Exploring FinTech with TBA’s ‘FinTech Sessions’

By Colin Barrett, President/CEO, Tennessee Bankers Association

Having visited with bankers and economists over the past year, it is apparent there are a lack of answers to many of the questions surrounding our industry—the future of branches, unemployment, working from home, and commercial real estate, to name just a few. However, one principle everyone agrees on is that the fintech adaption trend that has accelerated in the banking industry will not slow down. 

Few topics in the banking industry can generate more varying emotional range from optimism to doom and gloom to a collective shoulder shrug than the topic of fintech. However, there is always agreement from bankers that they must work to create operational efficiencies and improve the customer experience through new technology to remain competitive.

A recent study conducted by the American Bankers Association highlights how quickly technology is expanding in the banking industry. “Nearly two-thirds (65%) of banks improved their technological capabilities in response to the pandemic. Among these, 70% developed APIs specific to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); 39% developed customer facing virtual technology or interactive teller machines (ITMs); 35% enabled digital loan applications for consumer or business loans; and 32% enabled digital deposit account opening for their retail and small business customers. More than half of banks also adjusted their technology road map due to the pandemic. Of these banks, 74% plan to further enhance their mobile and online capabilities.”

At the national level, the ICBA has done a tremendous job with their Venture Center incubator located in Little Rock where they cultivate nonbank fintech partnerships to help community banks thrive into the future. ABA’s efforts around core accountability and their must-read Fintech Playbook are significant, and much needed, undertakings.

At the state level, the fintech question I receive most often from our members is how to practically digest all of the information available, especially when new government programs and personnel challenges are occupying so much of bankers’ time.

To address this challenge, the TBA, under the leadership of Independent Division Chairman Terry Eastwood and the Independent Division Board, is diving into our industry and customers’ most pressing fintech wants and needs. Also leading us on this journey is Dave Hunkele. Dave is the founder of Kreativelabs, a company that focuses on fintech development and implementation. He’s also been a past speaker at Credit Conference and the TBA Community Banking Conference, and his background as a banker means he fully understands our industry’s needs.

Their efforts have led to the creation of TBA Fintech Sessions, which are held the first Wednesday of every month. Each 45-minute virtual session consists of two fintech presentations that address topics selected by member of the Independent Division board. They cover everything from developing internal efficiencies to meeting customers’ ever evolving experience demands. Our goal is to give you an opportunity to quickly digest these offerings with the opportunity to learn more on your own if you so choose.

During a recent interview, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase admitted he was “scared” of fintech and he sees a “very, very tough, brutal competition in the next 10 years,” before adding “I expect to win. So help me God.”

I am also confident Tennessee banks can “win” when it comes to fintech by embracing new technologies to best serve your banks and customers. I look forward to working with you to implement fintech strategies that will allow you to successfully serve your customers and communities well into the future.

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