Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 4 months 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 whatthey do on a daily basis matters in terms of where they work, what theybuild, how they shop, how they approach life in their community. Mhm. You're listening to Banking on digitalgrowth with James robert lay a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing,sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential bygenerating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part ofthe exponential insight series where James robert interviews the industry'stop marketing sales and fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom toexponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show greetings andhello, I am James robert, ley and welcome to the 108 episode of theBanking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of theexponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome Bradley lima to theshow. Bradley is the author of Beyond good foundered, unconventional venturesand co host of the One Vision podcasts and today we're going to talk about howtechnology is leading a purpose driven business revolution. Welcome to theshow Bradley here, man, it's good to be here. Let me ask before we get startedin this conversation. I just, I always like to start off on a positive notewhat 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 achance to work with every single week is very satisfying. So I work withstart ups and we work with Corporates and doing an awful lot of riding andsort of positioning and strategy with very small, very big. So it's like FromIBM down to a startup with two people or napkin stage startups that arelooking for just advice about where to...

...go next. And that's always been, youknow, sort of the space that I'm happiest and it is being able to sortof take a big old beast and kind of way that's flag and tail at itself and saidyou need to change and then going down to this place where people are makingthat change. Yeah. You know my wife's cousin, so my wife is Lebanese and hercousin is in the mortgage space and he, you know, has been seeing my journeyand he was so, it was like, so what is it, what exactly do you do? And I waslike, well, I'm a digital anthropologist. So I played theintersection 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 toprovide some clarity into what the future could be. So that financialbrands and their marketing theirselves or leadership teams, the future justdoesn't seem so scary anymore because I think there's like that just aninherent fear, right? Fear of the unknown and fear of change. And it'slike that risk aversion, that's a strength of this industry can also be atwo double edged sword. It can also be the achilles heel that prevents us frommaximizing 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. Iwant to start by getting into why write this book in the first place, because Iknow that you didn't grow up thinking that you would ever work in a bank yetalone be tethered to the banking industry for that matter and whatinspired you to make the commitment because it is a commitment to write abook like this. Yeah. And it's also, you know, I think a commitment to writesomething that ended up being during the pandemic. And I think thatdefinitely changed the way that that we approached the book. I think thereasoning behind it was that for the last couple of years we've been workingwith 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 verystructured way and sort of look at good...

...business models that were withinfinancial services. That really demonstrated what they found in a studythat we worked with Oliver Wyman and flourish Ventures, which is part of ameteor media group. That there could be good things and banking and good thingsin financial services in ways that you can help people that actually are stillprofitable and still have good businesses behind it. So that's reallywhat the book is about. Yeah. And I'm right there with you and you you werementioning something like it's just your history, your background that isimparted something on you that is always looking for the good, it'salways 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 pointand then what's the future? What's the vision that you you hope to inspireothers to take a journey and walk down with you together hand in hand. Youknow, I think the book was really that journey. I want people to understandthat 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. Andit's about looking at in a sort of a larger systems way of thinking and thechoices that we make in life really, really matter. And so I started out mycareer, you know, working with financial data and then worked at acredit union and then work to the community bank and then worked at oneof 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 inpeople'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 andthe stress that it puts on people now more than ever before. And really atthe end of the day, people, I believe want three things. They want to, theywant to feel healthy, they want to feel...

...wealthy and it's up to be a Brazilianair. I think wealth that can be measured in multiple states. But all ofthat impacts the what we're all working towards with Maslow's that highyourself. It's the I want to be happy. And when you think about money andfinances it's the thread that connects all three together. And one of thethings that you've noted is you believe inclusivity doesn't require creativity,it requires empathy and that empathy is really the greatest source ofinnovation When we're thinking about the opportunities here too to go beyondgood. And so when we think about empathy, one of the things that I teachis E. Q. Plus A. Q. Is greater than I. Q. In this age of AI. And so where arethe opportunities for financial brands in regards to empathy? Being thegreatest source of innovation in this post covid world that we're allnavigating and journeying through together. I think the most importantthing about innovation and where we have seen things happen is thatinnovation can't just be for efficiencies and can't just point backinto the organization is a form of profit. You know what we found over thelast 16 months of this pandemic is that so many businesses have had to pivotand they did it to survive. They did it so that they could do any sort ofsemblance of normal during this time. And a lot of that though that survivalwas survival of the top survival of the founder of the ceo of the because we'veseen business models just go awry. And the most important things for us tothink about how our business impacts the people around us, people that ourcustomers. And if you're not building something that is helping people, ifyou're not like in financial services, for that reason to actually help peoplewith their own financial lives, what...

...are you doing? Yeah. And that's wherewhen diving into your book Beyond Good, you open up, Referencing the changingtides 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 seentransform through your work through your research, through your experienceand believing now longevity is going to be kind of the new normal here as wemove forward. Yeah. I mean in the last 100 years, well, 150 years, we'vedoubled our lifetime just in the last 100 years. It's 30 plus years. And sowe'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 acrosseconomies, but across countries in our communities is that we no longer canthink about our lives alone. Think about they talk about the sandwichgeneration, 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 olderadults 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 ofthe future of work and how the gig economy is sort of shifting, not justthe way that we think that people driving and delivering and these typeof things, but the whole nature of work is more transitory, the type of jobsthat we have are going to be more transitory and the type of people thatare doing quote unquote gig work or temporary work or just I'm doing thisfor these six months and so on and so on. There's so many changes. And so wetalk 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 thattechnology impacts. And we talked about that intersection and then we alwayskind of drawback to this different examples in banking because we justhave to change our mindset. We have to think longer term. Yes. And I, so Imade an executive coaching program, strategic coach with dan Sullivan andI'll never forget. One of the very...

...first questions that I got asked wasit's called the lifetime extender exercise and the exercise goes likethis Right down the day that you think you're going to die. I think I probablywrote something like, I don't know, 83, 84, something like that. And then backto your point, we're living longer. Health care is improved. Technology istransforming everything. If we get an extension, what do you think that newdate would be? I wrote down 123 and it was more of just a random number that Ipicked up because I always see 100 and 123 o'clock. So I was like, maybethat's a sign playing around in my head. And then the question was is you take123 minus the 85 that's the extra lifespan that you're gonna get. If yougot that, what would you do with your time? That's a really good question. Sowe start writing down what we would do with that extra time. Then the followup response to that was Why are you waiting to do that? Why don't you startdoing that now? And that really set me on a massive course in a massive pathto just think, I think differently. And so one of the things that you note inthe book around this idea of thinking differently. Looking at the trends,looking at the changing tide is inclusion, inclusion has been a growingarea. Focus on opportunity through many different lenses. What are some of thefoundations of inclusions that you note in? Beyond good? And and on that note,how would you frame them as opportunities when thinking about thewhat you call the forgotten? Yeah. So, so when we think about inclusion, wetend to, you know, at least in financial services, think about peoplethat don't have a bank account. As if that's the thing that managed the mostbecause that bank account is our central thinking because that's the waywe make money when we think about the people that are excluded, it's not justpeople that are bank liss. You know,...

...these are people that have beenmarginalized even, you know, if you look at something that's the biggestthing that we look at is the difference in gender. You know, the opportunitycost of being a woman in today's world. You know, it's no different than whatit was 100 years ago, but it's more complex now because more women are ontheir 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 yearsof their life alone because they simply live longer and well, men are kind ofstupid sometimes and that's why they die young, I don't know. But okay so sobeyond gender parody, we talk about people that have been marginalizedwhether it's because the L. G. B. T. Q. Whether there are immigrants comingfrom one country to another. And we talk about this idea that when you'rein banking, it's not about creating a segment around some of these groupsbecause these groups it's life, you're trying to simply help people and youknow, it's it's not when you think about the kind of neo banks that arestarting out like first boulevard for african americans and cheese for asianamericans and you know, daylight for LGBTQ and so on and so on. It's aboutunderstanding your community that you serve and understanding their veryspecific needs and that is really where I am excited about some of the workthat like Jeffrey Kindle is doing over at Nimbus and this perspective of nichebanking and really focusing on solving problems for the few, but at a macrolevel. So like looking for like what are the few problems that a mass numberof people have? Like women, right women, you know, I can't help but think ofSherry Storm and a lot of the work that she has been doing on that subject overthe years with verity moms and then now doing advisory work on the subject. Ijust was having a conversation with another financial brand yesterday andthey were like, well we're looking at like new market opportunities, what doyou think about mom's, what do you think about mothers? And I'm like thatit's a massive opportunity,...

...particularly looking at multigenerational banking because that those patterns and trends get then passed onto the next generation. You mentioned the sandwich generation, I know Ramilike just Saw Romney, Sir Dylan is now working to start up firstly, which isgoing to be focused on that sandwich generation. So one of the things that Isee holds financial brands back around focus and niche ng down if you will isfear, it's like, what are we going to have to give up? Because we've beenkind of commoditized, we've been standardized, but it's like we'regiving up in our own minds, how can we transform that thinking? We're notgiving up or actually creating far more value through focus. Where would thatthought go for you to advise others? Yeah, I think it is in the mindset ofhow short term everything is in this industry and if we're driving towardthe monthly reporting and the quarterly financial reports and are earningstatements, It's the wrong place to start because what has happened overthe last 25, 30 years is that we have completely invulnerable relationship ofany sort of financial institutions sort of place in our life and it's notdigital that has done that. It is financial institutions tearing aparttheir products, tearing apart the services in silo doing these balancesheets within the organization. Even small institutions that are quoteunquote community focused really still have this challenge because they'retrying to compete against chase and they think that that somehow is therecompetition, but they're taking away their own superpower, which is theirtie into the community, which is their place in the community, which is thefact that all of their employees are in their community. And you know, when Ithink about big bank, small bank and I think about the experience of walkingthe streets of Oakland and actually talking to people about becomingmembers of a credit union or going to my select employee group meetings whereI'm talking to the employers or the employees of the segue that sponsoredat the Kaiser Permanente. And I think that was the connection is that youhave lost that in banking. And so we we...

...all wonder why as Fintech started tolike erode Your relationship and why have neo banks like chime have 10, 15million customers and how his new bank and south or South America like eatingup Brazil's market and it's just come on banks did this to themselves.Technology has transformed our world and digital has changed the wayconsumers shop for and buy financial services forever. Now consumers makepurchase decisions long before they walk into a branch, if they walk into abranch at all, but your financial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits,we get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelmingfor any financial brand marketing and sales leader, but it doesn't have tobecause James robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the wayalong your digital growth journey, visit www dot digital growth dot com toget a preview of his best selling book banking on digital growth or order acopy right now for you and your team from amazon Inside you'll find astrategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brandsand it is packed full of practical and proven insights you can start usingtoday to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits. Now back tothe show. I agree and I think that's where you know, it's a good transitioninto what you write about in the book called The Prophet Conundrum. And thisis 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 youexpand 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 youcan get more information and beyond good book dot com. The section onprofit was really about questioning whether or not there were businessesthat could be profitable while they...

...still serve the purpose of helpingpeople. And, and that's exactly kind of a good segue like you said, from wherewe were before with siloed, you know, sort of profitability where depositshave a certain level, you know, that they're basically, they're just to parkso that we can lend it out and everything else. The balance sheet ofthe bank is completely upside down in terms of the value to the consumer andwhat'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 havecredit card debt and not thinking about the consumers profitability. You knowwhat they actually are earning on their deposits are getting in the terms oftheir wealth exchange. This is what happens when you unbundled. And soprofit to me is something that we see companies like aspiration that, youknow, is thinking more broadly about long term climate changes and long termfinancial health of its customers in a totally different way. We see companieslike even financial, which partners with, with Walmart to even now people'spaychecks 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 andthen you're doing 40. Well, we need to be able to like, actually smooth outpeople's income. These are companies that are finding models that arehelping people and are profitable and are growing and, you know, in the endof the day, how much profit do you need? You know, I was part of a bank that wasmaking billions of dollars every single quarter, and we look at Chase and welook at Bank of America and all these other big banks and it's like they'vegot an opportunity to take a little bit of that profit and actually be a littlebit more innovative, solve the needs of the people that are their customers andreach out to more people that could be more of their long term customers, butthey don't think long term enough. I think there's also an opportunity hereto look outside to grow inside. That was a key note that I was giving goingback probably 5678 years now, because I've always been one to look outside ofthe industry. What are the trends, what are the patterns that we're seeing? AndI want to highlight Kendra scott,...

Kendra scott dot com, it's a jewelrydesigner based out of austin texas, and I had no idea honestly who Kendra scottwas before, Christmas 2020, you know, it was the year of the pandemic and mywife wanted to do something really special for, we have four kids and shewanted to do something special for all the teachers, something that we'venever done before, because we were just so grateful for all that they've donefor our Children and their peers from such a crazy year. And so we, welearned 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 exploringthe brand is not only do they provide jewelry there, a purpose driven companyrooted in giving back in the ways that they give back is really around healthand wellness, around education and entrepreneurship and empowerment, allfor women. And I'm like, well, no wonder why there's such a strong brandaffinity, because it's much more than just a piece of jewelry that you'regetting or receiving or giving you're giving to the greater good, with agreater purpose, a greater mission, a greater vision. And when we think aboutthis 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 travelTo? Put purpose at the center of all of their thinking and doing? What wouldyou advise? What would you recommend? As we look ahead 3-5 years? It's kindof like, you know, it's it's this question about, you know, how cantechnology sort of change the mindset of these institutions when you thinklong term and you know, it's it's like trying to fit into an Ai model only onecolor of skin in order to like, you know, envision how to recognize a humanbeing. And you think about the issues...

...that have come up with the way thetechnology tools are built, it's not inclusive, It's a very sort of whitedriven model. So when I think about the biggest advice would be to to look atyourself, look at how you make decisions, look around the boardroomand look at who is a management and who is actually reflecting back at youabout the type of decisions that you make. Are you actually diverse enoughto understand the problems of the communities that you serve and that'swhere empathy comes back into play. And I think if if we can at least be awareof and lean into some of the biases that we might just naturally have andI'm not saying it's wrong that you have, but it's always questioning it'schallenging yourself because I've always said we have this conversationabout digital transformation and why transformation is a challenge and whytransformation fails. And I think it's because we we we we don't we're puttingtoo much of an emphasis on technology and not enough on the people who havingto deploy that technology. And so for me, for digital transformation in thisand in this particular conversation for going beyond good to to really become areality, we have to, there's three transformations that have to happen.Number one transformed the self first and foremost, because when youtransform the self, that's when you can then start to transform the team and wetransform the team, you can transform the organization because organizationsare made up of teams, teams are made up of individuals. So it's almost kind ofcoming back to the the first principle and starting within and I'm curious toknow looking ahead, there's the opportunity and you've addressed this,looking at the boardroom and those that are making decisions what might be someof the biggest challenges and roadblocks for financial brands to beaware of things that could trip them up, things that could hold them back frommoving forward and making progress here. I think of it in the same vein of whenwhen people look at the community and...

...say, well we're serving our communitywell, and this is, you know, this is how and they look at numbers and theykind of tie it back to and and also were profitable. So we must be doingthe right thing. I would ask, why aren't you changing a little bit morein terms of looking at your own data about who you're serving and looking atthis inherent bias that's within our business model itself, about who you'relending to and how we're actually going about acquiring new customers and itstop to bottom, something that I think it's very possible for people to changein an organization for them to really, and still in their teams, a differentmindset to explore new areas. And, you know, I go back to some of the parts ofthe book we talked to David reeling, who's that, you know, founder ofSunrise Banks. and you know, they're up in Minnesota and they have a largeimmigrant community and they've reached out to that community to bringingcustomers that may have a thin or no credit file and they provide loans andthey provide support for small businesses to start and they get backto the community, a portion of their profits and their certified B corp andthat's that defines them and their mission. And it reminds me an awful lotabout credit unions versus bank and the requirements to have Sierra, wherewe're supposed to give back to the community and we have to have locationsthat we serve in particular parts of our community. Because if we didn't, itwould be redlining, etcetera, etcetera. Well, you shouldn't have a model thatrequires and forces you to actually be more inclusive. You should reallyreally think about who is it that I'm not serving? How can I help a littlebit differently? Which is why, you know why we point a lot to fintech modelsthat are big and small That are growing and you go back and you think aboutwhat's happening around the world in Southeast Asia and China and the storythere is that we still have 1.7 billion people that are unbanked or underbankedand giving them access to the system is one thing, but actually enabling themthrough credit to create small...

...businesses and create new forms ofvalue through access to payments, that's another thing. But to actuallycreate them an entire ecosystem where they could save, they could buildwealth, they could move money at lower costs. These are things that the Westhas looked at and made money off of all of those features. Well, in other partsof the world, they're actually enabling these things and they're experiencingincredible growth. They've actually added almost 700 million people intothe actual Banked System. And so when you talk about inclusion and you talkabout the premise of the book, it's that large companies have shown us thattechnology can be leveraged for good, that profit can follow and that peopleare 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 muchto learn from other parts of the world. And that's another thing about lookingoutside to improve what's it, and may I go out on a limb with this one whenyou're financially secure and well off. And the research shows this, and Ithink it was Romney who actually did this study with honey fi, you havebetter sex and so coming back, I just had to putthat out there because you're talking about this, it really is at the core ofelevating people to the next level up and you're talking about David andSunrise and its value value creation. I can't help but think of the GlobalAlliance for banking on value and some of the the financial brands and thework that they're doing there. When we think about change and and and this hasbeen such a tremendous conversation today, it's been empowering, it's beenenlightening, it's been educating just for me. But when you think about changechanges, hard changes, difficult change often begins with one small, simplestep 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 wouldrecommend for the dear listener to put into practice to make progress? I thinkit's questioning to what you're doing and how you're doing it and who you'redoing it too. And you know if I always look back because I just put out apeace and international banker a couple weeks back and I say you know, I thinkthat every single financial business model can change and improve thecommunities they serve, and I said even the largest bank in the U. S. Can shiftnot just a little bit of a few million here in a few million there and feelgood about itself or provide access to maybe s. G. Impact investing optionswithin portfolios. I think it's fundamentally talk to bottom changingan organization by saying how can we do better, how can we improve people'slives? And in our context it's about getting people to be wealthier, gettingpeople 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 beyondGood and you'll find that you're not alone in that call. So I hope Ihonestly hope that what we're seeing the last, you know, 15, 16 months in alot of the last decade is really going to change this industry and that peoplewill really look at the examples that are starting to scale that are givingback more than what we have seen traditionally from banks. So well, Iguess I have to tell you first hand, I'm grateful for the thinking thatyou're doing the work. You're doing the knowledge, the insights that you'resharing Bradley. And if anyone is listening, they want to connect withyou just to grow their network to learn from you. What's the best way for themto reach out to say hello to grab a copy of your book, which I think isextremely important. They do that. And...

...then also continued to learn justthrough 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 comand you can get it anywhere. Books are sold in the world. And we also do havea weekly podcast called One Vision, which is on every place that you listento your podcasts and that one vision. We talked to founders. We talked topeople that are working sort of start ups and incorporates and justthroughout the financial services industry and beyond the other way. Youknow, people can certainly talk to me on twitter. I'm at Leimert Ellie I? Mer and also at Bradley at unconventional ventures dot com. Reachout to Bradley, connect with Bradley, get the book, listen to the podcast andthen help others help your financial brand continue to go beyond goodBradley. This has been a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much forjoining 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 anotherepisode of banking on digital growth with James robert. Ley. Like what youhear, 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 geteven more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growthdot com to grab a preview of James roberts, best selling book banking ondigital growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazonInside, you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framedaround 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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