In the last 270° View installment, we discussed how remarkably things have changed since the Stanford Federal Credit Union became the first financial institution to offer online banking. As noted in that blog posting, these changes have not necessarily been for the better in all cases.
According to a three-year study by Scratch, Millennials consider financial institutions to be the most hated and irrelevant brands on our planet. As dramatic as it sounds, this finding is unremarkable, at least as concerns this generation’s emotional position on financial institutions. In 25 years of being in the FinTech industry, I have never heard people say they loved their bank or wanted to send flowers to their credit union. Most of us don’t even like the act of banking no matter how convenient it gets. For most of us, it is simply a necessary yet mundane chore we have to do.
Increasingly, clever retailers using available and emerging technology are making it more and more painless for us to spend our money. Amazon, Apple, and others promote sleek online and mobile shopping experiences that allow us to make purchases without fumbling around for a card, account number or anything else. This new level of “convenience” creates yet another layer of abstraction from the real measure of our financial position: i.e., our cash.
In the early 1960s, John Diebold, a pioneer in automating processes for financial institutions, wrote that "the 'cashless society' is no longer an option but a necessity."
The technology business is full of acronyms and buzzwords. FinTech is no different and lately one buzzword in particularly has been making the rounds: omnichannel. As part of my job, I speak with banks and credit unions across the country to understand their current environment with particular focus on their digital access points. When I ask about their “omnichannel” strategy, generally the line goes silent. It is clearly a word that is unfamiliar to them or that has little relevance to the issues they face in their positions. However, nearly everyone of these individuals is challenged to provide a singular, aligned strategy for supporting a consistent customer experience, especially as more and more devices are adopted by customers as a means to access and manage their money.