Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 month ago

149) #NewStartsNow - Partnerships: More than Mere Survival

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

As the world moves more and more to digital, there is a misconception that partnering with a Fintech or financial brand is a partnership based on survival.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

The best partnerships are ones that benefit each member.

Today, I’m joined by Allison Netzer, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at NYMBUS, and Margaret Hartigan , CEO and Founder at Marstone, Inc. as they share how they're making that a reality every day.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Why wealth management isn’t only for the rich
  • How partnerships are shaping the future of finance
  • Why the most successful partnerships are between equals    

You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify , or here . 

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player.

...money has no value without theactivities of life mm mhm Mhm. Mhm. You're listening to banking on digitalgrowth with James robert. Ley who believes there is no better time thannow to educate and empower financial brands to gain a fresh perspectivearound future growth opportunities. That's why today's episode is part ofthe new starts now series brought to you by Nimbus who offers a complete setof tech tools and services, all designed and engineered to empower youand your financial brand to maximize your future growth potential greetingsand hello, I am James robert ley and welcome to the 148th episode of theBanking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the newsstarts now series and I'm excited to welcome Margaret Hartigan and Allisonnet sir to the show, Margaret is the founder and Ceo of MAr Stone on amission to enhance financial literacy, deepen financial inclusion and humanizeFinance for all. Allison is the chief marketing and strategy officer atNimbus who is empowering financial brands to transform their capabilitiesto drive value and maximize growth in today's digital marketplace. Welcome tothe show, Margaret and Allison, it is so good to share time with you both. Hi,thanks for having me, good to see you, Thanks for having me. You know, Ialways like to start things off on a positive note here. Something good,something exciting, something That's been going well, what is that right nowfor both of you? one thing. One thing that is good personally, professionally,it's always your pick to begin. Well, it's always a good day in austin texasSun is out and I know it is where you are, I think what's going well for meright now with the team were growing rapidly at Nimbus as you know, andwe've got some really cool teammates joining us on the marketing andstrategy side that we're going to be...

...announcing in the next week or two, soI'm pretty pumped about that. Growth. Growth is good, Growth is exciting andit really is energizing. I'm looking forward to those announcements and bythe time this airs will hopefully get that out and people will know exactlywhat that is. So you have to wait and see. You actually come back and followAllison on, linked in to get the low down on that Margaret. What about you?What's been going? Well? Um similar teams growing, we're seeing a lot ofsuccess, but particularly really excited about our collaboration withAlison and Nimbus and really the Community Bank credit union space whereit's really fun to be able to bring wealth management to theseorganizations who maybe didn't think it was an opportunity in the past. Verymuch so in collaboration is a key part of growth. It is a key part of bringingtogether people together for good and this idea of wealth management, youspent 10 years here As a financial advisor, 2000-2012 before foundingMarston Back in 2013, I want to hop into the, to the DeLorean of the mindand let's take it, let's take a trip. Let's go back to 2000 and eight, thegreat recession. I'm curious, you know, being in wealth management as afinancial advisor, what did that time period have on you? How did the greatrecession help you see things a little bit differently when it comes to wealthmanagement, when launching marston? That's a great question. So, uh, inaddition to gray hair, it gave me a new perspective on people um, when Iremember I was client facing. So every account was the personal narrative. Itwas a special needs trust. It was a college account of mortgage or whathave you. And so what I recognized during that period of time was thatthere were three challenges. The first one was most people lack financialliteracy and that doesn't mean that they weren't right. It just meant theyweren't familiar with the language of investments Or correlations of assets.The 2nd 1 was when President Obama got elected, there was concern that maybethe tax code would change. And I started seeing money move acrossgenerations pretty radically and...

...earlier than people anticipated. So Ithought, wow, how our institutions going to keep their arms around thosedeposits and those investments when this money moves because remember like,you know, I'm the oldest of five, most, none of us actually bank at the sameplace as our parents. Right? So how do we safeguard against this. And thenlastly, the systems that we were using were very paper driven and the systemsdidn't speak to each other. So they were silos versus ecosystems. So havinglived in san Francisco for a long time, I knew that we had to have technologiesthat enabled both the institution in the in their bankers or financialadvisors, but really the clients too because we're not prepared for that. Sothat that was really, that was the big item for me, it's packed to stay now,but technology does change consumer behavior and our industry was veryremains very late to it. So you're 100% correct. Technology does drive consumerbehavior. It also drives, you know, new competitive threats as well. We'reseeing that. But on the flip side it also drives the potential forcollaboration which is where you and Alison have been doing a lot ofthinking around, I want to stay right here for just a bit Alison becauseMargaret, you, you mentioned people, people really being at the core, thecenter of your thinking here and Alison, you and I have had many conversationsabout the people problems, the people problems when it comes to money andreally the emotive side of managing money at Nimbus, you spent a lot oftime listening listening to people listening to financial brands aboutsome of these problems, some of these challenges, listening is core to theculture at Nimbus. What have been some of the big pain points that people feelwhen it comes to managing money. What have you been hearing here? Yeah, Iknow excited to talk a little bit more about that. But first you want tocongratulate Margaret on, on all of marston's recent success. There theredefinitely 11 to watch, not only in the wealth management space, but I thinkbeyond. So I just wanted to be able to...

...tell her that kind of quasi in person,but James robert, you mentioned the emotions people feel when it comes tomanaging money and it's connected to the emotions that they feel that we allfeel when it comes to managing life, right? Money has no value without theactivities of life. And there was a recent survey called Mind over Money byCapital One and the decision lab which I know you're familiar with and itnoted that three and four americans feel anxious about their financialsituation. 58% feel finance controls their lives and 52% have difficultycontrolling their money related worries. That adds up to over 100% if you thinkabout people feeling it controls your lives and then they can't control theirworries. So in a word, people are anxious is when we say it and with our,just from from our example, our bank for newlyweds hitched, which we've donea lot of first person research on, we found that Future financial security astheir number one concern are working conversations with business owners, youknow, we found the same thing, right? Business owners or people too. And Ikeep keep repeating that, I'm going to keep repeating that. So business ownersare concerned and have have that fear and that anxiety about theirlivelihoods, but also are worried about their impact on the businesses thatdepend on them. And we often kind of forget about that part. So all thatsaid, emotions are energy, We need collective energy to, to drive the typeof changes that I know the three of us champion in our industry, meetingpeople where they are, understand where they can go and definitely beingaccountable beyond the technology motion is definitely our energy and alot of this does come back to well being because there's the financialwell being aspect and even TD has done...

...some studies around this showing thecorrelation between a person's physical well being and their financial wellbeing, their financial well being and their mental well being and when moneyis stressful, money is confusing, money is overwhelming than it can take a tolland really impact things in a not so positive way. I want Margaret, I wantto expand maybe a little bit further on Allison's thinking here, dig deeperinto some of these challenges specifically when it comes to wealthmanagement, both from a consumer perspective as well as from a financialbrand, a bank, a credit union. What are some of the problems that we must bethinking about? We must be aware of here that could, could hold things backfrom moving forward to creating a bigger, better, brighter future for forothers in this space. One thing I came from both management, I have to say, Ididn't fully appreciate or understand banking all sides of banking until Istarted working with banks, right? They have very different back end systems.They uh many bank operators haven't rotated through all aspects of a bank,so they aren't really bilingual in their understanding of each other'spain points and process. Um but I think what I do think you see is this massiveconvergence of everyone getting into each other's swim lane. So the firmslike Merrill lynch or morgan Stanley, they have what they call cashmanagement accounts or beyond banking. To a layperson, they act like a bank,you can pay with things A. T. M. They do mortgages, etcetera, etcetera,legion companies are now starting to get into banking and they're startingto get into wealth management. So I think that the world has changed andyou need to collaborate, it's very difficult to be all things to allpeople and I think we all have to offer more service lines than we probably didbefore. And so I think there's a huge opportunity for banks and credit unionsthat typically don't offer wealth management. These, I actually thinkit's a very important strategy to...

...protect their deposits as I highlightedearlier when a small business owner has a liquidity event or if there's ainheritance. Oftentimes it may not stay at that institution because it may bethe money manager has these other capabilities, right not. So I thinkthere's a huge opportunity. Fin techs have firms like Nimbus and what nothave made it easier for people to offer a niche bank or de novo bank thatenables that their cost to serve to go down dramatically. And I think byoffering these additional services, it enables you also to enhance like yournet promoter score and the average number of services per company. So Ithink people would be very surprised by how accessible the cost structure is toactually launch these programs, whether it's, you know, nimbus or marketing,but I also think they really have their hair blown back by how fast they'redeployed. Yes, yes, that speed the speed to market, but that's also thesimplicity as well. You mentioned something, this idea of what I willcall here, the great convergence and you've got, when you mention legioncompanies, I think of like a nerdwallet for example, offering some of theseservices that was more of a content play to begin with and then now they'reflipping it on its head and bringing these services to bear in themarketplace. And you mentioned collaboration. I I see collaboration,as I mentioned before is a path towards exponential growth because of this ideaaround speed, it's way too short cut to create new paths to solve big problemsfor people, How are you two working together to collaborate to create valuefor people by humanizing finance and and and and also from from the internalside, empowering and simplifying some of the back offices the processes ofthe systems, what does collaboration look like for the two of you? So I'mvery fortunate that that Margaret and I collaborate together in in several waysand and then we'll get into partnership...

...best practices in a little bit. Uhcurrently, I mean we're working with mar Stone on the concept of wealthmanagement within niche segments in both consumer an S and B. And and so,you know, you've got I think two very different but but holistic offeringscoming together and just like Margaret mentioned, you know, she's learned alot about banking, you know, in this partnership, I've learned enough to bedangerous about what wealth management and when you talk about the the humanside of banking and then also this simplification of backend processes,you know, um you know, Mark, you said before wealth management is notnecessarily for the wealthy, right? A lot of it is the looking forward thefinancial literacy, a lot of things that financial brands are doing todayin trying to humanize, right, higher level of service, looking towards thefuture financial literacy setting goals, those are the ingredients for wealthmanagement, we just sort of, people sort of have a visceral reaction whenyou say a wealth management, right? You think of a big desk, you think of newyork, at least I do. Um and you've got to like be super rich and but theplanned fullness, the literacy, the thinking of your family, the legacy ofyour business, those are human things that wealth management Cannon shouldhelp with. And again, like myself, my team, the broader team at Nimbus, I wassurprised at how easy it would be for banks and credit unions to be able tooffer wealth management when they don't. That's a great point. This idea of whatI would call the democratization Of wealth management because what you justsaid, financial management wealth management is not just for the wealthy,that's a misconception right there. And...

I'm curious, you know, Margaret, you'vegot 20 years of experience in wealth management, what might be some of theother misconceptions and misunderstandings? Financial brandsmight have around this subject. What could be holding them back from, frombringing this capability in, because we're talking about collaboration,we're talking about simplicity, we're talking about empowering people withknowledge, which with, with education here. Sure, I think part of it's adifferent regulatory oversight, so that might be, you know, certain bankers whosay maybe I don't need another regulator. Like in my but there are new business models. So,you know, for instance marston, we are a registered investment advisor. We canbe the regulatory regulated entity and we can manage the money and actuallyrevenue share back To the client and in that model we can stand someone up in30 days. I think, I think it's the cost. I think it's maybe the uncertainty ofwhat it takes on the regulatory environment. But you know, we've workedtogether to come up with like really easy bullet points to almost getstarted quick guys. And you know, we're also, we want to be a great coach. Solet's say that someone wants to start out, they want to date the wholebusiness, They want to date us as a provider. But then once they get theirsea legs, you might say, hey, you know what, we might want to take this backin house. And there's all sorts of flexible models. Like I think like wewant to be a player coach with folks and want to help them kind of explorethe entity. But going back to one of the things Allison said is wellness andyou know, at the end of the day, Dave and plan and based on Maslow'shierarchy of needs its food shelter security. And then bits of aspirationof whimsy and that's true if you're a billionaire and that, that's true, ifyou're financially innocent and just starting out and all of those thingsare actually financial decisions, right? Where am I going to live? How am Igoing to get to work? You know, are my family, Are they safe? And so what wehave done in Alison and her team seemed pretty stoked on it is we've createdthis interactive financial wellness and...

...inclusion planning tool that is alovely compliment to a bank like hitch where two individuals are comingtogether and trying to figure out how much is pooled, how much is separatedand like put guardrails on things. And it's also a great way to actually testdrive. Do we actually have the same values and beliefs about some of theseitems? So I think the partnership that we have is is great on many levelsbecause we complement each other. I never want to be a core. I'm not goingto be launching any banks. I don't think we'll get into both management orJeff. I'm good. But one thing that I think is like her team Alice inparticular in jeopardy, they have a very high EQ as well as I. Q. Andsubject matter expertise and a real commitment to design sensibilitybecause at the end of the day, at least on the most management that's highlycommoditized activity. But what's not highly commoditized is how bank X, Y. Zwhat their value proposition, what their culture is and how they displaythat to the greatest number of people at the greatest cost and the greatestease. And so I think we're very aligned in our design sensibility and are kindof approach today's episode of banking on digital growth is brought to you byNimbus who believes in creating even better financial services for allbetter access, better experiences, better value, all while supporting theentire customer journey. And how do they do this? Offering end to end nichebanking solutions that you can buy or build, providing accountability beyondthe technology and prioritizing impactful, intentional innovation.Instead of chasing features ready to transform what is and create what'snext. Learn more at nimbus dot com, I like what you're, you're referencing acouple of things. Number one addressing the fears, the fear, particularly theunknown. Like this is unchartered territory, there's the regulatoryaspect of this, that's what aspect that I'm really encouraged by. But numbertwo, it's this model of the player...

...coach or what I like to reference asthe helpful guide. You know, we could do this for you, we can do thistogether with you or we can guide and empower and coach you to do this and doeven more there and that really is at the essence of collaboration here andwhen it comes to collaboration. Um uh I'm curious Alison, what can we do tomaybe clear up some misconceptions and misunderstandings that a financialbrand, a bank or credit union might have about collaborating when thingsMight not have gone to well historically in the past and some ofthese these areas um I just had a conversation with Sarah, how about thisin episode 146 and she coined the phrase, it's all about the symphony ofsimplicity. So what holds financial brands back from making collaborativecommitments? Well, you know, I love the topic of misconceptions, it's one of myfavorite things to talk about. So you know, to me, one of the biggestmisconceptions around fin techs and financial brand partnerships is thisthis misperception that it's one of survival, right? This is sort of almostdesperation and that's not a collaboration of equals, right? That'snot what you're hearing. For example, from Margaret myself today, there'sthis misconception that there's this be all end all in some fin techs digitaldrawer. Somewhere that's going to save, you know, save your institutions, savethe world. The truth is that the best partnerships and collaborations aren'teven always on paper, but they are always from a place of abundance wherethe groups and it can be more than two doesn't have to be to the groups havemomentum, they have ideas, they have passion and they just need a structureto make that happen. The partnership is the structure, It's not the salvation,right? It's just a structure. And so,...

...you know, I think two good examples ofthis, certainly what Jason has been doing an alloy labs and of course isMargaret mentioned what we're, what we're doing a written nimbus labs when,when you reference this idea of abundance, I just immediately latchonto that because that's how I view the world competition in my mind, I let goof that a long time ago and it was a very good thing. Truth be told. I tooka little bit of therapy, but we worked through some of that. We got out on theother side and it's a lot better off and, and but I'm curious you mentionedthis idea of partnership and I want to want to come back over to you on thismarket. It's called a partnership rooted in purpose. I think purpose isreally key. There's that alignment and you're touching on this before. So whenit comes to a purpose uh framed around really designing a bigger, better,brighter future for, for people. What do you see some of the biggestopportunities here to humanize finances for people going for? You touched onthis with hitched, but to really make money more approachable, feel lessintimidating, feel overwhelming. How does purpose play into this? And reallya partnership of purpose. It's definitely why we get out of bed everymorning And there's, you know, we're, we've been around for a while in partbecause we were the first ones to move in this space and we did a lot of theback end plumbing on the wealth management side with large financialfirms. This tool that I referenced, maps that we are going live with acouple of clients in first quarter, not everyone is ready to invest. Almosteveryone needs help getting their financial house in order. And so whenyou marry that purpose and then marry it with really great design fidelity,it's not heavy and math and not heavy and jargon. It actually really enablespeople to start playing with opposites, see what the simulations can be andwhen you have a gamified interactive...

...platform or approach like this planplanning tool has people get up the hockey stick really quickly becausethey have purpose, they want to buy a house, they want to send the kids toschool, they want to do those things and when the tool shows them how to getthere, what's very cool is they actually self correct whether it'ssaved more or change the size of the house or the time frame and that isincredible. So then suddenly you have people that actually are empoweredbecause they're educated when they do advance to either applying for a loanor or what have you so, but a planning tool without connectivity to takeaction whether it's banking, lending or investing, it's sort of like a Fitbitand never going to the gym or or working out right, it doesn't work. Sowhat's key is an ecosystem and I think what the Nimbus team has done is itadds this extension two, a planning tool that offers banking and in ourpartnership, we can offer investment and planning well now you have anecosystem where everything is talking to each other and it can be automatedand a big psychological key for success is actually automation. So I think thatthe nimbus opportunity also enables a lot of banks to reach people that theyactually really want to reach. But with their current technologies the cost toserve is so great. So this is pretty exciting for us because there's a bankthat we're about to announce in New England that really wants to extenddeeper into the community, but they can't with the their stead trustdepartment are plus firm or their current core or their current custodian.And now we're being able to come in with a very fast, easy and very cost,competitive platform, good point you make about a planning tool without theability to empower someone to act. It's almost kind of like a Fitbit and an actis an act as you see in digital growth. Topia acronyms abound and maybe it'sjust because 20 years in the banking...

...space, I've gotten so accustomed to anacronym for everything, but I think it's also a little mental hack for thisA. D. D. Mind actually remember things, but but here's the acronym for Act,it's awareness plus commitment equals transformation because there's onething to know what you need to do to get the awareness but you need to havethe courage to act to move forward to make the commitment so that you canreach that transformative state because it's the growth that comes throughtransformation, that's where you achieve the goals, that's where youhouse the business, whatever that might be on the other side. So I really likethis idea of providing that just the knowledge, but then providing reallythe guidance, the recommendations to empower, someone to act with courage.Allison, I want to leap into the mind here of uh financial brand leader andyou're touching on this a little bit Margaret about some of these examples,I want to leap into the mind of a leader here, they're at a bank orcredit union, they're listening to today's conversation, they're feelinghopeful, they're feeling excited about the future here to create even morevalue for their account holders, what might be some of the big opportunitiesfor them to create through collaborative commitments throughstrategic alliances, what one of my favorite places to be as in someoneelse's mind. Um but and I was just checking my fit that actually, andMargaret is correct, if you do not actually walk, it does not registersteps which is sort of where I am at the moment, but I hope the bank andCredit Union leaders are feeling hopeful even before listening, but wetalk a lot at nimbus about how there are no obstacles to growth. Only, youknow, only opportunities not taken. And I think the opportunity for financialinstitutions to create that value through collaboration. It is there. Itreally is, I think especially if you take the mindset I mentioned earlier,coming to the table as equals and from that place of abundance, I think thespecific areas where f I s can...

...collaborate are with smaller well runfin techs that can partner to make incremental changes versus bigoverhauls. A few examples, I think what Katherine is doing a plank, its course,auto books, I think are 22 good examples of that kind of type ofpartnership. And when you look at the data from folks like american banker,even just pull up your app store consumers and business owners aren'tdemanding a revolution. I know we'd like to be in a revolution, like that'smore exciting, but they're not demanding a revolution they want to beseen and heard. And that can often be a, you know, jim's revenue, you're biginto the small steps that can often be just a small step towards the consumeror business owner versus a disruptive technology that could possibly movethem farther away. It's a great point. That idea of small incremental changes,it's it's change just the word. It it set some people off because, you know,no one likes to get their cheese moved. Uh I prefer to seek the solace of theof the norm and what I know to be safe and true, but on the flip side it'sthrough that commitment of transformation, that we can createsomething new together, but when we do it in small incremental bits, the smallsteps, which is where I'd like to wrap up today's conversation, it has beenfantastic and I really thank you both for the knowledge, the thinking, theexpertise that you're sharing here so that we're all learning and growingtogether what are some very small practical steps and maybe it's just onenext best step that the dear listener can take, who is hearing this so thatthey can continue to move forward to make progress along their digitalgrowth journey when it comes to capturing some of the opportunitieswe've discussed around wealth management, around even collaboration,what would you recommend as the next best step forward for them Margaretsomething small, something simple. I...

...think one might be to take an inventoryand audit of what their current client base looks like, you know both fromlike an age concentration diversification because I think we dohave to start planting for the future and you know, so I think that's one andthen figure out what are the right ways that we can go out and start gettingsmaller, younger new clients. I think that that's pretty critical what arethe tools because my guess is that it's pretty concentrated and that that'svulnerability and just elaborating on you know your question but alsoAllison's answer earlier, I just came from in wealth management conferenceand we were talking about Robin Hood and you know different companies andpeople are sort of scoffing at, you know whether average account size is$3000 or blah blah blah. But truthfully that's what Bob looks like in 85. Andso the people who are saying, well that's cute about hitched or you knowthat you know that's nice that people are doing a niche bank but you knowthere are average bank balances is $15,000 or this or that. Well, you knowwhat, look at how big these generations are, you know, I'm in gen z gen x sothere's like five of us but like the generations behind us are large and soI think that banks that aren't looking at how they can retain these assets andacquire new ones. So that's where I would begin look at the audit, look atwhere the A. C. Hs are going, My guess is they're going to stash their goingto Robin Hood, they're going to things like this and you know coined based andall these wealth management firms Schwab fidelity etcetera, they'rebecoming more and more banks and they're doing things that banks can'tdo right now. Like same day settlement and pre funding like Robin Hood andcoin based do. So I think an opportunity like working with nimbus inparticular, a bank can actually be agile and they can do R. And D. And noone's going to lose their job if it doesn't go exactly how they want it tobe because the expenditure is not so...

...great and so I do think people have totest and learn. So it's more than you asked for, but that was just sort of myidea. No, I want to bring that back to really kind of two points. Number oneinventory clients like just take a snapshot of, of where you're at and howdoes that look and project out over the next 10 years. Is that a, is that asustainable model going forward? And then it's like, okay, well you've gotlike you said your ex, well then you got the millennials, then you've gotthose ears, those are, you know, we're going to be probably the most massivetransfer of wealth ever at this point, going from one generation to the nextand and where is all that going to go, where are they going to be? It's onceagain, it's the democratization of money and I think those that canprovide clarity, those that can provide some some help and hope and really hopecomes before help. They'll be in a really good position to guide the nextgeneration forward. But the concern as I'm hearing you say this, well they'renot large dollar accounts at this moment in time. Give it time because ifnot now when, if not who, then then what? So really, really great thinkingright there, Margaret, Allison, what about you? What's the next step youwould recommend to the dear listener to take to move forward with courage andconfidence on their own journey of growth, wow, that is a tough ask tolive up to. I'm going to take a slightly different spin on the wordassets. So I know we're only on video, but I am putting my hands to my head somine is protect the asset which is your mind and give it love, give itattention and give it rest. That's a great point because you know, as wemove forward into this age of ai, into this age of automation, I reallybelieve it's the thinking that we are doing that will create the greatestvalue, not just the doing because it's...

...the doing that has the ability to beautomated that can feel a little bit scary, but if we can detach ourselvesfrom the doing and really wrap our minds around the thinking, we can alldo even better together, Margaret, Allison, this has been a greatconversation, thank you both for the knowledge of the insights. If someonewants to continue the conversation with you that we started here today, what isthe best way for them to, to reach out and say hello Yeah, for me, I'm theLincoln junkie. So that's uh that's the best way to get all my info there. Goto linkedin, connect with Allison, learn from Alison, Margaret, what aboutyou? Same, that or em hard again at marston dot com. Be happy to speak withanyone. All right, well thank you, thank you both and thank you forlistening, thank you for joining me on another episode of banking on digitalgrowth as always. And until next time be well. Do good and make your bed.Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on digital growthwith James robert ley brought to you by Nimbus, who is on a mission to bringthe people process and technology together to create new routes to growthfor financial brands and enable them to deliver outcomes to learn more abouthow you can collaborate with Nimbus to maximize your future digital growthpotential, visit www dot nimbus dot com until next time, be well and do good.

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