Every now and then I get to talk with a leader who is so deeply knowledgeable one could say they are a tiny bit obsessed. Jason Henrichs has spent his career working on financial services, the relationship that people have with money, and the way that banking has evolved. His first job was with the worlds largest printer of physical check—and we dove really deeply into the way that banks work, the trends in financial services, and regulation, fintechs and innovation in the tech and banking space.
Covid forced a rapid digital transformation on the banking industry. Brick and mortar locations shut down and banks had to immediately innovate with how they would serve customers, how they would ensure security of customer data, and how they would do it in a world where customer loyalty begins to drop as banking customers can switch to whoever builds the best digital experience.
Jason covers the shift to digital experience by pointing out that many banks have tried to emulate the physical branch experience in digital, but that there’s a lot of space to tailor journeys digitally geared towards solving customer problems. He points out that omnichannel doesn’t mean that experiences have to be identical between the physical and digital world, but rather that data needs to seamlessly move between those worlds and that customer needs have to be anticipated and answered in an easy and secure fashion.
There’s a digital arms race and Jason points out that “winning is playing great defense and meeting table stakes,” but that smaller institutions have an opportunity to redefine community and to meet the needs of their unique local bank. Part of the issue is how smaller banks and credit unions can better leverage FinTechs. Until today most of this focus has been on lending and on tools to develop new experiences. Smaller players can’t afford to build these tools on their own, so they need to lean on FinTechs who are already solving specific problems.
Exciting trends in Financial Services
Regarding personalization, customer personas are still somewhat limiting and that financial services has a wealth of data, which can make digital experiences rich and personalized, contextual, and seamlessly delivered. This means that we should start to see more personalized recommendation engines for financial products as insights are derived from the massive amount of existing customer data. Solutions will be embedded into digital first experiences.
Security + innovation and the tension between the two
As financial organizations innovate, there is also the response from hackers and fraudsters to quickly test the security and permeability of new products and services. Jason describes a practice of continuous deployment that helps financial services providers continue to iterate on their digital products in order to respond to vulnerabilities. Celerity describes this as a responsive enterprise – one that is listening and quickly responding to market feedback, with the operational systems in place to rapidly build and deploy digital products. You can learn more about how to become more responsive here.
What About Crypto and CBDC?
Jason believes that these will change the way we think about money, but not in the ways we think. Currency needs to be stable, accessible, and defensible. “Historically, if you don’t have an army, you don’t have a currency.” Electronic money that’s accessible to the masses can change the centralized banking equation. For CBDC to be feasible, more of the population needs to have stable broadband access, a point that the pandemic made plain.
Open banking is another trend that Jason discusses. On one hand, open banking is the thought that my banking data belongs to me as the customer and I can/should be able to move that information with me as I please. The other aspect of open banking is entities that aren’t technically banks, but that act as proxy banks (think of your Starbucks loyalty card, for example). Open banking of the future is a more open network of financial services and products that serve client needs.
Financial inclusiveness—Community Banks and Credit Unions
Community organizations are key in improvement of delivery and acting as advisors for people in their community. 85% of Americans are stressed about money and the answer to alleviating this stress comes through education and easy delivery of services to customers. Providing transparent information and sound guidance are incumbent on those who offer financial services.
We can improve financial health through better understanding and relieving friction in the customer experience. At Celerity, we work with financial institutions to better understand their customer journeys and to eliminate pain points in the process so that their members and customers have better experiences and ultimately end up more financially healthy.
So where can you look for more information?
Jason recommends some great sources of information
- QED Investors – Frank Rotman (Hot tip: Follow him on Twitter)
- Cornerstone Advisors – Alex Johnson, Ron Shevlin
- Fintech Business Weekly – Jason Mikula
You can learn more about Jason Henrichs via Alloy Labs and by listening to his Breaking Banks podcast. Jason also recommended The Soul of Money, The Art of Happiness, and Beyond Good. Even with his focus on banking, money, and financial services, Jason reminded us that the greatest richness is found in happiness and money is a part of that, but not the goal.
Watch the full episode
Tune in to the full interview below to hear more from Jason about their organizations’ ongoing digital transformation. And don’t forget to follow Celerity’s LinkedIn page to find out about upcoming LinkedIn LIVE interviews.
Are you ready for the next normal?
Interested in learning more about how to build business resilience to thrive in the next normal? Reach out today. And make sure to find out about future episodes in the series by following Celerity on LinkedIn.