. The bottom line is that in banking today there are many types of events that occur but very few of those events are subject to any form of tailored notification to me as a customer especially if they are not financial transactions. If a specific transaction arrives in my account can I be notified via SMS? If my account balance drops below a certain limit can I get a DM on Twitter? If I miss a call from my RM can I be notified via email? If my mortgage application progresses to the next milestone can I get a message sent to my Internet Fridge? If someone tries to logon from a country or using a device that is not mine can you alert me via every channel available? (why don’t banks have an audit trail that the user can see showing their logon activity ala Gmail?) Today the notifications available to customers are fairly limited. Maybe some basic SMS or some notifications inside a mobile app. The tailoring of them is also limited. No creation of rules or choice of multiple notification channels.
Not only does this limit the amount of feedback loops a bank creates it means the banks miss an opportunity to engage with customers. This thing has happened with your product…you should take some action (and hopefully see this advert for new stuff).
Over and above this though is that these notifications and these events that have occurred are fuel for other services both inside and outside the bank. Imagine if your bank had systems that played together nicely in ways you could manage. Imagine if you had the equivalent of If This Then That for your bank(s). The events and notifications are ripe for bringing your bank activities into your digital world rather than keeping them all locked away in an internet banking portal.
Activity Streams – (This is kind of the one referred to earlier that got killed off) Basically these are a well known form of viewing data and capturing specific forms of interaction. The Facebook newsfeed is probably the most well known form of activity stream. A flowing river of events that have occurred in your network. Why isn’t your bank relationship represented like that? Today it is split by account, then drill down into a list of transactions. That view is of course important but it shows little of the actual interactions. Why not have an activity stream of all actions across all products and services? For example why not show entries such as;
You called today and we have done the following things
You left a comment on the first direct lab
You have won a prize for being our bestest customer
We have replied to your complaint about your prize (See our response)
We tried to cold call you but you ignored our call
You have been chosen for a fantastic new marketing promotion
These would be interspersed with the far more frequent and familiar account transactions but it shows you everything that happens across your relationship with your bank. This representation may also change the way you present transactions as more data could be added such as geolocation, images of cheques, call recordings, 3rd party offers etc
Activity Streams are also a blossoming open standard. You can post events in the activity stream format and then build a stream of those events across any service. If all banking relationship notifications/events mentioned in section two were formatted into activity streams it would allow those events to be brought together more simply in a single place, easing front end integration but also should you so desire allow you to share them outside your bank. This presentation by one of the contributors to the Activity Streams standard, Chris Messina of Google, explains them brilliantly. What if banks extended the standard from it’s current social network definition? A bank contributing to open standards? Crazy talk…
Again this idea is about linking things together. Bringing events from a multitude of systems into one stream. Also enabling the linkage of bank events into wider world of web services.
Open Data & Application Programming Interfaces – This is my current brain occupier. The one thing I would like banks to embrace the most. I have written about these things many times both inside and outside of the organisation I work for but like Robin S said ‘words are so easy to say’. I wrote about them here, here and here. Basically what I want to see is banks surface APIs for core functions. An API for my transactions that I could plug into other services ala Freeagent, An API for payments so a developer could code an app to send money to people ala PayPal X Commerce etc. The very smart James Governor said a while back that he believed API creation and management will be a core skill of the successful enterprises of the future. He is right. We are starting to see a bit of a groundswell around financial services APIs, albeit mainly from new entrants. That will change soon hopefully as the banks wake up to the potential of bridging the gap between the bank network and the web.
Open Data is very similar in that instead of publishing services it is about publishing things that have happened. Banks should have some cracking data sets that could be shared for the benefit of others. Not least the hackers and tinkers and visualisers etc. If the World Bank can do it (and do it well) why can’t some of the other banks of the world do it?
Conclusion of sorts - The main themes here are related to some sort of connective tissue of banking and the web. You can tell I am not a TOGAF certified architect with those kinds of descriptions. I am always disappointed when something can’t be connected to something else for what ever crappy reason ‘It was too expensive to build it like that’ ‘IT Security wouldn’t let us’ ‘It was planned for phase 2′ ‘Open standards are a legal minefield so we write better ones’ ‘What the hell are you on about tubby?! Only activity stream you need is to go swimming’ etc
I understand these things are potentially major infrastructural changes and there is also an unhealthy dose of mindset changes required as well. Both these things notoriously complex, challenging and expensive. I have no mind for business models or numbers related to these kinds of things so could not put a price on such a thing. I suspect they will cost a fortune to build but will they deliver the savings needed to justify them? Will they allow innovation and creativity to flourish in the way my Utopian visions say they will. Who knows? I believe they will but who will believe me without Return On Investment numbers and other dull figures of justification?
My failings (of which there are many) are that I don’t really know how to make things/make things happen (this could be a whole new navel gazing post). I know how to do whiny blog posts and sarcastic presentations and that ain’t working so well for these kinds of ideas (I am being flippant but I really don’t know how to start these things). Obviously a problem shared is a problem halved so this is my attempt at that.
Be Gone. Maybe it is time to drown the puppy. Arrogantly accept the fact my ideas are clearly far too ahead of their time/not in anyway realistic. Move on. Seek out new ideas in new areas far away from these and rid myself of this (not very heavy) burden. This is the first step towards that…publish away my problems. I will of course be right back to them the moment anyone shows the merest flicker of interest because I suspect the only real way to rid myself of this burden is to see these things, or better solutions, implemented.
This post originally appeared on Finextra. It is my first post there and is an attempt to put me and my half baked thoughts and ideas under a bit more scrutiny. I have reposted it here so I have a copy on my own personal blog.
I love online Personal Financial Management tools. These web based services which allow people to visualize and manage their financial lives in one place, using pretty graphs to show where their money goes, set budgets and alerts, have shown how money should be viewed and interacted with in a richer way than most banks currently provide. The problem with them though is that getting data into them, certainly in the UK, is a real pain in the…
First a bit of background, Personal Financial Management tools need data to exist. There are a number of ways to get this data;
1. Users manually download data from their accounts to a file in a recognized financial data format e.g. Open Financial Exchange (OFX), and then upload to their online tool of choice.
2. The tool scrapes the data from the bank i.e. a script logs on for you and downloads the data, this involves handing over your password and logon and probably invalidates your account’s terms and conditions. If your bank uses a physical device to generate an access code as part of the logon then scraping will not work.
3. You are lucky and live in a country where banks provide some sort of automated feed directly to your PFM from the bank, such as Germany. No need to handover your full logon details to Internet banking just authorization for a data feed. Your postman does not need a key to your house to deliver a letter.
Clearly option 3 is the most convenient from a user point of view and is also much more secure than option 2.
In the UK none of the high street banks currently provide automated feeds from their personal current accounts. Nationwide used to have an OFX server running but I believe it was switched off a few years ago. Because of this lack of automated data feeds the UK PFM market is pretty stagnant. Kublax closed down a few years ago. Wesabe partnered with the Telegraph but to no avail as they also closed their doors soon after. Mint have threatened to launch in the UK many times but I have still not seen a date. There are some still running of course, Love Money, Money Dashboard and Money Toolkit being fine examples of the genre but I have a feeling their usage remains niche due to the issues with getting data into them as highlighted above.
On the business side of things the situation is a little better with automated feeds for HSBC (my employer) working with Xero and Barclays recently announced an automated service with Freeagent. The problem is that these are both bespoke implementations, much like the automated feeds from banks in other countries which vary by instituion. In Germany they are lucky enough to have the FinTS/HBCI system which is an attempt at a standard protocol and delivery mechanism but from my conversations with people in Germany it is a little elderly and not implemented consistently across banks. I think it is pretty safe to state that for the majority of the financial services world no standard exists today for the automatic feeding of any transactional data to the web. This means for the majority of users we are left with the hardly enticing choice of either manual and onerous data uploading or very risky data scraping options.
Isn’t this a problem for the banks to fix?
Yes it probably is but I don’t believe there is much chance of use seeing all the banks in the world coming together in the next few years to agree a standard form of automated data exchange with web services, to be primarily used by PFMs who they see as competitors. The fact that the banks would benefit from these standards themselves as it means they could pull in competitor data into their own online banking services but I think the number of perceived issues prevent this from becoming reality. Reasons such as fear of the data feed being a security risk that would attract crackers from far and wide, the thought of transaction data being plugged into places that could lead to non-regulated financial advice being or more accurately the handing over of valuable customer data for others to mine. There are many implications to opening up a customer controlled data feed from banks.
As customers demand more from their online financial interfaces the desire to connect their tools of choice with their financial data is increasing. The banks that are smart enough to realize this is an enticing interface for some customers will perhaps offer some feeds but will they get behind an open standard that all banks and web services can use and integrate with? I can’t see it happening anytime soon due to the complexity of the banking industry let alone the perceived threat to competition from new entrants.
What about the Government? There is a chance in the UK that Government proposals may speed up the provision of standard automated feeds in the form of the MiData project, which aims to free customer usage data from various industries and return it to people for them to use as an aid to get better offers for products and services. I am a fan of the MiData project and what it is trying to achieve but Governments like Banks are not renowned for their speed to market.
This is why I think the future lays in the hands of the PFM providers and other financial services startups. They have built their tools on the open standards and open source code that the pioneers of the open web have built. Can they give something back to the web community and build some open standard financial data services? Build services that link to other services, for example could I use Mint and integrate it with FreeAgent?
Today we have a wealth of PFMs that have solutions for getting data in but they are not so great at sharing that data outwards, like the banks, so they are effectively just creating a single layer on top of the banks when I think they should be joining together to create an ecosystem, an ecosystem that the banks would find it increasingly difficult to ignore.
We see more and more new PFM tools enter the market every year and I think we are reaching peak PFM. An ever prettier array of pie charts, graphs and budget calculators offering similar functionality but all bound by the issues of getting data inside them and no real integration between them.
What I would like PFMs and other financial startups to focus on is a wider ecosystem otherwise they are just making new silos; we have more than enough of those in the banking world. Today Yodlee is the major player in this space due to the fact they have integration and data feeds from the largest number of banks. If a standard for data distribution were put in place then no one player would have the upper hand, be that a bank or an aggregator. Is it not in the interest of the wider PFM market to come up with open standards?
Where are the open standards in banking?
There does seem to be a lack of open standards in banking that can be used by the wider world. There are standard formats for financial transaction data, such as OFX mentioned above; the issue is that there are no standards for moving that data between banks and the web. The OFX consortium did provide a client server method for the transfer of data but the world has moved on and newer methods are required. Whatever happened to OFX? Could someone resurrect this?
The big players in the PFM market are readying their app stores and development platforms. Yodlee’s platform announcement was reporteed recently on Finextra, and Mint are also planning to make their APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) public soon. This is a great thing as it will allow for ecosystems to flourish. My only concern is that we are potentially building powerful single players. Will these new APIs be compatible with each other? Will data be in the same format? I hope they will.
Old world or new world?
PFM tools have shown the traditional financial industry how to display information about money on the web. They have given people more insight and control over their money. I think it is in their hands to show how data about money can be part of the wider web and not just locked in silos. I think they can show the way with standardized automated feeds that can fuel a wider ecosystem that will benefit people further in how they interact with money.
The banks can and should play a part in this. They clearly hold the keys to the data and may be reluctant to let go but I think it is in their interest to do so for the benefit of their customers as well as themselves. Making themselves a key part of this new ecosystem not only shows they are willing to open up it also shows they understand the web.
This awkwardly titled post is thusly titled because it is the name of an event that Betony Taylor, my esteemed colleague from the UK media relations team, and I were invited to speak at recently. The event took place in Zurich at the Swiss Stock Exchange and was hosted by Capco and the Swiss Finance Institute.
The venue for the day
The term Glocal (a portmanteux of Global and Local) is not just some awful marketing creation but is actually the basis of some detailed geographic research. The event was looking at the challenges being faced by banks due to the increasingly global nature of their customers through travel, the virtual erasure of borders through the use of the web and the realtime access demands due to the rise of mobile technologies.
The day started with a keynote from Peter Stringham of Young & Rubicam, and as it turned out he was also ex HSBC. His firm had undertaken a large piece of research into trust in industries. As you might expect the traditional retail and service industries had seen a huge decrease in consumer trust and the web based companies were seeing a great increase in trust. Peter’s research pointed to the fact that people just did not believe the messages coming out of those so called old world industries. I would like to see the research to dig into it a bit deeper but I have a feeling that people trust the big web companies more because what they do just works. They keep it simple.
The Occupy movement has been a big wake up for the financial industry. It is not just the normal protestors. Peter showed an image of a child protester to make the point that this will affect generations and how they think about banking. Recovering that trust could take generations. This lack of trust makes people want to disntermediate the system.
An Occupy site just yards from the event
One example given was payments startup Dwolla. They want to do payments without touching the traditional bank network as much as possible. If banks continue to fight and defend against the Internet as people will try and disintermediate the bank network.
Peter also discussed the lack of cross border identity, even between so called global institutions. He mentioned Amex being particularly painful to deal with when he moved from Canada to the US. They explained that he was a customer of Amex Canada. He felt it was strange how they don’t brand like that. He moved to the US and had sold a house for ‘several million dollars’ yet had no credit rating in the US (at this point I of course had very little sympathy for him but I agree there is a problem). These problems are caused by regulations and a lack of really understanding the customer need. The companies that can best unsnarl the regulation will be the ones that win. Consumers don’t care about regulation, they care about being able to do what they need to get done. A great start to a day I was worried would be way over my head. It allayed my fears, albeit briefly.
The first panel focused on reputation management and followed on nicely from Peter’s talk. The general attitude seemed to be that the banks had taken their eye off the ball and the blind pursuit of money had cost them dear. They knew they had to engage at a more human level to regain what they had lost.
The second and third panels were way over my head the second panel was also way over my personal wealth. They looked at the future of cross border private banking and the regulatory environment and its effect on the Eurozone crisis. I will be honest, I did not understand a lot of what was said for about 90 minutes. I have looked back at the presentations and discussions and I am still none the wiser.
What those panels did however do is remind me of the scale, importance and complexity of the financial system. I tend to forget how big banking really is and there is nothing like a session on macro prudential regulation in relation to cross border private banking to make you think your obsession with this piddling little social media stuff might just be the banking equivalent of a child’s toy.
Are the banks stuck between a rock and a...
The panel Betony and I were involved in covered social media and new technologies (quelle surprise) It was preceded by a talk from Dan Marovitz of Buzzimi and once of Deutsche Bank. Entitled, Banking in the Digital Slipstream, it looked at how our actions on the web are ever increasing and as such so is the footprint of what we leave behind. This data is the new gold. Banks sit on an interesting set of this data that none of these web companies have access too yet. Are banks making the best use of it?
The panel discussion that followed covered these topics with a particular focus on transparency. How could the banks deal with the demands of social media and its incessant march against secrets. The consensus seemed that they had to adjust. My own point of view being that no longer can they hide behind complex business models and terms and conditions. I mentioned BankSimple CEO, Josh Reich, and his thought that banks make money by keeping their customers confused. I don’t believe they do that wilfully but I think that banks forget how complex banking is as they live in this bubble where they understand the terminology and the ins and outs. Amusingly no one in the room (except the panel members) had even heard of BankSimple so maybe I live in my own bubble as well.
On the wider topic of social media. I wanted to make clear that it is just a brand name. Just like web 2.0 before it and social business that follows it. It is just the evolving web, the twenty something year old all conquering web. We need to embrace it because it is starting to reach its true potential. Earlier in the day social media had a few mentions and there was some confusion with it being about popularity and celebrity. Peter Andre was mentioned as doing well in social media but banks will not. Rubbish. The question was asked earlier in the day of how many companies are on twitter. This is the wrong question, how many of your named people are allowed on twitter to represent your brand. It is not about pumping out news on your brand in a broadcast manner it is about being a human being and adding some value.
I would love to see HSBC economists on twitter but there is so much regulation around them that they can’t say anything. They probably can’t even tweet about having a ham sandwich for lunch because that might impact the wheat and pork belly futures markets.
The panel moderator, Nick Levy of Capco, threw in his next question about dumb pipes, as in are the banks destined to become just a layer of infrastructure. I have written about this topic recently and the experience on the panel made me finish that long held post. In short I think yes they will but this is not a bad thing.
The view from the panel...enthralled suit based audience
I don’t think the digital pieces of infrastructure required to really replace any meaningful parts of the banking system exist today. Digital identity and the elements of trust, systems that can eradicate the ability to hide money in dodgy offshore havens or through complex derivatives built on top of mythical AAA rated bonds. Transparency, trust and simplicity are the things required for banking in a Glocal world but they are very, very difficult to create. Ultimately a lot of these discussions around new technologies and trends and how you need to behave come down to good old fashioned trust. The day had come full circle.
All the presentations from the day (apart from Peter’s keynote frustratingly) are available here. There are some videos presentations and panels, although thankfully not the one I was on. Thanks to Capco and the SFI for inviting Bee and I to speak. It was a complex thought provoking day that reminded me exactly how big banking is and how it maybe needs to learn how to be small again.