Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 9 months ago

181) #ExponentialInsights - Banking AI: Humanizing the Exceptional


Banking institutions have compiled mountains of data on their consumers.

So, why aren’t they using it to serve their customers better?

The leading cause of personal anxiety in America is financial stress.

Banking AI like the EmpathyEngine uses financial organizations’ information to pinpoint the needs of their consumer base and help alleviate uncertainty.

Today, I’m speaking with Blair Gatchel, VP of Sales and Growth at Bond.AI, to discuss the role of AI in nurturing people’s financial health through empathy.

In this episode, we explore the future of data analysis in banking through augmented learning.

Join us as we discuss:

  • The role AI plays in interpreting customer finances
  • How financial stress impacts personal well-being
  • How empathy is vital to understanding and helping meet the needs of consumers through data analysis

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

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.

... better meet their needs. And you know in are we? You can literally quantify that. You're listening to banking on digital growth with James Robert Laigh, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating ten times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series, where James Robert Lay 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 in Hello, I am James Arbert Laigh and welcome to the one hundred and eighty first episode of the banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome Blair Gatchel to the show. Blair is the VP of cells and growth at bond dot AI, a human centered AI platform for financial brands powered by its proprietary epathy engine, which drives financial wellness. Welcome to the show, Blair. It is so good to share time with you today. Man, thanks a lot on thrilled to be here to the really looking forward to this. Well, before we talk ai for banking, Ai for good, what is good for you? What is going well personally or professionally? It is always your pick to get started here on the show. Well Spring has sprung in Atlanta. Beautiful Day here is my favorite season. Thinks start to bloom and it's just it ends up being beautiful, and I'm hopeful that that we are heading towards a path of more malice or towards normality here. I think it's that idea of hope that really inspires me. I know it inspires the work that y'all are doing over at bond dot AI. Let's talk about that. Let's talk about Ai for banking, Ai for good, because, on the note of Ai for good, I want to start off by doing some good, by putting maybe the hearts and minds of others, of some who might be listening. Or maybe it's their peers, their colleagues, especially those working on the front line, because I know when some people here Ai, they think is a robot going to take my job? So what's your take here? How can we do some good to begin with. All right, so I got to get nerd went with this discussion here. Let's do it. So yeah, there's there's two visions of AI, and the first one is how, too thouse write the robot that's going to take over the world, and I don't think that's what it is. I think it's the Jarvis suit and iron man. MMM, so it's augmented intelligence as opposed to necessarily artificial intelligence. Without the suit, Tony Stark's just a...

...really smart Ridge Guy. We got lots of those that you put the suit on them, the technology and all the sudden he's a superhero. Yes, I don't think the bots are coming to take the jobs. I think the bots are going to come in too technique a superheroes here. I like that analogy. It's the elevation of what I call the human potential. It's allowing it's allowing us to do even more than what we were previously capable of. It's going to be a tool to and I'm going to pull from the founder of four seasons, to really automate the predictable so that we can humanize the exceptional. What's your what's your take on that? That's that's fantastic, but that's exactly, you know, the promise of these types of technologies. Yeah, you know, let's spend our time on the stuff that's really impactful or really difficult. You know, and I'm sure we're going to talk about human centered design as we we go through this this conversation. That is the critical element of all of this and the butt can't do that. Hmm Right, you still need Tony Start to be able to add that human element to the the technology. Well, that's where, like, I'm thinking about this through the Lens of what I call the for exponential growth in vironments that I'm really framing my second book around, banking on change. We can be spending time learning, we can be thinking, we can be doing or we can be reviewing, and where I see a lot of us get stuck is in that doing quadrant. But that's where I think we're going to be able to elevate some of the activity, particularly the repeatable and the mundane, to automation, to Ai, and that's going to empower us to review, to learn, to think to do even better. And we're to come back to human center design here in a bit because I think, to your point, it's about doing important, full, meaningful work that creates value and has an impact. I want to talk about financial stress, because financial stress, it's taking a toll on our society. I'm calling it really the next epidemic. It's the silent epidemic, and we know that eighty five percent of Americans fill some sort of financial stress. That stress actually goes globally and that stress, what's it doing, is taking a toll on people's health, relationships well being. where? Where is the opportunity here to maybe remove some of the stress in the anxiety inherently tied to money? So I think you nailed it. You know, I saw a statistic just randomly. Two thirds of Americans right now or live in paycheck to paycheck a you know, in particular, coming out of...

...this this pandemic, kills productivity. I mean there's a definitely a work component there. But what I think is is interesting and and honestly, kind of problematic, in particular in financial services. The Financial Services has the opportunity to really provide that help, but quite frankly, they're not. Why is that? Yeah, if I can be opinion, that's how that's what we're here for. We're here for good dialog, discussion to discourse, because all transformation that leads to future growth starts by telling the truth. That I'men I have I'm strong of opinion and sometimes or even accurate. So I think the industry is doing it wrong. I think the industry is right in thinking, thinking in terms of personalization and even hyper personalistation to drive kind of technology and interactions. But but consumers don't want more efficient transaction, transactions. That's a table stick. Yeah, right, I mean it. You've got to be able to transact quickly or they're just going to move on something else. What they really wants help with their money. I saw a survey a couple of years ago now the Sumber of two thousand and twenty. Two thirds of Americans basically said that they're not they don't see benefit from their relationship up their primary financial institution. Yeah, and the rise that the NEO banks is the proof point of that. Well, in what they really want is that. In frankly, let's be honest, if you have a lot of money, there's a lot of people out there to help you with your money, but the rest of the world needs help to yes, and here here's the thing I'm going to talk about being well and doing good, to helping those people. If you help those people with their finances, overturn the favor. I'll help you with yours well be because finances, like is at the heart of everything. You know it, you know up. I always believe if you can transform a person's wallet and the relationship that they have with money, you can transform their life, their physical wellbeing, their mental wellbeing. And I think we're seeing a lot of like we just need to be aware of what's coming down the pipe. I saw Brian Claggett posted today about this whole by now, pay later trend. He said in two thousand and twenty two, by now pay layer is projected to grow by sixty six point five percent to reach eighty two billion and transactions annually. And but he shares a different perspective. Maybe what we need is a save now, by later approach to help manage debt, not accumulate debt. And I think that right there it really flips the entire script on its head, because it's about empowerment. I mean absolutely. I'm have to look that post out. I didn't. I didn't see it.

But by now, pay later is a huge topic of conversation these days and sometimes it's it was a good for consumers, is a bad for consumers. Well, consumers are going to be offered by now pay later. Correct. It's really, I mean it really is flipping that script of all right, how what is the best way for you know, a consumer like a new refrigerator? If you need a new refrigerator, you know the one one you have gone on the blank and it's done. You need a new one. So, and this is a great use of AI and technology, you know, hey, bond, how should I pay for this new refrigerator? HMM. And you know, the data is there. We can see cash flows, we can see data that's coming in. You know, we can that the we call our INFATU, our AI engine, the empathy it. You know, we can see the financial health, in the financial situation of that particular customer and then figure out, all right, this is the best way, you know, to pay for that refrigerator. And you know, maybe it is for payments of two hundred dollars. Here's here's the thing. Then the the engine, can also see in, help adjust the budget, can remind when the payments do so you don't fall into the trap. Right, Yep, but to me it's it's almost you know by now pay laters out there, so I can it's not going away. Now it's a question of how do we make this good for consumers and good for institutions? I think we can. It's a tool, right. It's a tool that, when used appropriately, can create a lot of positive benefit, only if we have the education and the guidance behind it, because otherwise I think that's where people fall into that trap and it would be just a negative cycle that compounds upon itself. You mentioned the empathy engine. This is something that I'm very intrigued about. And before we get to the empathy engine, what's the opportunity to really what I would say is to inject empathy into the overall experience. Where have financial brands maybe have fallen short when it comes to this idea of empathy? So I again another place I'm strong of opinions. It's called financial services. Right, emphasis on service. A service is a helpful act. And kind of going back to my point about where the industry is getting it wrong, the industry is rightfully pursuing personalization, but then it's to sell and that's not what people want. They definitely don't want to. Nobody wants to be sold anything, right. They really don't want to be sold by the institution that's holding their money and what they want is help. And that's what a service is. It's a helpful act. Yes, yes, it's an active service and it's really leading from a servant heart. I'm curious because this...

...word empathy, it's one that I would say could's a little you start to see some people shift around when you when you bring up empathy and leadership conversations and board conversations, when you think about the word empathy, especially in baking. What might others believe about empathy that you would disagree with them on? Sometimes I think people are googling the definition after I leave. But the HUH? I think sometimes there's a big financial inclusion component of what we do. We want to include more people into the top tier of financial services and I think that's good for everybody. Right, and and that's definitely you know, there's there's an empathetic component to that, right, but it's it's not just that. It really is knowing your your customers and your market better so that you can serve better. Right and and that's true across any market. Segment from, you know, a pure of business terms, but there is a human side to it as well, and kind of back to that human centered design component. You know, that human element has to be, you know, considered into how the customer journeys going on to how the engagement is, you know, is mapped out and and process, and that's a component. It to empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another and I think that's that idea of human centered design or what I would frame as even human centered growth. What are the opportunities there to add more empathy into the overall experience? I often talk and and right and coach around, for example, marketing teams becoming experience engineers, but through this conversation I've even seeing an opportunity for entire teams, entire organizations, to become empathy engineers, and maybe a path forward is through human centered design or human centered growth. What is the opportunity there to inject empathy into this overall experience? Love empathy engineers, by the way. That's that's fantastic. So let's I mean I can go at this from the top down and I can go at this and talk about this. I think from the bottom up, and I think I'll start at the top down. And nobody has more data about their customers than a financial institution. Correct candidly, no one does less with that data that a financial institution does. So let's start with actually knowing who your customers are, members are, and I'm amazed at how many institutions get it wrong. Why do they get it wrong? It really is some I think it's some incorrect assumptions. I think it's at lacking that human centered analysis of the you know,...

...of the data, and then understanding to how people use financial products matters. Matters to the institution and it matters to the person and in you know, kind of maybe a little more bottom up here, understanding how and why they use the product is as is as important as just the fact that they're using the product right, right and maybe using efficiently for themselves and for the institution. And they may not. Yes, you know, there may be better ways for that person to interact and transact with the institution and with others. Maybe not, you know, and I think there ends up being this this is who we want to be, but there's a difference between who they actually are and and honestly, I think what people miss more often than not is that there's they're struggles, that there's people that are really struggling in customer basis and member basis, and that's getting I want to get into the the empathy engine here, because I think knowing who your your customer is, knowing who your member is. We talked a lot about personas and I think personas create some conflict because projection biases get intermixed with that. So if we can remove some of that and look at the data, I think personas down to the individual love will. Where might there be opportunities to use data to inform persona development so that we can then make the appropriate recommendations based on the individual, without assumptions, you know, bogging some of that up. So I tell you that I think maybe the biggest issue in in how products are used is anxiety. HMM, and there's a lot of anxiety with money and you know, people don't always understand money, don't always understand even you know, you know well highly educated people don't understand the financial system and how payments work and credit work, you know, works and stuff and things like that, and so understanding and, you know, kind of breaking through that that anxiety is the way, you know, to kind of connect with you know, those those people, and that's, you know, when we talk about customers and members, that's the fact of what they are right there there people. So and I think that's probably might be the biggest human centered design component is, is figuring out how do we break through the anxiety and, you know, and kind of get people connect with people the way they want to be connected with, communicate with them the way they want to be communicated with, and then and help them. There's a lot of I'm a big fan and a big believer in financial literacy, but if you're in a financial whole,... know you don't necessarily need a class. You need a step lef you know, it's I called the GPS experience. These days. You know, it's a Heye, do this and little baby steps. I think it was confucious the journey of a thousand miles begins with the single step. Yeah, well, you know, the path to financial wellness, the path the generational wealth, whatever it is, begins with a single dollar and, you know, a little baby step and it's progress and then you know there's positive feedback about that. You know, today, do this tomorrow. You know, do this and you'll save twenty dollars. You know, the next day to, you know, pay off your hidous credit card. That with, you know, deconsolidation one will save nine hundred. You know. I mean, I'll a sudden. These things start adding off in in you know, and it breaks through that anxiety. Digital growth is a journey from good to great, but sometimes this journey can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming. The good news is you don't have to take this journey alone, because now you can join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and fintext who are all learning, collaborating and growing together. Visit Digital growthcom slash insider to learn more about how you can join the digital growth insider community to maximize your future digital growth potential. Now back to the show. It's what I call the incremental step leads to the X spinancial growth. It's what James Clear Rights about an automic habits, about being one percent better every single day. It creates a compounding effect day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. I'm curious to get your take on this. Coming back to the definition of empathy, the ability to understand and share feelings with another, because I see that there might even be an opportunity to take some of this thinking internally within an organization, because I'm starting to question and ponder imposter syndrome. I work at a financial brand, but yet I'm struggling financially and there's no one to be put it fault. Like like I just's not about blame, it's it is what it is, and I honestly think if we could have more honest, transparent conversations, and I've seen this and I've heard this, there was a VP of marketing who has been developing a community not around financial education, our financial literacy, because, back to your point, I think what people need is the step ladder or the guide, the coach to walk beside them. They were hosting a pretty much a round table discussion and about money and they were getting a hard time, you know, getting people to open up. And you know she did. She told her own story of her own financial struggles and she's the VP of marking at a billion dollar institution. End and guess what? It transformed the entire they...

...started hosting these things monthly and it almost became like a group therapy session, but I think there might be opportunities to look inwards as well. I Know Sun Trust did this when they launched their on up program they brought that internally. So what's your take on this? I because because there's empathy, could cut both ways. Empathy could be externally, but maybe we also need to be empathy, you know, empathetic internally, because a positive employee experience will lead to a positive human experience that can be multiplied through a positive digital experience. Absolutely. I spent some time as an army officer. We see use the term you got to eat turned dog food and you know, maybe not as as you know. Pleasant of an analogy, but financial wellness is starting to be a trend, not just in banking but in employers. Yes, and it should be. You know, financial anxieties number one anxiety. It's a huge distractor from from work. You know, let's we can connect this directly to financial services. I don't have anything I want. I want to help it. I don't have the numbers on the top of my head, but I want to say from resource that we've done it. The average cost that financial stress or financial anxiety puts on an employer is around five thousand dollars per year per employee. Now multiply that out by the more employees and now we actually have a really good use case here. I'm sorry to interrupt, I just wanted to actually put like a dollar amount so that we could get some context on the toll and the cost that this creates at the organizational level. Absolutely, and so kind of illustrative story. Somebody that's young as a really thing credit file, goes to apply for a car loan. Right, they get turned down because they don't have any credit. But in order to have a job you need a car. In order to have a car you need a loan. In order to have a loan you need a job. Right. So they go to the one of the buy here, pay here lots and they pay twenty percent interest instead of six. Yeah, now they don't have the cash float for the repairs, right, pop, attire, whatever it is, and so they missed work and they don't get paid and the employer has to fill in whatever it is right, time and a half, you know, fill in. This is cost everybody. Yes, so we find a way to say yes more often, and there are ways to do that. Technology and data can help you know, more inclusive, you know, credit decisioning. That person gets involved in the top tier of financial services. This is an asset for the institution, which is a good thing, you know, profitable. Everybody wins except for the you know, maybe the exploitive lenders out there. This is a good thing right in and it does have an impact on the employer as well. You know, it should... more than just a transactional Patrick. MMM. and loyalty goes both ways. Empathy goes both ways, you know, and it is starting to be a big trend in benefits. But I you know, certainly financial services should leave the day there in taking care of theirrah. Yeah, you lead, you lead by example, and I also think too, that will build stronger cultures, will build stronger teams, will build stronger organizations by maybe leaning in and having some of the difficult conversations. Look, you know, I I've started talking out of the podcast. In Two Thousand and twelve I took this organization through a transformational experience. I took on personally six figures worth of debt. It was not a pleasant experience, but I think a lot of what I felt through kind of the the the shadow of the Valley of death, the dark night of the soul was man. I know what it feels like to like have like extreme financial anxiety and even going into therapy and talking through and realizing where this anxiety was rooted in. It was family of origin, it was my upbringing, it was my environment, and I'm like, you know what, it doesn't have to be this way. There's a better way forward and it's through these conversations that I'm facilitating. I'm hoping that we can all make the world a billion times better by getting a billion people beyond financial stress towards a bigger, better, brighter future. I'm curious because we're talking internally, empathy, internally, empathy externally. These are habits, these are behaviors. Empathy Eq emotional intelligence is like a muscle. It can be trained, it can be strengthened. What's the opportunity there to build this up? So I think I'm going to go kind of more top of that institution when I you know, I think about this in a little bit of of who your customer member really is. The date is there right. If you look in that transaction string, you can see where your products meet your customers needs and where it doesn't, and where they go to competitors and then you can see where they have needs with you know, this is where artificial intelligence is going to come in here, but you can see where they have needs that aren't being met, that they don't even know about yet, right and in then start, you know, kind of mapping out that journey, how those people are going to interact with your institution and how are we going to tailor our products to best meet their needs. But that concept of needs is what's really important. It's not how we're going to sell more stuff, it's how we're going to better meet their needs. And you know, in are we... can literally quantify that. Yeah, so just what I just said right there. You know where you have customers. That's easy, and the value of that. You can look at those competitive relationships, do some averages, go to good value of that and then look at, you know, those unmet needs, some averages and get a value of that. That's how big in numerical value the opportunity really is. Yeah, and you know, there's real money. They're right. People talk about Wallet Share. How big can the Wallet Really Be? Right, that's you know, how big can retail on a business be? How can how big can the small business business well, and and and that's where I'm even looking at this as more like a platform to platform opportunity because if you, if you break this down, there's like three levels. There's product. Products have the potential to be commoditized though packet package, the product up though, uniquely wrapped around people specific pain points, and you begin to build programs and programs, when combined and unified, that really is the platform of the organization. It's the higher purpose that the organization is working towards. So I see that there's, Babe, even potential to do platform and platform collaborations that we've never even really considered in financial services. So, for example, financial health, physical health, financial health, mental health, like, I mean you got APPs like calm, for example. You know, you could build that into the to the mobile digital banking experience. Tie that with an AI in Jin is like, Oh, you need to like and like I'm literally wearing a Garment Watch right now that tells me when I need to slow down and it's cool, but I got like, you know, I see my heart rate, I got my stress level and, because we're doing this right now, my stress levels pretty high because I'm like superstokes and excited. But then I have what's called my body battery, and my body battery will tell me how much energy I have left in the reserves. Like do I have enough to go run? Do I you know, should I just go lift weights? So I'm even using some of this to like, and it's made a huge difference of taking my own personal health data. I don't know, like I'm just like going down to like a little, you know, blue sky exercise in my mind with this right now. But that would be fascinating to see. Think you may have just sold garment a new watch, but that sounds awesome. I mean that's that's that's exactly, I think, where all of this can go. It's not just about financial wellness. It's about wellness in general, right, and we need we need we need we need a we need to get a Niche Bank for runners. A little side right there, but it comes back to financial one was continue right. Yeah, we got to finance the shoes every anyway. Exactly. Yeah, you're running through the treads on that. Absolutely, but it is about, you know, overall wellness in in you know, you start somewhere and and we have big plans about expanding beyond just, you...

...know, finance and financial wellness. That a logical I mean there's kind of two tracks there. You can connet connect into environmental wellness and sustainability and and then logical next step is, you know, mental wellness and emotional wellness. Again, number one stress money. Yeah, you know, and you know, and how to just keep people in the process of behavioral change. Right, I often say that saving money and losing weight simple, just simple man. Yeah, right, but it's not in that behavioral change that kind of needs to happen to to you know, kind of make better financial decisions or that, you know, to start saving money and the kind of, I call it again getting nerdy here and video game terms, leveling up. You know, we want to help people go from living paycheck to paycheck, being savers, being investors, to being, you know, kind of wealthy. We want to help them level up there. You know, people that are struggling financially don't just need to make better budgeting decisions. are usually really good at budgeting. It's just the least bad decision that they're you know, but they have to choose. But at the same time, you know, helping you know, people make better decisions, just like in weight loss. Right, right. Well, I think that's that's where, once again, like these platform Collos Oberations, like you got weight watchers doing one thing on one side. Maybe there's a collaborator collaboration opportunity there. I'm also thinking of Joyce martyr, who's been a previous guest. She wrote a book called the Financial Mindset Fix, a mental fitness program for an abundant life. She's a psychotherapist and she identified patterns in her practice. Because there's so much behavioral economics now we can tie up into this, which is why I recommend, you know, leaders financial brands of intex read, like the works of Bj fog read, atomic habits by James Clear, because it really is about these micro improvements, not this massive transformation that happens all at once. It's something that you create, these sustainable habits going forward and speaking about habits and starting small. As we start to wrap up the conversation today, and it's been a lot of fun and I appreciate you know, just going down a couple of rabbit holes with you of like the possibilities, because that's where all growth begins. It's like just just doing some exploring in the mind. What would you recommend for the dear listener at their financial brand or at their fintech, their bank, their credit union, do to inject empathy into the experience or to become what we've said today is coined it as empathy engineers. What something small, something simple, that they could just take that first step? I think it was a breast cancer support and there's people walking. I saw it like military...

...guys walking and pink high heels, you know, let's walk up a mile and somebody else's shoes and thinking in terms of how, specifically, you know, different people interact with your brand and how do they transact and in you know, look at it from the other perspective I got, I mentioned before I started my working career as an army officer. They do a fantastic job of teaching like tactical thinking and planning, or in business we call it strategic but one of them is to see the battlefield through the enemy's eyes. Well, you have to see, you know, in any business you have to see the journey through your customer, your buyers on its in it's a, you know, a bit of a mental kind of process, but but it's very valuable and think about that. All right. How To? How and why do people transact with us? You know, what is our value proposition? Why and and you can be really critical there and challenge yourself. You know, what? What? What do we off? Why do people choose us? Right, you know, why do they stay? You know, just because they're too lazy to leave, you know. You know, why do they choose up and and I think that perspective is a good way to start. You know, that doesn't involve TECHNICOL alogy, it doesn't involve big capital expenses, just, you know, trying to change your own mental perspective. Yeah, it really is, because I think here's the thing. When you begin to see things differently, that's when you begin to think differently. But just because you think differently doesn't mean that you're going to do differently. The bridge that goat between the thinking and the doing it's the feeling, it's the emotion, it's the empathy. So for me, like transformation, has four steps. See Different, think different, feel different and then do different as a result, because I think a lot of times it's, you know, where we make decisions based upon feelings and emotions. Just because I can philosophically hold a thought in my mind, but that doesn't always translate into action on the other side, unless there's some type of an emotion spark energy, which what is energy? Energy is, you know, emotion, energy and motion right there. So to me, like that's it's that idea of see, think, feel and then do, which comes back to this idea of human centered growth, human centered design. Blair, this has been a lot of fun. If someone was to consider the conversation we started, what's the best way for them to do that? I, you know bond at Ai on the web. You can look us out. I'm on Linkedin. I think I'm the only Blair gatull out. There aren't many gatules and certainly aren't many players either, and I you know, blare at ont Aif you want... send me an email, I would love to continue this, this conversation. It's an important one. It's one that I'm hoping that we can have more discussions around at a macro level to help people seed different to help people think differently than the field, differently and ultimately due differently, because together we can make the world a billion times better by guiding a billion people beyond financial stress towards a bigger, better brighter future. Blair, thank you so much for joining me for another episode of Baking on digital growth. Thank you, James. It's been a real pleasure. I've enjoyed this. Hopefully we can not do it again sometimes, let's do it 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 Leigh. To get even more practical and proven insights, along with coaching and guidance. This it digital growthcom slash insider to join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and Finn Tax until next time, be well and do good.

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