Embrace change, take risks, and disrupt yourself

Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

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How Innovation Can Accelerate Digital Transformation

Leveraging modern technology, data, analytics and digital distribution, market leaders can use innovation to support new business models and create improved experiences.

Despite these opportunities, new research by the Digital Banking Report has found that most organizations consider themselves to be behind the curve with both digital transformation and innovation. Part of the challenge is the lack of an innovation culture or leadership that fails to embrace change.

We are very fortunate to have Mohit Joshi, president of Infosys, as well as Michael Ruttledge, Chief Information Officer and Head of Technology Services at Citizens Bank. They discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing an innovation focused digital transformation process during times of rapid change.

This episode of Banking Transformed is sponsored by FIS.

The way we move money is changing. We want to send money in real-time—to the other side of the world. We want everything in one place, integrated, seamless and on our devices. Embedded, fast, standardized, frictionless and secure. These are our Financial Futures.

The Financial Futures podcast by FIS explores fintech innovation and the trends that are already transforming the way the world pays, banks and invests...across the globe. And the mechanisms we’ll need to prosper in this brave new landscape. Is the world’s technology up to the challenge? Are we? Find Financial Futures on your favorite podcasting app.

FIS. Advancing the way the world pays banks and invests.

More at: https://feeds.transistor.fm/financial-futures

Jim Marous:
Hello, and welcome to Banking Transformed. I'm your host, Jim Marous, owner and CEO of the Digital Banking Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand. Now more than ever, organizations have an opportunity to use digital transformation to amplify their product and service innovation strategy. Leveraging modern technology, data, analytics and digital distribution, market leaders can use innovation to support new business models and create improved experiences. Despite these opportunities, new research by the Digital Banking Report has found that most organizations consider themselves to be behind the curve with both digital transformation and innovation. Part of the challenge is the lack of an innovation culture, or leadership that fails to embrace change. We are very fortunate to have Mohit Joshi, President of Infosys, as well as Michael Ruttledge, Chief Information Officer and Head of Technology Services at Citizens Bank. They will discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing an innovation focused digital transformation process during these times of rapid change.

Jim Marous:
So welcome to the show Mohit and Michael, I am really excited about being able to have both of you on today's show. Not only has cynical Infosys been the sponsor or a very popular innovation in retail banking report for more than a decade, but Citizens Bank has also become a leader in both innovation and digital transformation in what could be said is a very highly competitive marketplace. As I mentioned in my introduction brand new research we have just completed on behalf of Infosys has found that less than 10% of financial institutions globally consider themselves to be innovation or digital transformation leaders. Mohit, Why do you think this is the case?

Mohit Joshi:
Well look, I think the thing is that the world is changing very fast and in the financial services industry players are being buffeted by change. So I think this reflects a reality in most of the Western world that people feel that they're behind the curve. Hopefully they're catching up soon and some of the leaders, banks like Citizens are really ahead of the eight ball in terms of driving the transformation.

Jim Marous:
Well, it's interesting because when you look at that, we've seen that actually the numbers of people that said they were leaders actually went down since the pandemic and financial institutions have done a lot since the pandemic. But I think to your point, Mohit, I think the challenge is that the tide rose and that the expectations of consumers, small businesses, competitive environment has gotten so aggressive, changing so quickly that I think organizations are reassessing where they may be in the overall marketplace. So, Michael, do you believe the pandemic was more of an opportunity or a threat in terms of embracing innovation and implementing digital transformation?

Michael Ruttledge:
No. Listen, I think it's definitely accelerated digital transformation. If you think what we do, right. We're a bank, so our commercial salesforce couldn't get out and meet with the customers. Our customers, we didn't, not as many customers came into branches, although we kept all of our branch, most of our branches open throughout the pandemic. So to service our customers we had to make sure that we were operating where they needed us to be. So whether that's using video technology to do customer sales and deals, whether it's enabling customers to come into a branch, but at the same time, if they wanted, apply for an account, apply for a card, open a bank account on a mobile device. Or maybe a combination of the two. It really forced us, I think, to look at the customer journey and really try and remove those friction points from our customers. And to your first question, Jim, when we looked at that, I think it surfaced some challenges that we had because we were still, our processes were still very much dependent on paper.

Michael Ruttledge:
So that requires a physical presence. So how do you move that digitally? And we really had to think very fast and really make sure that our systems could operate in a paperless environment.

Jim Marous:
Well, it's interesting, Michael, our research also found that while financial services executive understand the importance of innovation and digital transformation, very few know where to start or how to embrace the change needed in organizations. And in fact, we see this to be a biggest problem in mid market or mid asset range organizations, such as Citizens. So Michael, how does Citizens move forward and support the change that's been needed to succeed?

Michael Ruttledge:
I would say early on, prior to the pandemic, our CEO, Bruce Van Saun, really recognized the need to really digitally transform. And frankly, I was part of that journey. I was hired to the bank two and a half years ago, and it was really to bring a really technology modernization program to the bank. And we set about building a three year strategy at the bank to transform technologies. And that really consisted of five key pillars, moving to an agile operating model, leveraging DevSecOps tools, to automate, releases automated testing, building up our engineering talents here at the bank, both retraining our existing employees and frankly, going on a huge hiring campaign for top class engineers. We rolled out micro services, APIs, really to enable faster development times and move to the cloud to promote speed. And at the same time, we had to make sure that the system was protected from a cyber, from a stability perspective.

Michael Ruttledge:
So having that long-term vision and putting that in place, we were a year into that by the time the pandemic came around, which was good. We'd really just started, but at least we'd got off the ground and we had that vision that we're still going ahead with.

Jim Marous:
Excellent. Yeah, and Mohit as Infosys meets with financial institutions globally, what have you seen to be the biggest challenge to moving quickly in both the digital transformation and innovation journeys? Is it investment level? Is it leadership? Is it prioritization or is it something else?

Mohit Joshi:
I think Jim, it's the same thing that you mentioned when you asked the question. Which is people don't know where to start. And I think I'll relate this to what Michael mentioned when Michael took on the role of a group technology at Citizens. Working with the CEO to establish the first principles. What is the next gen tech transformation that we're going to drive? What's it going to look like? It has to be agile. It has to involve the team, so there's an element of talent transformation. There has to be an element of construct. At the end of the day banks have to become cost-focused given how margins are being compressed. It has to be about the move to the cloud. It has to be about risk and controls and cybersecurity. So you essentially have to have all the elements in the next gen transformation.

Mohit Joshi:
And for that you need a roadmap and most critically, as both of you mentioned, you need leadership. So that is where we find the challenge. Budgets quite honestly over the next couple of years are not going to be a challenge. It is my sense, it is our sense that over the next three to five years tech budgets for banks and for insurers are probably going to rise between 6 and 9%, which is the most they've ever risen for the past 12 to 15 years. So I don't think money is going to be the challenge.

Jim Marous:
Well, if money's that going to be a challenge, and we mentioned that leadership is, has been a challenge in the past. What's the key to success as far as leadership is concerned in supporting a process and a culture? When many of these leaders really have never seen innovation and certainly digital transformation as part of their job. How do you work with organizations to help them actually embrace the change that's necessary?

Mohit Joshi:
The first piece is that you obviously need consensus within the organization, right? And I think what has happened in most banks is for a while business has lost trust that technology will be able to deliver to cost, to certain outcomes. So it takes time to build that cost, sorry, that confidence around the executive [inaudible 00:09:19]. I think the second thing is you need a platform mindset. Because you obviously cannot have various components that you look to optimize in pieces. You need to look at the overall set of platforms that you have in the bank and how you can transform them. Obviously there needs to be an obsession with customers. There are so many pieces. Jim, I think those pieces have to come together in a comprehensive plan. That comprehensive plan then needs to have the buy-in from the CEO and from the rest of the executive suite.

Mohit Joshi:
And then you need to deliver to the plan. That I think is the essence of what needs to be done. And it is not easy, right? It is not easy because the external environment is not standing still. Regulators are constantly pushing for new things that they want, the latest being operational resilience. Competitors are not standing still. And we've seen this huge wave of M&A happening within the banking sector, which obviously the [inaudible 00:10:16], but like everything else, it starts with a plan. It starts with a comprehensive plan that has an internal buy-in and which you then start executing on and you make changes as the external environment changes.

Jim Marous:
So, Michael, from your perspective, how has Citizens supported the breaking of old paradigms and making employees comfortable with taking risks scenarios that even 12 months ago, they didn't see themselves being in.

Michael Ruttledge:
Yeah, it's a great question, Jim. I think as we touched on earlier, I think one is setting out that vision and having the confidence that you can show that it's been done before and having the senior level people in the bank support that, as Mohit said. Which I had, which is very, very important. It's getting those early wins with the business, so you can get that confidence from the business. It's building the right leadership team. So both grooming some of the leaders that you had in existence, and then bringing in new leaders who have been through this digital experience. And then everybody can see what really good looks like. And I think you need to do that all the way through the organization. But what we did with our colleagues, we really set out to do was really put some really clear development programs in place.

Michael Ruttledge:
So we actually created academies, engineering academies. We've taken about 150 of our employees, this is out of a base of about 800, and we've put them through these 10 day boot camps, essentially. And they've learned new skills. Most of them were computer science literate, had degrees, but hadn't really practiced that for many, many years. They'd been more in project management, oversight functions. They hadn't been hands-on anymore. And actually Jim, they love getting back to that coding, right? They love it. They love learning, everyone I've talked to once they've been through these classes has really enjoyed it. And we didn't just do that classes, we've done badging programs, certification programs, we've launched over 30 different badges in diverse topics like cryptocurrencies and AI machine learning, the cloud, et cetera, et cetera. So really great adopts, you've had over 200 colleagues take those badging programs and they want to do it, they wanted to learn.

Michael Ruttledge:
So that's one thing. And then we did do a lot of hiring. We brought in a lot of external talent at the same time that it operates in an agile environment who built digital mobile solutions, who knew what, how to build a DevSecOps environment and how to automate testing. So having that influx of engineers, re-skilling our current employee base, I think, so I would say top down and bottoms up. Really we tried to get that buy-in into the overall strategy and vision.

Jim Marous:
Well, it's interesting because it also gives the employees a sense of not only buy-in, but security because in their old roles, they don't, they can see the handwriting on the blackboard that says, I may be out of a job here if I don't transform myself and adjust to the way the marketplace and my organization is going. So we've talked about retraining, we've talked about hiring. Michael, how important is partnering with solution providers or even FinTech organizations to create innovative solutions to help in the digital transformation process, maybe even to increase the speed and simplicity of your solutions.

Michael Ruttledge:
Yeah, no. It's critical. I think we've partnered with a number of FinTech providers. So where we see best-in-class, we've gone out and partner with them. It could be a mobile front end solution, it could be a company that bring in credit bureau data that allows us to source data from multiple different parts of different data sources very rapidly. So much quicker than we could do it ourselves. It could be companies specializing in AI and marketing that we've partnered with. So we definitely partner with a number of FinTechs, that's very important. And at the same time, partners like Infosys have been very critical in this transformation journey. And I would say they've come along this journey with us. So one thing we had a very heavy testing workforce, that we're doing a lot of manual testing.

Michael Ruttledge:
Well, you don't need, if you can replace that with automated testing, Infosys has brought in the engineers who have automated that testing. Right now we don't necessarily need so many manual testers, we've improved that process. Now we're able to do releases in 15 minutes that would have taken us two hours. We're able to run full regression tests in overnight, because we're able to automate that as opposed to days, weeks it would've taken to do this manually. So I think that's one critical component that certainly some of our providers have changed as well. And then also from a strategic perspective, I think they've also had to change because we've had to think how to do things differently. So we've had to look at really leveraging the sort of architecture talents in some of our providers so that they can work with us on blueprinting.

Michael Ruttledge:
How are we going to modernize current systems? It's not an easy to do, right? Some of these systems that we're relying on were developed 35, 40 years ago, right. So how do you, while you're adding all these new capabilities, how do you transform them and still keep the speed to market and bringing the right talent that can connect to that? And that takes a different mindset to really think through what's the vision for those applications? How can we exit applications, decommission applications? As Mohit said, how can we take out costs? Because you can't just keep on adding costs all the time.

Jim Marous:
Right.

Michael Ruttledge:
So you're going to take costs out of the system and that requires careful planning. Are you retiring systems as you're building in the new and do you have a longer term roadmap? And they've been terrific partners with us on that.

Jim Marous:
So Mohit from your perspective, you're being brought in to a lot of different organizations and sometimes have to work with partners that, maybe some of them have the same solutions that you do, but you have to put these things together in a way that's cohesive. When organizations bring you in as part of the digital transformation or innovation process, what is the major thing they're trying to achieve when they partner with a company like Infosys and how quickly can you get up to speed and bring solutions to the table? And I know that difference from perspective of what you have to do, but in general, what does that look like?

Mohit Joshi:
Sure Jim. Look, I think for us, and again, just to give you a sense of the scale. Our financial services practice now is over $5 billion in annual revenues. If I look at some of the platforms that we have, our mortgage platform services, close to half a trillion dollars of mortgages. Our banking platform has 1.3 billion end users. And obviously on the services side, we cover most of the large financial institutions in the world. So when we come in through the door, clearly that capability in terms of the services capability, the platform, the software, the ecosystem and partnership that is already available. I'll mention a couple of things. One is, most of the relationships we have with our clients, including with Citizens. These are really long standing relationships, typically over a decade or two decades old. So we come in with a huge amount of trust because of us having delivered.

Mohit Joshi:
So that's the second thing I'll mention. The scale is the first thing, the second thing is execution capability. We've been in this business for nearly 40 years, and I think we have a nearly flawless track record in terms of what we've been able to deliver. Clients really count on us on our execution capabilities. And finally, the global spread. What our global spread really means is that we can be talking to Citizens about things that we've seen working with the big four banks in Australia, things that we've seen working with DBS in Singapore and things that we've seen working with Santander in Latin America, for instance. So the global flavor we can bring in because banks across the world that are looking to ride on the experiences that they've seen working in Asia, the digital experiences and the automation they've seen working in the Nordics. So the relationships, the scale, the execution capability and the global credentialing that we bring in. I think that's what clients are looking for.

Mohit Joshi:
We see ourselves as long-term players with the large banks. So we're not looking to execute a program and then disappear. We're typically there for the long haul for the entire journey. And I think that gives our clients a lot of comfort because they know that we're going to be around tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Jim Marous:
Well, that's interesting because I've been meeting with some bankers face-to-face in the last few weeks. And one thing they keep on telling me when I bring up the partnership issue, is exactly what you said. They say, it's important to make sure you have a partner that's going to be there when you need. They also say that the reason why they engage with partners, is more often than not, the ability to avoid challenges that they would have hit if they did it themselves. In other words, you helped to avoid those detours or those rough roads, but you also can get them to, as you mentioned, the ability to leverage other institutions experiences to get the best of what's out there. And this is true with any third party or even a FinTech firm, where if you built the right partnership, then you're getting what I call the GPS of engagement. Which really makes us, so you get to your destination the fastest and easiest. If you build that right. So let's take a short break here and recognize the sponsor to this podcast.

Jim Marous:
This episode of bank and transformed is sponsored by FIS. The way we move money is changing. We want to send money in real-time to the other side of the world. We want everything in one place, integrated, seamless, and on our devices, embedded fast, standardized and frictionless, as well as secure. These are our financial futures, the Financial Futures podcast by FIS explores FinTech innovation and the trends that are already transforming the way the world pays, banks and invests across the globe. And the mechanisms we'll need to prosper in this new brave landscape. Is the world's technology up to the challenge? Are we? Are those around us? FIS, advancing the way the world pays, banks and invests.

Jim Marous:
Welcome back. I'm joined today by Mohit Joshi, President of Infosys, as well as Michael Ruttledge, Chief Information Officer and Head of Technology Services at Citizens Bank. We have been discussing the importance of innovation and digital transformation in a post-crisis world. So Michael, I've asked a couple of times around what's the importance of data analytics in modern technology as part of the overall innovation and transformation process? What do you think those keys are? How important is the data analytics and even modern technology as far as the overall mix?

Michael Ruttledge:
Look, I think Jim, I think the data and digital transformation go hand in glove, it really is critical. And if you're really trying to, which we are, trying to produce that really frictionless customer experience and really want to know your customers, the only way you're going to do that is by leveraging data. Everyone's chasing the holy grail of this customer 360, where you have as much information you have about your customer, both internal data and external data. So frankly you can help them make the right decisions. And you think about the diversity of products that a bank like Citizens has. It has the traditional checking deposit accounts, but it also does car loans, it also does mortgages, it also as a wealth management arm. So it's really important understanding what your customers want and then leveraging the data you have at the bank to service their needs.

Michael Ruttledge:
And often we use multiple data providers to help us do that. It can be as simple as pre-filling information as they're applying for a loan. If you can pre-fill, it saves them time, right? You want ideally, you want people to, the whole experience to be done in minutes. So the more you can leverage external data sources, I don't want to have to ask someone to send me a W-2 with income data, right? Why? If they give me the appropriate permissions, I can go grab that from a database and get that information. So the more we can automate those type of data sources, it really helps us. One of the systems we've just implemented, we eliminated 27 different documents. This is where normally they would have had to print a document, sign it and submit it. So we're able to do that by leveraging data. [crosstalk 00:24:39].

Jim Marous:
But it's a digital document.

Michael Ruttledge:
Yeah.

Jim Marous:
So it was a PDF. So-

Michael Ruttledge:
Right.

Jim Marous:
... It was okay, right? It's part of the digital transformation.

Michael Ruttledge:
Exactly. Another key thing is in decision science, where we use data. So if you think about what we're doing in our marketing, it's really important that are you sending the right customers the right offers at the right time. And how are you leveraging different machine learning techniques to enable that? And it's in the power of the data. How can you do that real-time by using data streaming tools and new technology to enable that? So a lot of focus on that. Same with fraud, same with credit. A lot of the risk decisions that we make, the power is in the data. If you leveraged that data, you can really make more informed decisions that allow us to prevent fraud to our customers that'll allow us to extend the right amount of credit to our customers. So just a tremendous amount of focus on that at the bank.

Jim Marous:
So Michael, sticking with you, what do you believe right now is the biggest opportunity that you see in financial services? And what's the biggest challenge?

Michael Ruttledge:
I think the biggest opportunity is really to, just is mobile, I think. So I think, can we really deliver everything that our customer needs on a mobile device? Can you truly make that a frictionless experience for them? And can you give them what they want digitally? So I think that's the greatest opportunity for us. If you look at, you talked about and Mohit mentioned earlier, one of the things they're able to do is put us in touch with other companies. One of them was Ping, which is a Chinese company, insurance company. Not competitors at all, to us. But what they've been able to do in their acquisition strategy, how they've been able to acquire people digitally is really, is unbelievable. And it's examples like that, that we can replicate and we can think about, how in this terms of digital transformation, you don't need someone to fill out a paper application anymore, right?

Michael Ruttledge:
How can you do that digitally? Hopefully, how can you do that from a mobile first perspective? So challenges continues to be, I think that the regulatory environments, where we're very highly sensitive to customer data as we move into the cloud. Cloud is enabling speed, it's enabling cost transformation. We can operate in the cloud at much lower unit costs than we can in our own data centers. But how do we do that? How do you do that at speed and still have the confidence from our regulators, from our customers, that the data is safe, that it's protected, that there's multiple layers of protection? So it's that education that we have to do. And across the board with our risk teams and our regulators. I think is one of the biggest challenges, is everybody's going through this learning curve at the same time and rapidly.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting. Michael, you mentioned Ping An in China and I was lucky enough, right. January of last year. So it was at the very beginning of the pandemic period, visiting their headquarters in Shenzhen. As you mentioned, the way they use data, the way they combine not only the customer experience, but other experiences for corporations. So they take insurance information, they transfer it to the automobile industry. They got to the point where they can almost determine what car a customer is going to buy next based on the data they have. Which is insane, but it's very obviously, very valuable to the car companies. But it also is a good value proposition to the consumer. So Mohit, from your perspective, what is your thoughts around the platform of [inaudible 00:28:44] to banking? Is this where we're going to be going there? Are we going to be building big open banking platforms that really, I'm not going to say super apps because not everybody, not every organization is going to have the ability to be a super app, but do you see platforms as being really the key to future of transformation?

Mohit Joshi:
Yeah. Look, I think, I'm just going to first come back to something that Michael had mentioned, because it's important in the super app concept. Is really linked to the mobile app. I think what we still haven't fully recognized is that mobile is now the default method of interaction. And after COVID-19, the percentage of online transactions that are done on mobile has actually increased very significantly. You got new stuff coming in from a wise, from a gesture and from a proximity technology perspective, that is going to supercharge what the mobile can do. And then you've got 5G. You've got the promise of 5G and what edge computing and everything else will do to the mobile. So, I agree with Michael, a hundred percent that the future of customer experience is still very much mobile first especially for banking.

Mohit Joshi:
And if you think it's going to be mobile first, then the obvious extension on that is that the integrated app ecosystem, like we've seen with WeChat and [inaudible 00:30:09] and Gojek and even to a degree Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. That will probably be the, what the future of banking will look like. If you look at what some of the mobile first banks have done, like a Starling or a Revolut, they're trying to go down the same route. And open banking will potentially supercharge this. Because then I feel that the platform application will take this shape of being built around the mobile and being built around the customers anticipated needs.

Jim Marous:
So that's really [inaudible 00:30:54]. I think you're right. We're now seeing that loyalty is somewhat at risk because bank loyalty used to be based on balances or the number of times a customer came into the office or number of transactions. But now when you look at the ability to open an account almost instantly on a mobile app and the ability to fragment your relationship, it really is going to get down to how engaged am I on the digital platform? How many times do I want to go to Citizens Bank for instance, and actually do something engaging to bring the value of my relationship up? So we can look at possibly buying things, maybe some financial wellness tools, budgeting tools. It could be engagement from a content standpoint. What we're really building now is an ecosystem that says, I want to make it so you want to come to my platform.

Jim Marous:
Very much like PayPal said, the reason that they got into crypto was basically so people come to their app more frequently, even if it's just to look for price, but habits are hard to break. And once you get used to using a specific app, which is usually based on speed and simplicity and empathy, you're going to use it more frequently. So Michael, from your perspective, and as I mentioned, Citizens Bank is what I'll call a mid asset range organization. Is there any limitation based on the size of an organization, be it small or large as to what can happen given all the tools we have now? Or is there a situation that smaller organizations may be fighting an uphill battle with regard to the competition with regards to what consumers want?

Michael Ruttledge:
No, I think we can compete and we can compete very well. We have great relationships with our customers, but we're in, we're trying to expand nationally. And today we're in our consumer business is in 13 states. Our commercial businesses is nationalist in 50 out of 52 states. What becomes critical there Jim, is brand. So, because even though you're very well known in the North 13, Northeast states and Ohio and Philadelphia, we've got that. People don't know us maybe in the west or in Florida or in... So how do you really get that presence? So you've really got to think about the brand and with our recent acquisitions of HSBC and Investors, we're acquiring a lot of branches in New York. So how will we go about making sure that our brand presence is known and we establish that relationship with the customers. It's going to be very important.

Michael Ruttledge:
And when you do that both digitally and by different campaigns with different local campaigns. But the way we've done it digitally is, and we pivoted during the pandemic, but we had the process called Checkup where people would come into the branches, would make an appointment and they would speak with an advisor and they would get advice on one topic and potentially different topics. And people really value that relationship with their banker. Obviously that couldn't happen in the, in COVID. So people did it virtually and it works, it worked well. So the things that we can pivot and we can do to really get that relationship with our customers, I think we can, and with the right size that we can do that with the number of customers that we have. But it's this combination of, we're going to continue to have our brick and mortar banks, but we're also going to turbocharge that digitally. And then also, the other important thing is getting those systems to talk to each other, going back to my earlier comments about a seamless customer journey.

Michael Ruttledge:
Ideally if someone comes into a branch, can they, and they may have started the account at home. Can they continue it in a branch if they have contacts or vice versa. So making that easy for our customers to do that type of thing, provide the services that they want is really critical to us.

Jim Marous:
So, final question for you Mohit. And I didn't want to ask this of Michael because he'd be biased, but he mentioned that he, they're going through an M&A process right now. And my thought is that, unless you already have the culture in place with the lead organization doing the acquisition, the combination of multiple financial institutions doesn't fix the problem. If your legacy leadership still is sinking in the, what I'll say the traditional way. Do you see this as a possible challenge in the marketplace where organizations are trying to scale up and their logic is, well, we can save on cost, but we also can save some money and put that towards R&D in digital transformation. Are we fixing the wrong things? Are we trying to scale up and maybe not really changing the organization?

Mohit Joshi:
Look, I think Jim, it's an excellent question. But I do feel that banks have become a lot more strategic about M&A than they used to be in the past. I feel that a lot of the M&A now is driven by technology and about access to technology. So clearly from a banking perspective, there are gaps in your portfolio that you want to fill. That are maybe geography gaps that you want to fill. Maybe it's a national footprint that you're after. But a lot of these acquisitions, even seven to 10 years ago used to stumble because it would take banks many, many in case, I would say almost decades to integrate the underlying technology. And so you could never realize the promise of the customer experience. You could never really realize the cost promise because you were getting a really fragmented and a bloated cost base over a period of time.

Mohit Joshi:
I think banks have now become a lot smarter about this. So the integration plans, the migration plans, the choice of the target platforms, that getting that unique and I'd say, integrated customer experience, these are much more thought through. And so I do feel that because banks have become more strategic about it and because they've become a lot more, I think a lot of eminent choices and decisions are driven by the underlying technology platforms. And so I feel that it is more creative, it is more beneficial than it was a decade ago. I recollect almost like, maybe over 20 years ago when you had the Shawmut being acquired by a Bank Boston at that time. I think it was at least for a couple of years after that you had separate queues on the branches saying, Shawmut customers queue here and Bank Boston customers queue here. It's almost impossible to think some like that could happen today, which shows you how far we've come just in the past two decades.

Jim Marous:
Great answer, and a great way to end the podcast. Thank you both for being on the show today. Really appreciate your time. It gave me a new perspective on how this can be done, but also really how integrated data, technology, innovation and digital transformation is and how important, and not that I was surprised by this, but how important actually training all your employees to move forward as digital ambassadors is to the process. Thank you again, Mohit and Michael, really appreciate your time today. Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, rated as a top 5 banking podcast. I generally appreciate the support you've provided since we started this endeavor. If you enjoy what we're doing, please be sure to follow Banking Transformed on your favorite podcast app. In addition, take some time to show some love in the form of a review. It means the world to me and to the entire organization. Finally, be sure to catch my recent articles on The Financial Brand and check out the research we're doing digital transformation, the future of work in banking, retail banking innovation, and the changing dynamics of financial marketing for the Digital Banking Report.

Jim Marous:
This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to our producer, Leah Longbrake, audio engineer, Sean Rule Hoffman and video producer, Will Pritts. I'm your host Jim Marous. Until next time, remember that nothing changes if nothing changes.

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