The Digital Banking Starting Line Up

Editor's Note: Much has been written about the "Platformification of Banking" by  Jim Marous, Ron Shevlin, and others. With the long-awaited football season finally here, we decided to have some fun by breaking down the components of a digital banking platform into positions to bring you the ultimate Fintech Football Team.

 Head Coach - Digital Banking

Oftentimes, the success or failure of a football team is going to fall on the shoulders of the head coach. If a coach is going to have a successful team, it's paramount that coaches and players are on the same page. In today's digital savvy world, digital banking has become the head coach for banks and credit unions. Likewise, if a financial institution wants to have a successful digital banking strategy, it's crucial that it is designed in a way that all channels/devices are on the same page and provide a consistent user experience for their customers.


 Offensive Coordinator - Data Utilization and Personalization

An offensive coordinator's biggest weapon often isn't the players on the field but his coveted playbook. The more plays that an offensive coordinator has in his playbook, the more opportunity he has to exploit a defense and put points on the board. For financial institutions wanting a competitive edge, data about customers' habits, needs and wants is the most important tool available for moving the ball up the field.  Digitally savvy consumers expect their banks and credit unions to provide them with a digital experience comparable to what they receive with Amazon, Apple, Google, and others.  To meet this expectation,  financial institutions must execute a set of plays that will turn the data they have on the customers into actionable information allowing them to score with their current users, and stay yards ahead of the competition.


 Quarterback - Mobile Apps

The quarterback is the starting point for every single play. To be a successful quarterback, you need to be able to understand and manage all aspects of the offense. With more consumers initially accessing financial services via their digital devices, the mobile apps deployed by a financial institution are often the starting point for customer interactions.  These apps are the quarterbacks of digital banking and, like quarterbacks, they must be able to execute in a way that puts the ball in the hands of the consumers, when and where they expect it.   This requires utilizing the most current technology available (e.g., hybrid apps) to remain current with the features and functions needed to meet these expectations.


Running Back - Bill Pay and Money Movement

Most dynamic offenses have a running game with one or more running backs that they can utilize in key situations.  Effective running backs don't always have to be the fastest or the flashiest players on the field, but it is vital that they are reliable. As snail mail and paper checks continue to become a part of the past, financial institutions need to have a solid bill pay and money movement feature on their roster. Like  running backs, they don't have to be the flashiest of digital services they offer, but they need to provide a consistent user experience that the bank or credit union controls.  Running_Backs.gif

Wide Receivers - Mobile Wallets

Generally, wide receivers are known for their speed, style, and confidence.  Although a team can have a competitive offense without relying heavily on their receivers, a standout receiver provides a deep ball threat that keeps the competition off balance and guessing.   Mobile wallets are a lot like a standout wide receiver.  They offer a deep threat value-add service financial institutions can provide to their customers that allow them - rather than their competition - to control the flow of the game. 

Offensive Line - Account Management

Every football team must have a strong offensive line to be successful. A strong offensive line allows the offensive coordinator to use all the tricks in his playbook to score on the opponent. For banks and credit unions, online account management is similar to the offensive line.  Users need to be able to view key information and access vital services in one location and manage all of their accounts in a seamless manner. If a financial institution can't even provide this most basic service, they might as well punt on 2nd down.


Defensive Coordinator - Security Plan

For a defensive coordinator, game planning can be especially tough.  Each game brings a new offense with new wrinkles to defend against. If a defensive coordinator doesn't have a solid game plan, more often than not, the team is going to end up on the wrong end of the score. For banks and credit unions, their security plan acts as the game plan of the defensive coordinator. Attackers are constantly creating ways to expose vulnerabilities and collect customer account information that a financial institution must be able to defend against.  If a bank or credit union doesn't have a solid security plan to protect  themselves and their customers, their losses will be far greater than that of a football game.

Linebackers - Notifications

Linebackers are often the leaders of the defense and are integral to its success. To be a great linebacker, it's vital to have a versatile set of skills, including tackling, playing in coverage, and calling audibles to make sure the unit is lined up correctly for the next play. For digital banking consumers, notifications such as low balance, purchase, transfer and fraud alerts serve as linebackers. With the proper notifications (audibles),  customers can work with their bank or credit union to properly protect their accounts.


Defensive Secondary - Fraud Protection

The defensive secondary is the last line of protection for the end zone. A defensive back must be quick and agile to guard receivers and protect from the deep ball. Hackers are constantly finding new ways to break into financial institution records and gain access to accounts. For banks and credit unions, their fraud protection strategy needs to be quick and agile, like a solid defensive secondary, to properly protect their customers. Without this type of strategy, any and all vulnerabilities within their digital channels will be exposed and exploited by criminals looking to score.

Defensive Line - Identification

The defensive line is the first point of resistance against the opposing offense. If a team has a great defensive line, they can put pressure on the opposing offense, limit the offensive coordinator's options and keep the ball from moving up the field. For banks and credit unions, the latest technologies available for identifying the customer , e.g., biometrics, act as a good defensive line does in football, stopping fraudsters from advancing their efforts. For financial institutions, this is arguably the most important part of their defense if they're going to protect their customers. The stronger these features are, the safer the users are.

Special Teams - PFM, Shared Finances, Crowd Funding

The special teams unit typically sees the least amount of action during a game. However, sometimes it is the effort by the special teams unit that determines who records a win and who records a loss.  For financial institutions, having services such as PFM, shared finances, or crowd funding equates to having a great special teams unit. These services may not seem like a core requirement for providing a superior digital banking experience, but, if they are incorporated into the game, they can repeatedly flip the field in favor of the financial institution that provides them.