Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 4 months ago

165) #Exponential Insights: How Banking Looks from the Outside

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

I’ve often said that financial brands need to look outside their industry for inspiration in order to thrive well into the future.

But how does the industry look to the outsiders looking in?

Well, today's guest, Mary Wisniewski, Digital Editor and Journalist, knows the finance world as deeply as anyone in it — and she has some recommendations for how to improve it.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-wisniewski-3a7578b

Join us as we discuss:

- Open banking and the row between fintechs and banks

- The power of collaboration

- How to stay focused and gain clarity while solving banking’s toughest challenges

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.

You have to think as a banker, like what is going to be this this thing that I can all for, that like doesn't necessarily exist. It will have all the normal standard things, but it's going to be that thing that hook to grab customers. You're listening to banking on digital growth with James Robert Leigh, 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 and hello. I am James Robert Lay and welcome to the one hundred and sixty five episode of the banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome Mary was Newski to the show. Mary is the banking editor and fintech features reporter at Bank Ratecom, and she also has spoken and moderated at numerous fintech events, including future of Fintech, digital banking summit, the money experience summit, emerge and so many more. I appreciate the thinking and the perspective you share, Mary, and I'm looking forward to our conversation today. Welcome to the show, Mary. It is so good to have you on. What is going well? What is going what is going well for you as we get started here today? Well, thank you for sof it's pleasure to be here. And what's going well for me is it's been selling in Los Angeles so I could do a little beach walk over the weekends, Roller Skating my dog. It is fun to walk around and scare people. WHO LIKES TO BARK at people. So now you mentioned roller skating. So is that quads or is that inline? It's quads. It's before the holiday. I was in an amateur holiday show really...

...around the Christmas tree. Yes, that was my big thing of last year. That is that is eat. So the reason I'm asking is my wife used to be on the speed team. Oh well, growing up with quads and it was her, her sister and her brother and they're the three youngest out of six and let me tell you, like so they went from quads and then they went over to the inlines and it was the inlines to where the speed really started to pick it up. And is it? I think it's Bant is, the brand, is a name, or it's I think they're out of Australia and they got, they all got a new pair of quads last year, not quads inlines last year, and I'm telling you, they're going some like really dangerous speeds. So that's so neat. That's so neat to do doing some roller skating. Yeah, it's freet kind of. Yeah. Well, you know, I got to give a shout out to, you know we're talking skating here, to Jeffrey Kendall in the team over at Nimbus, because they sent me over the holidays. They sent me this beautiful custom skateboard deck and I have it up here hanging in the studio, and I was like, I told him, I said I got to figure out how to ride this thing again, otherwise I'm gonna be breaking a breaking a bone or two along the way. Yeah, so I gotta go figure it back out. You'd be looking, I mean sense of customized with your brand. You're going to be like wow, I'm I'm a professional here and exactly exactly. Will speak about being a professional. You are a professional when it comes to covering Fintech trends and what I want to do in this conversation is I want to want to look back to look ahead. And if we roll back in our mind and hopping the deloring of our mind, if you will take a take a trip back, what what have been some of the...

...biggest fin tech trends that's you've observed, maybe the top one two over the last twelve months or so, things that have really kind of just percolated up to the top, things that stand out in your mind? What would those trends be? Yeah, so it's curious because you know in this industry, and I'm sure you know, everything so slow moving. Some of these trends are like years in the making or years old. So now I've covered it for over ten years. Is some of it started, you know, in my earlier days and it's just kind of Christian doing, but something that I've been falling over the years, but it got momented last year. Also. It's, you know, open banking and you know how are APPs pulling in data and you know in the earlier years and me covering this feat it was kind of a fight over you know, banks were being accused of blocking data access and and then the banks would say, you know, we're doing this because it's like we're responsible for this and it's just not safe to do what you're doing. And so you know that that's that fight seems to have become less of a fight and now it's like momentum to really, you know, take this into consideration. So that's one of the trends. I would say gain momentum last year when you talk about open banking and there's that fight versus flight versus. Now it's more of a collaborative approach or we're starting to see the collaboration opportunities to create value together instead of competitively. What do you think is really led to that mindset shift, because I would say it's probably more mental than anything. What do you say on that front? They're well mental that. I'll see. You know, other countries like the UK, you know that it's like law, like you don't want us. Does not like being behind right. I mean we are, we're also not in a way. So competitiveness is certainly one thing and also just you know, the old...

...way screens, preech having people. Nobody likes that. No one's ever like that. It's not reliable way to get data. So, you know, I would say it was just a long time coming. You're right, and I think it's that crescendo of there's been things that have been building up to this point and now we've hit a critical mass that we can really start to move things forward. When you think back over the last year or so, what's been a big surprise to you? Something that you were like Ah, that's interesting and we've talked about this before. And this is the other trend. I would say. It's like, you know, these these new digital bank brands are forming for specific communities. But the one I'm thinking in particular that really surprised me did story on it, was stretch, is an early stage start up that is creating a bank account for the formerly in carce rated. So soon as I stumbled on them, I'm like this is just intriguing as as an audience, but also it's a thing that's so needed, and so that but that really surprised me last year when I first heard about it. You talk, so there's stretch, there's nerve, there's there's so many of these micro niche brands that are popping up. What's the trend that maybe an incumbent should pay attention to? Is there? Is there a path that they could learn from this? Because I literally was just having this conversation yesterday with the they're probably there there between the five to ten billion dollar asset range and they're in our banking on digital growth program and they were talking about this idea of personas and niche and and what does that mean? Does that mean that we exclude and I said, well, not necessarily. I said, this is about focus, this is about positioning, this is about going to market with a lot more intention. and think about like fishing. You you you know the fishing holes that you want to go fishing in and it's much easier to probably catch if you know the right fishing holes efficient as opposed to...

...going out to the mass of ocean and just dragging a net and hoping that you catch something along the way. You're probably going to catch something, but then there's probably going to be garbage tied into that net and just all of this other noise. What's the trend there that others can maybe pay attention to? Is there? What can they learn from those those, those other niche brand examples. Yeah, I mean it definitely depends on the size of the bank, but certainly like comunit community bank or something more like. I think you know, just general digital bank has been commoditized basically. You know, you have you have the chimes, we have the Barrows and you know, appeals to wider audience and in a way no feedbanking is also quoditized. And so you have to think as a banker, like what is going to be this this thing that I can offer that like doesn't necessarily exist. It will have all the normal standard things, but it's going to be that thing that hook to grab customers, and so it needs to solve a very particular problem, I think. And so if you you pick a group, you're going to be better prepared to solve a particular problem. And I would think, as long as you're good at getting your brand name out there, that that would help you capture an audience you when I otherwise have necessarily. That's a great point. You talked about this idea of the chimes and the Varros and the no feed banking that's becoming table steaks and we saw that trend, you know, pop up last summer, particularly around like overdrafts and Alle was leading the way, and now everyone starting to follow that same path and pattern. There and then I'm hearing from a lot of the community brands like, oh well, that was our bread and butter, we really relied on that. Now what's the next step for to maybe detach from some of the the old to begin to create the new? Is that maybe we're open banking comes back into the conversation to create new possibilities, new opportunities. What's your take on that? Well, I think it could. I mean if you're getting better data access, a lot of things are more at your fingertips, assuming you...

...want an APP that's like killing and data from other from other banks and other fintakes. I think a good play a role. Yeah, I think. I think the other thing too is in and I know we're on Shovelin has touched on this, this idea of personalization, because there's that data piece there. It's not just personalizing, to his point, communication, it's also personalizing conversation and being able to and this came up in the conversation that I was having the other day with this financial brand and they're talking about big data versus thick data and to not just have access to it, but to be able to practically apply it and use it to create value going forward. Speaking about going forward, looking ahead, what might be the big opportunities oversay the next twelve to eighteen months available for either a financial brand or a fintech to create, capture capitalize on, either independently or working together? I say I would. I would. I definitely encourage working together, because I have it's usually the sintext going to have a mindset that will be slightly different than the banker's mindset, which doesn't have to happen that way, but often I find that that is the better arrangement. I think there's still a lots of opportunities to explore creating a different digital bank. There's just, you know, there's so many banks in the country, in credit unions. It's and so you think, on one hand, wow, we have way too many, but then on the other hands, like there's so many people who still who don't have what they need. And to bring it back to that stretch example, so what they did is they're including job leads for for companies that will hire people with criminal records. So like that is the that is the hook. That is a very important problem to help solve, and so you sort of need...

...to think about how to do that for other populations of the US system. And you're saying to the US of just you know, what can I do that hasn't been done, and then pray to brander of it. God. I want a blue sky on this for a little bit because it's always fun. What can we do that hasn't been done? So we know the the financial health aspect. We know the toll that financial stress is taking on a person's physical and mental wellbeing. I think there's an opportunity to really kind of bring all three of those pieces together. And there's that going even outside of the industry, partnering with, you know, a gym brand. I mean it could be Peloton right. Yeah, just to you get the physical wellbeing aspect there, but then bringing the financial wellbeing and there is also a built in community too. So there's that piece, there's that aspect, there's that element. You mentioned collaboration between fintext and financial brands and you talked a little bit about fintech mindset versus a traditional financial brand mindset. What's driving the two and we were kind of even touching on this before we hit record. What's driving the thinking, if you will, of of these two organizations, fintech versus financial brand, when it comes to the mindset specifically, sure, and this is you know I'm going to it's going to sound like a generalization, and it doesn't. It's not always this way. You certainly find renegrade renegades within a bank, and they're always very intriguing. Yes, people you've never expected. You're like, who are you? Well, there's something in common here. But I think a fin take, you know, is able to just experiment quicker. I think they're throwing out ideas more often, and this is both a PRONACON. Sometimes they're not really thinking about all the roles. So, oops, they break a role in that is a big problem. But also, on the flip side, they're not limited in what could be.

A banker is probably so used to the rhythm of business as it's always been. You know the way to climb the ladder, Y X, Y Z, and maybe maybe you don't even care, like maybe you just want your paycheck and call it a day, and you know, like this is a big problem when you know if you're an entrepreneur, your you're dritted to solve the sithing bigger, something bigger, but not necessarily at a bank. Digital growth is a journey from good to grain, 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 Finn text 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 that idea of entrepreneurship that I'm really interested in on the fintext side to possibly, you know, package some of that up in some shape, way, former fashion and bring that into a financial brand and we'll call it intra prenewership. And I was just talking with the VP of marketing out of financial brand community institution on the East Coast earlier this this week, or last week actually, and one of the things that he mentioned was he has come from the startup world. He likes that, but he was attracted to this financial brand because of the entrepreneurial mindset that they're trying to build within. So that was a really positive statement and one that I'm looking forward to following to see how that really pans out over the next eighteen, twenty four, thirty six months. Is it something that is kind of we're going to dabble in, or are we really going to commit to...

...and go forward? Looking ahead as well, I think it's important to consider potential road blocks dangers that could get in the way that could prevent us from moving forward and making progress. Knowing what you know and and reading what you read and talking to who you talk to, what are some of those roadblocks and danger is that the dear listener needs to be aware of as they continue to move forward on their own journey of growth and the risk from the from the banker side of things correct. You know, I think it's a lot of the similar road blocks. You know, sometimes the projects are taking multiple years and then the person in charge of the budget leaves and then the project goes down the toilet and then you're like, what was the whole point of my life? I mean I was making a bis of my project was brought out, but you know, so that's just one that's always in the way. Broucously is always in the way, but also just getting stuck with like the day to day task, you know, like how do you carve out time to like think about possibilities? You know, like I think that is actually very hard and clear. I mean, you're still in this pandemic and person things aren't happening as much still and and sometimes you lose the brainstorming a bit as a as a result. So that's still a thing that a bank would be up but against. So there's two things that that really kind of bubbled up to my my head when you're talking through that. You mentioned the bureaucracy. One of the things that we did this year, and we do this every year, is for financial brands that are in the banking on digital growth program we always send an end of year gift in it is typically a book to read and something cool to eat. So something we're sending something from Houston out to them and around the world along with the book. And this...

...year the book that we sent was a book called Human ocracy. I don't know if you're familiar with it, but if you're not, I highly recommend a put it on your radar be read it because it is something that I'm seeing as a way to break free from the bureaucracy that holds financial brands back from moving forward, to making progress. The second point was there's another book, and we're talking about open bank, open banking to be in with. There's another book, and I believe the title is called Open Strategy, and it's this idea of strategy happens throughout the organization, not just at the top, but it can happen through all different levels and we need to be open to listen to what people have to say, to what they're thinking, to what they're hearing, to also on the front lines. And that comes back to the point that you were just making, creating space and time to break free from the doing so that we can review what we've done think through that, because if we keep down this path of just checking things off the list, project based, I'm I wish I could say I was hopeful about the future, but I'm not, because the the future becomes the predictable past and we're just continuously repeating the same cycle over and over and over, which I'm addressing in my second book, banking on change, of how financial brands can do that. I'm curious for just your own personal take on this. How do you how do you create that space and time just for yourself, like to reflect, review, to think? Well, that's why you were just making me think of because I am definitely more I'm, I would label myself more of a creative person, but you know, in any given day there's a lot of like tedious things one must do to, quote unquote, fulfill your job right, and so what I get most frustrated with, but I also love the challenges. I was like, I don't like interruptions when I'm...

...trying to do a brain store. So like the slack messages and yeah, like it interfears with like my thought process. So I try to start and in each day, well, I start the day with just reading like industry news and let it sort of like sit on my brain, or I collect things that I find kind of interesting but aren't a full bake story and I put it in an ideas folder. And because I am completely driven by creative projects, so without doing that kind of work, guide feel ill. I think that I usually car at the beginning or the end of the day where I'm like, let me just spend this like thirty minutes even not even that much as a time to like really think through like either story ideas or like video ideas, maybe even social ideas of things that I could do that one would involve in tech or thank good story. That's a that's an interesting point. So there are certain habits and rhythms and routines that you've built into your day so that you do block that time to learn to think and then you can execute and do, but then you're also coming back in review and reflecting, and there's a lot of stoic wisdom in that. One of the authors I've been reading recently is Ryan holiday and his thinking own stoicism and how it applies to modern times. And when you look at the Stoics, they plan the day, they review the day every single day on what they need to do and then they review the day of what happened like what can where can I continuously improve on that next day going forward? And you mentioned slack it. I've been thinking a lot about this. Digital we've got access to everything to twenty four seven, and that's a positive but it can also be very dangerous to from a creative thinking mode and innovation mode, because you can't be...

...on seven you have to create that space to literally disconnect so that you can do some deep thinking, some deep work, which great book by Calnewport on that subject. there. How do we create or empower either ourselves are teams to disconnect act, because I'll be the first one to admit I've struggled with digital addiction right like it's the continuous dope amine hit of it was twitter and I got it was back in two thousand twelve. And so, hi, my name is James Arble. I'm recovering twitter addict to the point to where I've literally have taken email off my phone, I've taken Internet browser off my phone, I've taken social media off my phone. I have a dumb smartphone. So that it, because I think the environments too strong. And so when you think about working in this digital world and if we're struggling with dopamine hits and digital addiction, it's almost like asking someone to, you know, struggling with alcoholism to bartend. How do we create that space? Because I don't know, it's it's a delicate subject to work around, but I think it's one that we need to lean into. Yeah, no, it's totally delicate. You know, I you know, sometimes I'll have a couple ideas and then I'll go for a walk because it just then I'm just focused on whatever was going on in my brain. So that helps me. I will silence my phone because I'm someone like you. If I see it, I want to get it done this moment, but then it's not a way to get a bigger project accomplished. Down you can't be at everybody's bidding or you won't get the bigger thing done. I heard someone say one time your inbox is someone else's problems, and I love that. I've had to struggle. I've had to struggle and and try to create boundaries of what that looks like,...

...because you literally could live in your inbox and work and be busy all day long but never get anything done. And I I hear bankers, I see bankers, they're like I was in meetings all day and then I had my inbox and emails and I'm I'm like, we need to like look at like what those behaviors are, because I think that, back to your point, creativity and innovation and future thinking, they all go hand in hand together. So I don't this is a this has been a fascinating rabbit hole that we've gone down to get, one that I've never ventured on before on this podcast. So thank you for taking the trip in the journey with me on this one, because it's go ahead. You just made me have another thought. Like you can like even send a challenge and thank or my life this like every week I'm gonna find out about one idea that I didn't know. So maybe find out about a frontext start up big in it know or something, because you just never know what's going to inspire your work. So I think if you put a pattern around it, it could help. That's that right there. I think is a great practical application and I always like to end this podcast with the next best step, because all transformation that leads to future growth begins with something small, something simple, something easy. It's not overwhelming, it's not too complex. Can you dive deeper into this thought, because it's one that I want to come back and give a little bit more commentary around, because I do see value in this. But let's just call it the one thing or the one idea or the one lesson learned each week. What would your if we could put some more rels around this bumpers on the bowling alley so that we can keep these bankers out of the gutter and they can roll the ball down and get a strike and really like what would...

...that look like? Is it? Is it one Fintech a week? How would you provide some more practicality around this? Should they look for? We should we look at it should be to find a little bit about what their interest is, because it's always you're going to do something more because it's like your interests to but you know, maybe it's set up a google alert for Fintech and just scam the headlines and then the one that you find more interesting could be. I mean, keep it simple, otherwise you won't do it. Or I wanted so. So let me add on that. So you got the Google alert your focus and maybe it's the Fintech of the month, and then you get together as a team. It could be a senior leadership team, it could be a marketing team, it could be an operations team, whatever it might be, but each personal on that team has an assigned fintech that they're focused on studying that month and every single week when they come together they build into their meeting agenda just a brief update. Maybe it's a three to five minute update. Hey, here's what I learned over the previous week about this Fintech. And this is so practical because in a coaching session that I had to start the year, one of and this was from a vice president, one of the challenges that they shared what we just feel like our senior leadership team is out of touch because, like they were talking about the whole by now, pay later. She knows about it, but they're not even having kind of these conversations at all at a higher level, and so I think, I think you're onto something with this. Yeah, I mean would be really tangible, would speak to their fact finding enjoyment and wouldn't be too much of the time SEC and one thing I would tell everyone that they should follow. It's you know, the Challenger banks got a lot of customers because of letting them get early pay day by a couple days early, and chase made a big announcement in December that it's customers will now have that...

...feature and they're that's going to be huge effect. That's now like every bank is going to meet that feature because chase customers will have it. So like that's something you'd want to know. That would be a thing to follow. Yeah, but you know, one of the other things too, and I was talking with a credit union about this and they were lamenting on the fact that they were like, we've had early payday for the last US few years, and I'm like, well, no one knows about it because it's not being communicated as a unique positioning or a value prop in your local market. I said I think it was. We were looking at Credit Carma. I said Credit Karma is doing an amazing job of positioning and communication around this. So you're right, like like all of what was some of this early mover, first mover differentiation is now becoming table sakes, because once chase goes down that path, well, you know, we've all got to be able to and I and I think the the the word of this, we don't want to react because if we're always reacting, we're always going to be in a almost a defensive state. We need to be more proactive, and this comes back to continuously learning, thinking, doing, reviewing and then repeating that process over and over again. So I love the practical exercise that you have challenged us all with to go forward to, because the other thing is, you know, not the generalist will never think banking is an interesting industry. I'm speaking outside of the industry, but the thing is it is impossibly interesting. There's so many things to learn, there's so much drama and, yes, opportunities. So like, as a banker, I would say sweet relief to be able to like think of, you know, how interest seeing it is actually the world that I work in. Well, one of the things that I'm I'm I'm almost considering, because I've talked with my team, about doing...

...either a a weekly or a monthly what I call a Fintech focus to where we do exactly what you're talking about, so that we can continuously transfer knowledge back into these financial brands, because one of the things that I hear from them is we just don't have time. We're so busy doing we don't have time to continuously look out and look at the market. I'm like, well, now I'll play like the Oregon trail. You know, did you ever play organ trail growing up? I did. I did, and I died quite a lot of dysentery. Exactly. You've died of dysentery and and so I think that's the thing. It was. We kind of always, always need that what's out on the horizon and then relay that information back in and it would be better served internally. But yeah, this is you've got. You've got my mind now really yes, spinning and in opportunity ways, opportunistic ways of how to continue to educate and empower others. So this has been a lot of fun. Mary. I really appreciate the thinking, the wisdom and some of the new ideas that we've been able to collaborate together. And and we'll see if we check in at the year from now, the end of the year, what all has transpired for both of us as well as for our dear listeners here. If someone is done, if someone's listening and they want to connect with you, they want to continue the conversation, what's the best way for them to reach out, connect and say hello? Oh yeah, definitely social and don't mind that I said I hate flax. That's more to do with my day to day work. That's just that's a message for my coworkers. But I'm very accessible on social media. You can follow me on twitter. Mary and was Newski, Wis and IE WSKI linkedin. I'm pretty quick to respond absolutely will connect with Mary learn from Mary. You're thinking is top notch. I thank you for all of it and I'm looking...

...forward to just seeing how this year plays out as we continue to move forward together and we all make progress on our own journeys of growth. Mary, thank you so much. Yeah, it's no thanks for having me. Pleasure 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 Lang. 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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