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03:44 PM
Art Gillis
Art Gillis

Banking Isn't Out of the Woods Yet and the Custodians Have Run Out of Solutions

Who will solve banking's loss of revenue?

I have often wondered why a country with the greatest minds and resources in the world cannot show up at a disastrous scene to solve a huge problem within the boundaries of its own territory. The custodians appear to be impotent. The powerful are busy protecting their own skins. The politicians are being political. The pundits and TV commentators have opinions, but they don't have any authority after the cameras click off.

Are we at an impasse? To whom do we turn? Harvard? MIT? Stanford? Rand Corp.? Brookings Institution? Bill Clinton? There are eleven think tanks in the U.S. What are they thinking about? When I was in college, one of my cynical buddies always use to say, "The sex life of an amoeba."

As much as I'd like to speak for technology, I don't think the answer is there. Banks have lots of IT solutions that handle mechanical functions. Lately, analytical solutions have appeared, doing some of the what-if work, risk management, fraud prevention and compliance. But I don't think any tech vendor has a solution that answers a banker's question, "Which function key do I press to increase revenue?"

I'm not the only guy who's looking at the problem. Very recent press releases point to two unusual acquisitions by FIS, and more serious efforts by Fiserv in revenue expansion programs for their clients. Both companies are recognizing the value of revenue increases because it touches them as well. They both ended Q3 with a somewhat paltry 3% increase.

Are you tired of hearing me say it? "Show me the revenue and I'll show you a better economy." Salespeople, revamp your engines. You're the most important people in your organizations.

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