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Bank Tech Sector Still a Learning Process

I never thought I knew it all, and every day I realize how right I was. I just glanced at the first edition of Automation in Banking. If I compared it to the 2009 edition, it would look like a 1985 Oldsmobile-couldn't compete and no longer available. I learned a lot in 24 years, but I'm still learning.

I never thought I knew it all, and every day I realize how right I was. I just glanced at the first edition of Automation in Banking. If I compared it to the 2009 edition, it would look like a 1985 Oldsmobile-couldn't compete and no longer available. I learned a lot in 24 years, but I'm still learning.Much of my current education comes from new clients. You know the expression, "Can't see the forest for the trees." I see lots of trees and I can tell you things about them that you never even thought to ask. But it takes a new client to provide the vision for me to see the forest. And many of my new clients are not members of the Bank Tech Club. So their questions have a sense of purity that insiders lost years ago when they got carried away with technology and lost the understanding of what is it doing for the business.

Another new learning experience comes from changes in the vendor landscape. While large vendors are getting larger, and giant companies are entering the Bank Tech Club, there's still room for the little guys whose focus is innovation, not Wall Street. Six years ago, a title insurance company joined the Club. FIS is soon to be the largest bank tech provider, leapfrogging fiserv that had been the quintessential behemoth after 150 acquisitions. What the entire world knew as the No. 1 database company is now appearing for the first time in AiB as a core system provider. Oracle is a $22.4 billion software company, but even its Financial Services Software Inc. subsidiary qualifies as pro forma No. 4 with $596.7 million in revenue, still below Jack Henry & Associates, but above Open Solutions Inc. With one acquisition, that I believe is overly-ripe, Oracle could easily become No. 3.

The prize of "Anomaly of the Year" goes to Integrated Bank Technology Inc., a $7.5 million a year bank tech company located somewhere in Texas that I wouldn't even know how to get to without a horse. I invited them to join the AiB Club. They weren't sure. They wrestled with the idea. It took a few months. Then they joined with a passion.

I am very happy to say I still don't know it all. What a boring life it would be if did.

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