Community Service with the Personal Touch

September 23, 2014
/   Insights

Question: Community branch, personal service, mobile banking—which is the odd one out? Answer: None. Otherwise, the industry is in trouble. For some time now, there have been discussions about the future of community banks...

Cause and Effect: If you build it, will they come?

July 23, 2014
/   Spotlight

Many financial institutions assume that digital banking is lucrative because the most valuable customers happen to bank online. While there is certainly a correlation between online bankers and higher profitability, quantitative evidence suggests that...

Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services

April 11, 2011
/   Insights

Today, Intuit released the latest edition of the Intuit 2020 report, Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services, which identifies and examines four key trend areas that will  transform the financial services industry...

Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast...

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

December 18, 2013
/   Spotlight

2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions....

Small Business: Perception vs. Reality

November 21, 2012
/   Insights

In the most recent election cycle, like most others before it, the one sector of the economy that got the most attention was small business.  This is the future, we were told by every...

Mobile Banking Engagement: Data from Digital Insight

June 24, 2013
/   Spotlight

Intuit Financial Services has been conducting a comprehensive and ongoing study of financial institution customers. From these studies, the company has been able to provide a deeper view of banking customer behavior across several...

Financial Literacy Month: How are you celebrating?

March 22, 2013
/   Insights

With April approaching, it’s almost time to kick off Financial Literacy Month! Strongly supported by the United States Congress and the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, Financial Literacy Month aims to promote the importance...

Fast Facts: Financial Executive Economic Outlook Report

February 1, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of it’s Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. This series is the The Financial Services Roundtable’s first bi-annual Financial Executive Economic Outlook...

To no one’s surprise, President Obama’s State of the Union speech this week had plenty of red meat on the financial services industry. We heard about the “deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street.” There was a clarion call prohibiting big banks and other financial institutions from making “risky bets with your customers’ deposits. Mortgage lenders, credit card companies and others in the business shouldn’t be “signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices.”

Perhaps most interestingly, there’s word of a Financial Crimes Unit that will crack down on large-scale fraud, with harsher penalties for repeat offenders. This is to benefit not just consumers but also “the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing.”

No one seems quite sure what effect this will have, tangential or otherwise, in the other legal aspect of this equation. As we all know, state and federal in investigators are continue to negotiate a settlement with some of the nation’s largest banks that could reach as much as $25 billion and significantly revamp foreclosure and mortgage servicing practices nationwide. While specifics of the deal are being held closely to the vest, there’s been outspoken opposition from, among others, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and her New York counterpart, Eric Schneiderman. Coincidentally, Mr. Schneiderman is also set to lead the Financial Crimes unit at the state level.

The reaction to the speech has played out along predictable lines. While specific banking segments have been a political piñata for a while now, some observers saw the speech as expanding the bull’s-eye already painted on the industry’s back. Others, meanwhile, saw it as a welcome move toward accountability in a market segment that’s run amok.

The truth is, of course, that most institutions and individuals in the financial services industry played no role, pro or con, in any of the activities that drew all this attention.  But the spotlight isn’t going away anytime soon.

The way out of this will be what it has been for every industry caught in the glare of negative publicity: new products, great customer service, relationship building and innovative delivery mechanisms. The tools and technologies now available to every company and every consumer offer a unique opportunity to make a break from the past and do things very differently.

Customers don’t come in like they used to—they’re online, they’re mobile, they’re virtual.  They expect instant access with high quality, and if they don’t get it, they know they can go somewhere else easily. They demand a high level of transparency, along with a high level of security.

There’s more competition, more accountability, more options and more potential than ever before. These are all good things, and the best institutions will benefit from them—and next year’s State of the Union speech should reflect that.

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James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.

Brad Strothkamp

http://www.forrester.com/rb/analyst/brad_strothkamp