There is no doubt fintech has disrupted the financial services industry and is creating opportunities like never before as it continues to provide accessibility, new ways to transact, and a more convenient retail banking experience for consumers around the world. While some banks may view fintech as a threat, there are ways they can still ahead of the curve by keeping up with the technologies that matter most to consumers. Executives are aware of this, and are continuously looking at new ways to enhance the customer experience through innovative technologies and digitization.
Tim Welsh, the new head of retail banking for U.S. Bancorp said in a recent interview with American Banker, that during his first two months on the job, his focus has been on how to use technology to make customers’ lives easier — and become a core part of customers’ daily habits. Among the questions he has been tossing around: “How can we help them be excited about the bank, in the same way that they are excited about Amazon? Why not help cash-strapped customers with monthly budgeting, or alert them when a check has cleared? And how can the company better use technology to provide financial advice to customers?” Welsh said.
Many other banks seem to be ahead of the fintech curve when it comes to enhancing the customer experience, utilizing technologies like Smart ATM’s, artificial intelligence, master data management, and so much more. Welsh believes “the first and most foundational thing is that the consumer must be in the center of everything”, and adds, “You could imagine a world where we say we’re not only going to make the pipes better, but we’re going to change the entire consumer experience in a way that Amazon and Uber did. So, instead of expecting you to figure out how to balance your budget, we’ve got a lot of information about you — why don’t we use that to help you?”
Welsh had his own views to share when asked about the Equifax breach. According to him, “As a longtime observer of the financial services industry, I think it’s interesting that we’ve gotten to the point where we assume that personally identifiable information has been breached. These sorts of things have been going on long enough where we don’t identify you just based on stuff that is identifiable like Social Security information. So I don’t know the last time you had to be identified by a bank, but I suspect it was with your thumb.”
Welsh says U.S. Bancorp has done a lot in the way of cybersecurity such as two-factor authentication, and “At some level this doesn’t affect that many of our customers. We’re seeing relatively modest anxiety about it, not that many calls, because people have just gotten used to this.”
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