Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

108) #ExponentialInsights: Creating Value Through Focus in the Finance Industry

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Empathy, diversity, & valuing the consumer are all at the core of why many big banks are losing out to smaller financial institutions. For too long, banking staples have put profit over the consumer experience and people are taking notice.

Bradley Leimer, Founder of Unconventional Ventures, joins the show to discuss pain points for traditional banks and strategies to adopt a new empathetic approach.

What we talked about:

  • Going Beyond Good in Financial Services
  • Opportunities of Innovating w/ Empathy for Financial Brands
  • Inclusivity & Losing Community in Big Banking
  • How to Be Profitable w/ Purpose
  • Roadblocks for Financial Brands to Adopt a Consumer-First Approach
  • Actionable Step for the Listeners

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

I want people to understand that what they do on a daily basis matters in terms of where they work, what they build, how they shop, how they approach life in their community. Mhm. You're listening to Banking on digital growth with James robert lay a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series where James robert interviews the industry's top marketing sales and fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show greetings and hello, I am James robert, ley and welcome to the 108 episode of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome Bradley lima to the show. Bradley is the author of Beyond good foundered, unconventional ventures and co host of the One Vision podcasts and today we're going to talk about how technology is leading a purpose driven business revolution. Welcome to the show Bradley here, man, it's good to be here. Let me ask before we get started in this conversation. I just, I always like to start off on a positive note what is exciting, what is good for you right now, personally or professionally? That's a good one. I think working with the type of clients that we get a chance to work with every single week is very satisfying. So I work with start ups and we work with Corporates and doing an awful lot of riding and sort of positioning and strategy with very small, very big. So it's like From IBM down to a startup with two people or napkin stage startups that are looking for just advice about where to...

...go next. And that's always been, you know, sort of the space that I'm happiest and it is being able to sort of take a big old beast and kind of way that's flag and tail at itself and said you need to change and then going down to this place where people are making that change. Yeah. You know my wife's cousin, so my wife is Lebanese and her cousin is in the mortgage space and he, you know, has been seeing my journey and he was so, it was like, so what is it, what exactly do you do? And I was like, well, I'm a digital anthropologist. So I played the intersection between marketing and cells and technology and human behavior. He's like, so what does that mean? What, tell me what you do? I was like, look, let me make it very simple. I bring the future into the present moment to provide some clarity into what the future could be. So that financial brands and their marketing theirselves or leadership teams, the future just doesn't seem so scary anymore because I think there's like that just an inherent fear, right? Fear of the unknown and fear of change. And it's like that risk aversion, that's a strength of this industry can also be a two double edged sword. It can also be the achilles heel that prevents us from maximizing our potential as a whole, as an industry. And so you wrote a book, Let's talk about the new book here. The new book you have out Beyond Good. I want to start by getting into why write this book in the first place, because I know that you didn't grow up thinking that you would ever work in a bank yet alone be tethered to the banking industry for that matter and what inspired you to make the commitment because it is a commitment to write a book like this. Yeah. And it's also, you know, I think a commitment to write something that ended up being during the pandemic. And I think that definitely changed the way that that we approached the book. I think the reasoning behind it was that for the last couple of years we've been working with so many founders and so many companies that really think differently. And so we wanted to highlight those voices a bit more in in a very structured way and sort of look at good...

...business models that were within financial services. That really demonstrated what they found in a study that we worked with Oliver Wyman and flourish Ventures, which is part of a meteor media group. That there could be good things and banking and good things in financial services in ways that you can help people that actually are still profitable and still have good businesses behind it. So that's really what the book is about. Yeah. And I'm right there with you and you you were mentioning something like it's just your history, your background that is imparted something on you that is always looking for the good, it's always looking for something to be even better. And I'm right there with you. How is that history, that journey that you've taken brought you to this point and then what's the future? What's the vision that you you hope to inspire others to take a journey and walk down with you together hand in hand. You know, I think the book was really that journey. I want people to understand that what they do on a daily basis matters in terms of where they work, what they build, how they shop have a approach life in their community. And it's about looking at in a sort of a larger systems way of thinking and the choices that we make in life really, really matter. And so I started out my career, you know, working with financial data and then worked at a credit union and then work to the community bank and then worked at one of the largest banks in the world and throughout all that sort of experience. I've always been gravitating towards people that are making a difference in people's lives. And it turns out to be, you know, their financial lives. Yeah. Because the thing is, is like, you know, if we think about the role of money and the stress that it puts on people now more than ever before. And really at the end of the day, people, I believe want three things. They want to, they want to feel healthy, they want to feel...

...wealthy and it's up to be a Brazilian air. I think wealth that can be measured in multiple states. But all of that impacts the what we're all working towards with Maslow's that high yourself. It's the I want to be happy. And when you think about money and finances it's the thread that connects all three together. And one of the things that you've noted is you believe inclusivity doesn't require creativity, it requires empathy and that empathy is really the greatest source of innovation When we're thinking about the opportunities here too to go beyond good. And so when we think about empathy, one of the things that I teach is E. Q. Plus A. Q. Is greater than I. Q. In this age of AI. And so where are the opportunities for financial brands in regards to empathy? Being the greatest source of innovation in this post covid world that we're all navigating and journeying through together. I think the most important thing about innovation and where we have seen things happen is that innovation can't just be for efficiencies and can't just point back into the organization is a form of profit. You know what we found over the last 16 months of this pandemic is that so many businesses have had to pivot and they did it to survive. They did it so that they could do any sort of semblance of normal during this time. And a lot of that though that survival was survival of the top survival of the founder of the ceo of the because we've seen business models just go awry. And the most important things for us to think about how our business impacts the people around us, people that our customers. And if you're not building something that is helping people, if you're not like in financial services, for that reason to actually help people with their own financial lives, what...

...are you doing? Yeah. And that's where when diving into your book Beyond Good, you open up, Referencing the changing tides and my gosh, have we seen the tide change over the last, you know, 15-18 months with covid? And so what are those tides that you've seen transform through your work through your research, through your experience and believing now longevity is going to be kind of the new normal here as we move forward. Yeah. I mean in the last 100 years, well, 150 years, we've doubled our lifetime just in the last 100 years. It's 30 plus years. And so we're healthier. We're living longer. Our finances totally don't reflect that. So that is one key thing that is driving, you know, change across economies, but across countries in our communities is that we no longer can think about our lives alone. Think about they talk about the sandwich generation, but the sandwich generation is going to be the norm, you know, where you have young kids in the house and you're helping take care of older adults that are your parents or other people in your family, that's the norm. And so that that's one thing. We also talk about changing tides in terms of the future of work and how the gig economy is sort of shifting, not just the way that we think that people driving and delivering and these type of things, but the whole nature of work is more transitory, the type of jobs that we have are going to be more transitory and the type of people that are doing quote unquote gig work or temporary work or just I'm doing this for these six months and so on and so on. There's so many changes. And so we talk about that. We talk about the rise of the entrepreneur and small business, we talk about all of these different ways that our lives are changing that technology impacts. And we talked about that intersection and then we always kind of drawback to this different examples in banking because we just have to change our mindset. We have to think longer term. Yes. And I, so I made an executive coaching program, strategic coach with dan Sullivan and I'll never forget. One of the very...

...first questions that I got asked was it's called the lifetime extender exercise and the exercise goes like this Right down the day that you think you're going to die. I think I probably wrote something like, I don't know, 83, 84, something like that. And then back to your point, we're living longer. Health care is improved. Technology is transforming everything. If we get an extension, what do you think that new date would be? I wrote down 123 and it was more of just a random number that I picked up because I always see 100 and 123 o'clock. So I was like, maybe that's a sign playing around in my head. And then the question was is you take 123 minus the 85 that's the extra lifespan that you're gonna get. If you got that, what would you do with your time? That's a really good question. So we start writing down what we would do with that extra time. Then the follow up response to that was Why are you waiting to do that? Why don't you start doing that now? And that really set me on a massive course in a massive path to just think, I think differently. And so one of the things that you note in the book around this idea of thinking differently. Looking at the trends, looking at the changing tide is inclusion, inclusion has been a growing area. Focus on opportunity through many different lenses. What are some of the foundations of inclusions that you note in? Beyond good? And and on that note, how would you frame them as opportunities when thinking about the what you call the forgotten? Yeah. So, so when we think about inclusion, we tend to, you know, at least in financial services, think about people that don't have a bank account. As if that's the thing that managed the most because that bank account is our central thinking because that's the way we make money when we think about the people that are excluded, it's not just people that are bank liss. You know,...

...these are people that have been marginalized even, you know, if you look at something that's the biggest thing that we look at is the difference in gender. You know, the opportunity cost of being a woman in today's world. You know, it's no different than what it was 100 years ago, but it's more complex now because more women are on their own for women are living even longer. You know, there's potentially, you know, a large percentage of women that are going to have 20 to 30 years of their life alone because they simply live longer and well, men are kind of stupid sometimes and that's why they die young, I don't know. But okay so so beyond gender parody, we talk about people that have been marginalized whether it's because the L. G. B. T. Q. Whether there are immigrants coming from one country to another. And we talk about this idea that when you're in banking, it's not about creating a segment around some of these groups because these groups it's life, you're trying to simply help people and you know, it's it's not when you think about the kind of neo banks that are starting out like first boulevard for african americans and cheese for asian americans and you know, daylight for LGBTQ and so on and so on. It's about understanding your community that you serve and understanding their very specific needs and that is really where I am excited about some of the work that like Jeffrey Kindle is doing over at Nimbus and this perspective of niche banking and really focusing on solving problems for the few, but at a macro level. So like looking for like what are the few problems that a mass number of people have? Like women, right women, you know, I can't help but think of Sherry Storm and a lot of the work that she has been doing on that subject over the years with verity moms and then now doing advisory work on the subject. I just was having a conversation with another financial brand yesterday and they were like, well we're looking at like new market opportunities, what do you think about mom's, what do you think about mothers? And I'm like that it's a massive opportunity,...

...particularly looking at multi generational banking because that those patterns and trends get then passed on to the next generation. You mentioned the sandwich generation, I know Rami like just Saw Romney, Sir Dylan is now working to start up firstly, which is going to be focused on that sandwich generation. So one of the things that I see holds financial brands back around focus and niche ng down if you will is fear, it's like, what are we going to have to give up? Because we've been kind of commoditized, we've been standardized, but it's like we're giving up in our own minds, how can we transform that thinking? We're not giving up or actually creating far more value through focus. Where would that thought go for you to advise others? Yeah, I think it is in the mindset of how short term everything is in this industry and if we're driving toward the monthly reporting and the quarterly financial reports and are earning statements, It's the wrong place to start because what has happened over the last 25, 30 years is that we have completely invulnerable relationship of any sort of financial institutions sort of place in our life and it's not digital that has done that. It is financial institutions tearing apart their products, tearing apart the services in silo doing these balance sheets within the organization. Even small institutions that are quote unquote community focused really still have this challenge because they're trying to compete against chase and they think that that somehow is there competition, but they're taking away their own superpower, which is their tie into the community, which is their place in the community, which is the fact that all of their employees are in their community. And you know, when I think about big bank, small bank and I think about the experience of walking the streets of Oakland and actually talking to people about becoming members of a credit union or going to my select employee group meetings where I'm talking to the employers or the employees of the segue that sponsored at the Kaiser Permanente. And I think that was the connection is that you have lost that in banking. And so we we...

...all wonder why as Fintech started to like erode Your relationship and why have neo banks like chime have 10, 15 million customers and how his new bank and south or South America like eating up Brazil's market and it's just come on banks did this to themselves. Technology has transformed our world and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financial services forever. Now consumers make purchase decisions long before they walk into a branch, if they walk into a branch at all, but your financial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits, we get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing and sales leader, but it doesn't have to because James robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey, visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book banking on digital growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazon Inside you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands and it is packed full of practical and proven insights you can start using today to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits. Now back to the show. I agree and I think that's where you know, it's a good transition into what you write about in the book called The Prophet Conundrum. And this is an area that I also touched on in banking on digital growth because it's, uh, what is the purpose of profit and what is the profit of purpose can you expand on on those two ideas? So that part of the book we wrote about him, this is we're talking about beyond good, which I co wrote with the allow and you can get more information and beyond good book dot com. The section on profit was really about questioning whether or not there were businesses that could be profitable while they...

...still serve the purpose of helping people. And, and that's exactly kind of a good segue like you said, from where we were before with siloed, you know, sort of profitability where deposits have a certain level, you know, that they're basically, they're just to park so that we can lend it out and everything else. The balance sheet of the bank is completely upside down in terms of the value to the consumer and what's important to the consumer silencing people, you know, in terms of, hey, they have mortgage debt or they have consumer loan debt or they have credit card debt and not thinking about the consumers profitability. You know what they actually are earning on their deposits are getting in the terms of their wealth exchange. This is what happens when you unbundled. And so profit to me is something that we see companies like aspiration that, you know, is thinking more broadly about long term climate changes and long term financial health of its customers in a totally different way. We see companies like even financial, which partners with, with Walmart to even now people's paychecks because, well Walmart kind of enforces this idea that, you know, maybe this week you're working 30 hours, maybe next week you're working 20 and then you're doing 40. Well, we need to be able to like, actually smooth out people's income. These are companies that are finding models that are helping people and are profitable and are growing and, you know, in the end of the day, how much profit do you need? You know, I was part of a bank that was making billions of dollars every single quarter, and we look at Chase and we look at Bank of America and all these other big banks and it's like they've got an opportunity to take a little bit of that profit and actually be a little bit more innovative, solve the needs of the people that are their customers and reach out to more people that could be more of their long term customers, but they don't think long term enough. I think there's also an opportunity here to look outside to grow inside. That was a key note that I was giving going back probably 5678 years now, because I've always been one to look outside of the industry. What are the trends, what are the patterns that we're seeing? And I want to highlight Kendra scott,...

Kendra scott dot com, it's a jewelry designer based out of austin texas, and I had no idea honestly who Kendra scott was before, Christmas 2020, you know, it was the year of the pandemic and my wife wanted to do something really special for, we have four kids and she wanted to do something special for all the teachers, something that we've never done before, because we were just so grateful for all that they've done for our Children and their peers from such a crazy year. And so we, we learned that teachers love Kendra scott, so I'm like, well, who is Kendra scott? What is this brand? And one of the big things that I found just by exploring the brand is not only do they provide jewelry there, a purpose driven company rooted in giving back in the ways that they give back is really around health and wellness, around education and entrepreneurship and empowerment, all for women. And I'm like, well, no wonder why there's such a strong brand affinity, because it's much more than just a piece of jewelry that you're getting or receiving or giving you're giving to the greater good, with a greater purpose, a greater mission, a greater vision. And when we think about this idea of the greater good, Going beyond good, as we look ahead 3-5 years, what is the way forward? What is the path that financial brands can travel To? Put purpose at the center of all of their thinking and doing? What would you advise? What would you recommend? As we look ahead 3-5 years? It's kind of like, you know, it's it's this question about, you know, how can technology sort of change the mindset of these institutions when you think long term and you know, it's it's like trying to fit into an Ai model only one color of skin in order to like, you know, envision how to recognize a human being. And you think about the issues...

...that have come up with the way the technology tools are built, it's not inclusive, It's a very sort of white driven model. So when I think about the biggest advice would be to to look at yourself, look at how you make decisions, look around the boardroom and look at who is a management and who is actually reflecting back at you about the type of decisions that you make. Are you actually diverse enough to understand the problems of the communities that you serve and that's where empathy comes back into play. And I think if if we can at least be aware of and lean into some of the biases that we might just naturally have and I'm not saying it's wrong that you have, but it's always questioning it's challenging yourself because I've always said we have this conversation about digital transformation and why transformation is a challenge and why transformation fails. And I think it's because we we we we don't we're putting too much of an emphasis on technology and not enough on the people who having to deploy that technology. And so for me, for digital transformation in this and in this particular conversation for going beyond good to to really become a reality, we have to, there's three transformations that have to happen. Number one transformed the self first and foremost, because when you transform the self, that's when you can then start to transform the team and we transform the team, you can transform the organization because organizations are made up of teams, teams are made up of individuals. So it's almost kind of coming back to the the first principle and starting within and I'm curious to know looking ahead, there's the opportunity and you've addressed this, looking at the boardroom and those that are making decisions what might be some of the biggest challenges and roadblocks for financial brands to be aware of things that could trip them up, things that could hold them back from moving forward and making progress here. I think of it in the same vein of when when people look at the community and...

...say, well we're serving our community well, and this is, you know, this is how and they look at numbers and they kind of tie it back to and and also were profitable. So we must be doing the right thing. I would ask, why aren't you changing a little bit more in terms of looking at your own data about who you're serving and looking at this inherent bias that's within our business model itself, about who you're lending to and how we're actually going about acquiring new customers and its top to bottom, something that I think it's very possible for people to change in an organization for them to really, and still in their teams, a different mindset to explore new areas. And, you know, I go back to some of the parts of the book we talked to David reeling, who's that, you know, founder of Sunrise Banks. and you know, they're up in Minnesota and they have a large immigrant community and they've reached out to that community to bringing customers that may have a thin or no credit file and they provide loans and they provide support for small businesses to start and they get back to the community, a portion of their profits and their certified B corp and that's that defines them and their mission. And it reminds me an awful lot about credit unions versus bank and the requirements to have Sierra, where we're supposed to give back to the community and we have to have locations that we serve in particular parts of our community. Because if we didn't, it would be redlining, etcetera, etcetera. Well, you shouldn't have a model that requires and forces you to actually be more inclusive. You should really really think about who is it that I'm not serving? How can I help a little bit differently? Which is why, you know why we point a lot to fintech models that are big and small That are growing and you go back and you think about what's happening around the world in Southeast Asia and China and the story there is that we still have 1.7 billion people that are unbanked or underbanked and giving them access to the system is one thing, but actually enabling them through credit to create small...

...businesses and create new forms of value through access to payments, that's another thing. But to actually create them an entire ecosystem where they could save, they could build wealth, they could move money at lower costs. These are things that the West has looked at and made money off of all of those features. Well, in other parts of the world, they're actually enabling these things and they're experiencing incredible growth. They've actually added almost 700 million people into the actual Banked System. And so when you talk about inclusion and you talk about the premise of the book, it's that large companies have shown us that technology can be leveraged for good, that profit can follow and that people are better off for financially and otherwise. And to your point earlier, it's like when you're financially secure, humor, healthy, you live longer, you have better lives and you do more with it, you know, so there's so much to learn from other parts of the world. And that's another thing about looking outside to improve what's it, and may I go out on a limb with this one when you're financially secure and well off. And the research shows this, and I think it was Romney who actually did this study with honey fi, you have better sex and so coming back, I just had to put that out there because you're talking about this, it really is at the core of elevating people to the next level up and you're talking about David and Sunrise and its value value creation. I can't help but think of the Global Alliance for banking on value and some of the the financial brands and the work that they're doing there. When we think about change and and and this has been such a tremendous conversation today, it's been empowering, it's been enlightening, it's been educating just for me. But when you think about change changes, hard changes, difficult change often begins with one small, simple step as we wrap up and we're thinking...

...about empowering financial brands too. Go beyond good. What is that one simple step, that action item that you would recommend for the dear listener to put into practice to make progress? I think it's questioning to what you're doing and how you're doing it and who you're doing it too. And you know if I always look back because I just put out a peace and international banker a couple weeks back and I say you know, I think that every single financial business model can change and improve the communities they serve, and I said even the largest bank in the U. S. Can shift not just a little bit of a few million here in a few million there and feel good about itself or provide access to maybe s. G. Impact investing options within portfolios. I think it's fundamentally talk to bottom changing an organization by saying how can we do better, how can we improve people's lives? And in our context it's about getting people to be wealthier, getting people to have less worry financially. And so at the end of the article I said, you know what, Jamie, I'll send you a book, I'll send you this book beyond Good and you'll find that you're not alone in that call. So I hope I honestly hope that what we're seeing the last, you know, 15, 16 months in a lot of the last decade is really going to change this industry and that people will really look at the examples that are starting to scale that are giving back more than what we have seen traditionally from banks. So well, I guess I have to tell you first hand, I'm grateful for the thinking that you're doing the work. You're doing the knowledge, the insights that you're sharing Bradley. And if anyone is listening, they want to connect with you just to grow their network to learn from you. What's the best way for them to reach out to say hello to grab a copy of your book, which I think is extremely important. They do that. And...

...then also continued to learn just through your podcast that you have, what's the best way for them to do that. Yeah, a couple of couple of ways the book is again beyond good book dot com and you can get it anywhere. Books are sold in the world. And we also do have a weekly podcast called One Vision, which is on every place that you listen to your podcasts and that one vision. We talked to founders. We talked to people that are working sort of start ups and incorporates and just throughout the financial services industry and beyond the other way. You know, people can certainly talk to me on twitter. I'm at Leimert Ellie I? M er and also at Bradley at unconventional ventures dot com. Reach out to Bradley, connect with Bradley, get the book, listen to the podcast and then help others help your financial brand continue to go beyond good Bradley. This has been a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much for joining me on another episode of banking on digital growth 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 growth with James robert. Ley. Like what you hear, tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on apple podcasts, google podcasts or Spotify and subscribe while you're there to get even more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James roberts, best selling book banking on digital growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazon Inside, you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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