This week, the Zafin team was in Orlando attending CBA Live 2018. The event hosts over 600 bankers in a forum style event to discuss current challenges and lay a future foundation for the industry. We have a video recap of the event
coming out very shortly directly below, but I wanted to take a minute to reflect on key themes while they’re still fresh.
Perspectives from a CBA Live first-timer
Over the years, I’ve attended countless industry events, shows, conferences, etc. on both the vendor and client side. My personal focus for CBA Live was to actively listen and attempt to get a firm finger on the pulse of the industry. As I dive into what I learned below, know that I gleaned these insights from conversations with many of you: actual bankers and also from the industry pundits on stage.
1. Ambition does not equal ability
After chats and panel discussions with many of the banks in attendance, it became clear to me that we have a bright and ambitious industry. As the consumer and client demands shift with the rolling tide of technology, there’s a strong move to digitize, modernize, automate — words I equate to: compete.
Banks are competing with each other and with disruptors for the almighty deposit. Still, ambition and ability aren’t lining up for many. I heard of virtually every bank being tied to processes and systems, many of which seem too big to change. The industry faces digital transformation challenges so large, it’s exhausting just to think about them. So, we’ve been conditioned to accept the unexceptional. I’m an optimist because I‘ve witnessed firsthand in other industries what happens when the collective standard is raised.
2. We’re (still) fighting manual process
My battle cry for the year may just become “get your bank out of spreadsheets.” I heard time and time again at CBA Live of manual processes involving many human hours and even more cells that require updates every time a rate or product change. The price sheets at banks have hundreds of different conditions, rules and flavors.
I listened as you described what happens as these rates are posted and require updating across multiple systems and public channels. To do something as simple as change a set of rates, I was told it took two or three days of human entry and validation. Zafin literally has a tool that allows you to house all of your products, pricing, rates and rules, make changes and cascade the changes across your systems in a few clicks. Maybe I’m over simplifying…but not really. You could buy this today. A better way exists — you just need that catalyst for change.
3. How banks compete in a Rising Rate Environment
We’ve been operating in a rising rate environment for some time now. This is a topic you’re going to be hearing a lot about from us over the next few months. I know this because as I write Adam Nanjee (our SVP, Digital Banking) is pacing his office working out a few thoughts for his next piece.
Bottom line for any one at CBA Live: relationship pricing is essential in this environment for customer retention and segmentation. Knowing which customers you are and are not willing to lose over a few points is key and targeting them with a tailored pricing strategy for their segment is how you need to compete. We do many things at Zafin, but relationship pricing is our bread and butter. As one banker told me: this is our time to shine. I can’t do it justice in one paragraph, but clearly this one gets me amped up, so stay tuned for more on that.
**4. BONUS: On visiting Orlando in March
Despite the flock of spring breakers from up north, packing a jacket when heading to Orlando in March is essential. Lesson learned.
…oh and this happened:
— Consumer Bankers (@ConsumerBankers) March 13, 2018
Compelling quote from @GenMhayden on the nature of data security at #CBALIVE @ConsumerBankers #FinTech #Banking pic.twitter.com/09c75qkwA9
— Zafin (@Zafin) March 13, 2018
Final thoughts on CBA Live
As a newcomer, I went in with the mentality that CBA Live was an opportunity to listen, not to pitch. One thing that struck me in a (very) few instances, was that the word “vendor” rolled off the tongue almost like a four-letter-word at CBA Live. It left me with a sense that perhaps there are some bad actors in the space, akin to the “snake oil salesperson” trope.
Sitting on this side of the table and, at the risk of sounding incredibly tacky, I can tell you that we (well, Zafin, at least) are here to help. It is our company mission to provide you with technology that makes some of the most mundane tasks in your day easier and more profitable so you can focus on your strategy, not barriers. As a marketer in the industry it is my personal mission to ensure that we as a vendor are seen to be among your most valued partners.
Zafin (@zafin) is a leading financial technology provider that enables banks to form richer, more personalized client relationships. Built from the ground up for financial services, its platform empowers banks to enhance revenue and operational efficiency. Founded in 2002, Zafin sits among North America’s top FinTech companies, and is trusted by retail and corporate units at some of the largest banks worldwide. Headquartered in Toronto with global offices, Zafin has a proven track record with a 100 percent client retention rate as validation.
Don is the Senior Director, Marketing & Communications at Zafin. As former editor in chief and contributor to numerous publications, Don is passionate about sharing stories. At Zafin he will drive a clear and compelling narrative focused on digital banking and innovation in FinTech. Follow him on Twitter @donnyhalliwell