The Financial Brand Forum 2018: Doing Digital Banking Right

Speaking into Microphone

Editor's Note: This year’s Financial Brand Forum proved that the best way to meet generational and digital demands is with the right digital banking platform and partner. 

D3 Banking Technology joined more than 1,500 other attendees at The Financial Brand Forum in Las Vegas earlier this month. Over the five years since its inception, this conference has grown each year. Two-thirds of the attendees at this year’s event were VPs or higher and the financial institutions in total represented $8.3 trillion of assets. 

Each session offered the opportunity to learn about current best practices and the opportunity to benefit cross-industry networking opportunities. Here are some of the most notable insights coming from the conference.

Digital Delivery

There was no shortage of banking executives focused on digital banking and concerns about being able to modernize their offerings dominated the discussions.  In fact, The Financial Brand found that enhancing the digital experience for the consumer was the top strategic priority of 2018. However, recent “failures” during replacement projects and upgrades generated numerous questions around mitigating risks and minimizing the impact on customers and members.  In addition, the continuing proliferation of mobile devices generated discussion about mobile first approaches.  Surprisingly, there was little time spent on other digital channels such as desktops, which is still a prominent banking channel for customers.

Data, Data, Data

There was considerable buzz about data and its potential use to address demands by consumers for highly personalized digital experiences where the financial institution actually anticipates their needs.  Artificial intelligence, machine learning and RPA were key themes woven into the sessions.  The key challenges remain:  how to access the data that is relevant in a timely fashion.  If a bank or credit union only collects data on a monthly basis, it might find itself offering customers a special financing deal three weeks too late. When doing so, the institution not only misses an opportunity, it also harms the customer relationship. It is critical that this gap is addressed since an updated digital banking offering is no longer good enough, and the prompt use of data is a must. With good, topical data and an updated digital platform that facilitates advanced analytics, financial institutions can up-sell, cross-sell and anticipate customer needs.

Generating Business

Knowing your audience is critical in both life and business. In the featured keynote, author Jason Dorsey spoke about marketing to Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X. Banks and credit unions know they need to understand the key differences of these generations, however most still struggle on transforming this understanding into action. A part of Jason’s address included an observation that Gen Ys (Millennials) and Gen Zs are vastly different.  In fact, Gen Z shares more in common with Gen X, like their hesitancy to incur debt.  However, to complicate things further, Gen Z prefers to spend money on products, where Gen Y is more likely to spend money on experiences. 

A considerable amount of time, resources and money are being committed to sharpening their approach to these different generations.  Understanding the differences between each group – e.g., how they save, and spend or their earning potential is crucial to having a successful digital channel relevant offerings to these demographic constituencies.  However, in order to do so, the data challenges mentioned above must be addressed.  Those that do it well will flourish, and the institutions that don’t will struggle and likely lose mass amounts of market share.

We will be back at The Financial Brand annual event in 2019.  Wonder what will be on the menu then?