Core Systems

04:17 PM
Art Gillis
Art Gillis
Commentary
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These Are the Best of Times for Bank Technology

The bank tech market has never been stronger than it is now.

I gave a presentation once at a vendor's users' group meeting at a beautiful resort in California. I packed for the entire three-day event enjoying my host's programs, including Jay Leno's stand-up routine and Jim Belushi's band. What impressed me most about my host was his response to my desire to fit into the theme of the conference: "You decide what the audience should hear. It's for them. Don't worry about us." That's the first time any vendor ever gave me carte blanche to open my big mouth in front of their customers. As the commercial by Victor Kiam about the Remington shaver goes, "FIS liked the systems so much it bought the company."

I structured a presentation around what is a good tech model for any bank or credit union:

  • A core system designed to serve YOUR long-term strategy. Forget other strategies.
  • A platform automation module designed to capture customer data while satisfying disclosures, interacting with credit agencies, cutting paperwork, and doing the appropriate cross selling.
  • An image-anything module, not just checks.
  • An Internet module for anything to come including payments (here's where mobile banking would have fit if we had heard of it at the time).
  • A protection module stronger than a bank's vault that will protect owners and customers while keeping the regulators off your backs.
  • An information module that will answer complex questions the way Google answers simple queries.
  • A customer module that any bank can implement and use. Just don't call it CRM.
  • The model includes 183 application solutions that I didn't cover because I had packed for only three days. The model is complete, but it is also discretionary. Some mom-and-pop-shop banks won't accept the entire model and that's OK. Vendors offer all of what a bank wants, but they are "scalable." I'm tired of hearing about the IT strengths of the Big Four banks. Any small FI can have the tech capability of a giant, reduced to size and reduced to budget, but with complete integration that giant banks don't have. Just call FIS, Fiserv, Jack Henry and Harland Financial Solutions and ask them to prove it. They live in the world of de novo to #1.

    At about 50 minutes of on-a-roll delivery, I noticed my host at the back of the room giving me the cut-it-off sign. I finished properly and on time as any recipient of my handout would testify, and I was ready for the lunch offered at the patio of the Ritz Carlton. I thought I was done. My lunch lasted three hours and I don't know what my guests missed on the program, but I learned what they wanted. "Where do we buy the pieces of the model you described?"

    The bank tech market has never been stronger than it is now. Products and services are ready even before bankers ask for them. And ready means implementation, not just promises. I see 100 percent inclusion from de novo to BofA, and priced accordingly. Fifteen years ago I used to hear a lot of gripes from bankers. Some were justified. Today my response to any banker's gripe is, "Open your purse and go to market. If you come back and still have gripes, it's your fault."

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