Hello and welcome to Banking Transformed, the top podcast in retail banking. I'm your host, Jim Marous, founder and CEO of the Digital Bank Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand.
In July of this year, Lindsey Johnson took over the helm of the Consumer Bankers Association, replacing Richard Hunt who had guided the organization for the previous 13 years. This is an important time for the CBA as economic uncertainty, new legislative initiatives, the introduction of modern technologies, and a redefined structure of financial services' ecosystem, are emerging. The challenges and opportunities are truly enormous.
We are fortunate to have Lindsey Johnson, President and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Organization on today's podcast. In this episode, Johnson provides her perspectives for the future retail banking and the role of the CBA in this future. So, Lindsey, while you're relatively new to the CBA, you're not new to the role of advocating for financial institutions, having more recently held the position of President of US Mortgage Insurers. How have your previous roles in and out of banking prepared you for your new role at the CBA?
Well, Jim, thank you for having me on your show. I was excited to be here. Look, I mean, I'm someone who has a background at the crossroads of business and policy, and I've been at that intersection for a very long time. So whether it was being at the Federal Home Loan Bank during the financial crisis and getting a close look, maybe too close a look at times, at all that could go wrong and did go wrong.
Being in the Senate, focused exclusively on banking policy at that time. Being at PWC and really focused on the private enterprise side of things, really focused on banking policy and our financial services clients then as well. And then running a trade association where you've got the ability to really have a full understanding and a full appreciation of how the banking and financial system has evolved, where the pain points continue to be, and how to actually effectuate change here in DC to help our members do what they do best.
So it's interesting, the CBA has its mission, and it's well spelled out, and it can be easily found just doing a Google search. But really the organization says that it's an advocate for the financial institutions and for the customers of financial institutions. Really takes on a different personality, I would say, and different things tend to get more important and less important over time.
So how do you see the role of the CBA? And really as of you as their leader changing? Or how do you see it really taking place right now during this time of really unprecedented change?
Well, let me start with something that won't change. I mean, I have long known and respected CBA as the voice for America's retail lending banks here in DC. And so no doubt, CBA will continue to be the leader on all things consumer retail here in DC. But there's also no question that the industry is rapidly evolving. It's driven primarily by the digitization of banking, the growth of FinTech, big tech firms in our space, the introduction to digital assets, just to name a few.
And policy makers here in DC are really struggling to keep up with some of these different dynamics, as they weigh the risks and the rewards of these new technologies for consumers. And so fortunately, CBA sits in this sweet spot. We can continue to serve as a leading advocate for retail banks. We can ensure that our members' priorities are being conveyed, whether that's on Capitol Hill or at the regulatory agencies.
But we also play this very critical role of being at that intersection between the issues and challenges in front of consumers, in front of business, in front of society, frankly. And what needs to happen on the legislative and the regulatory front to help our members be part of that solution. And a great example of that work was actually on display, full display, as our members worked through the pandemic. And you saw the rollout of PPP.
CBA led on the PPP forgiveness, which was highly successful. And so we look forward to continuing to play that role. So whether it's on emerging issues, like working on elder abuse, or fraud prevention, return to work issues are really navigating the policy environment to best position our members.
Because we know right now consumers, small businesses, are facing some pretty big headwinds as they look forward and thinking about what's ahead in the economy. And so our members are in a good position to help lead them through that next economic cycle. The CBA plays that role of really kind of facilitating that conversation between the regulatory world and our members to make sure that they can do that.
On that point, what do you see as the biggest challenges facing retail banking today?
I see three big challenges. First, a significant issue the industry is facing is that banks continue to play in one of the most highly regulated environments of any industry that exists, and it is the most un-level regulatory arenas out there. Specifically banks are going against a number of other players in the marketplace that simply just don't have the same capital, oversight standards, consumer and data privacy requirements that banks have.
And I think that there was some good reasoning for that possibly in the beginning. Where you would see regulators and policy makers say, "Well, look, you've got fintechs in the marketplace that are innovating. They're coming up with new products." But now some of these same fintechs especially, for instance, in the unsecured personal loan market, they're nearly 60% of the market. And they're offering the same products as banks.
They're often bigger than many of the banks, not CBA members, but they're bigger than many of the other banks in the country. And so they should have that same kind of regulatory oversight. And so we actually think we've got alignment with CPB. We think we've got alignment with policy makers, who now recognize that it is un-level and that you want to make sure the consumers have that same protection.
Fraud is the second issue. And I'm happy to expound on that, but it's not just in banking. We see it at government, we see it at big tech. It is a huge issue. So especially as we've all been propelled through this digitization and through digital banking, you see more of it. And we see it on the consumer side, we see it on the small business side.
P2P is a conversation right now. Unfortunately, policy makers keep using Zelle as the example. Truth be told, Venmo has three times the fraud that Zelle does. Cash App has six times the fraud that Zelle does. But Zelle is the poster child. And what I'm proud of is that the CEOs of our banks don't say, "Well, we're better than they are." Our CEOs are really focused on, and our banks are really focused on, fixing the fraud that does exist.
And the challenge right now is that it's consumers, right? It's the consumer who is being defrauded. The fraudsters are getting very sophisticated, they're reaching out to the consumer and scamming them. And then there's this whole question about should the banks be liable for that?
99.9% of all transactions that occur through Zelle have no disputed transactions. But again, our banks are working on fixing the issues that do exist. We think that government's got a role to play here. We think FBI and FTC need to really pick things, up and need to have the resources so they can go after these transactions, these fraudulent scammers.
We think that telecom has a role to play. They've got to stop the ability for these scammers to have Wells Fargo or any other bank in the country. If you see that pop up, the consumer is automatically off guard. So there are just a lot of other industries that need to step up. Right now, it's almost exclusively banks that are really focused in this space, but that's a huge issue.
And then the third issue I would just say, is this polarization in DC where banks continue to be put in a very difficult position over every single issues. I mean, banks are now in a position of strength. They continue to meet the demands of their consumers, their investors, their policy makers. And so we really want to have this conversation about we're 15 years after the financial crisis, banks are in a great position. They've led through the pandemic, let's flip the page on this and let's really focus on issues that banks can help solve.
You know it's interesting, we tend to as an industry, and I've been in this industry since the dawning of the dinosaurs almost, but we continue to default to greater regulation. We talk about having greater regulation for FinTech organizations. As you mentioned, a lot of Washington wants to have greater regulations with banks.
Are we possibly looking at it from the wrong perspective? And should we be looking at potentially loosening some regulations or readjusting regulations to try to level the playing field? Because I look at innovation and all the things that we're trying to achieve, and I sometimes see that the regulations in place have not kept pace.
And as a result, we're having to work with different constraints. And instead of asking for greater regulation of fintechs, should we maybe be looking at looser regulations? Or less stringent regulations for legacy banks?
So I think it's more this question about ... Yeah, so yes, bottom line, yes. I mean, there absolutely are regulations that are duplicative, that make no sense. You've got different agencies requiring different things of banks that really at times are at odds with each other. You've got, I think it's this bigger question about, to your point, are the regulators able to keep up with what's happened?
I mean, when Dodd-Frank was passed, there was no FinTech. There was no real discussion about what fintechs were providing in the market when Dodd-Frank was passed. And so I think that this inability for regulation to keep pace is the question that we need to all be asking ourselves.
Again, think about when the iPhone was unveiled 15 years ago. We're trying to get our heads around, okay, now everybody's doing banking on their iPhone. What does that mean? How do you capture that? How do you ensure that that's part of the CRA considerations, for example?
And so we're really thinking about how do we have this opportunity in front of us to talk about the latest change, the latest trends in banking? Talk about what the future of banking may look like today? And how regulations need to adapt to how consumers are doing their banking?
So I think the question is ripe, and I think that that's where we want to kind of carry the conversation with regulators, is you've got to make sure that there's a level playing field. I don't see regulators backing off of regulation, unfortunately, for banks. So I think what we have to see is some kind of leveling with the FinTechs and other data providers to have the same security, same consumer protections that banks have.
And then I think that we need to have this conversation about let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. You can't do the same thing that you've done over here in banking, to this digital banking space. You've got to make sure that banks have the ability to meet consumers where they are.
And so some of your conversation about whether it's CRA and how we're investing in communities, how we're really meeting consumers needs, that's evolved. And banks have had to evolve with it. And so the regulation needs to recognize that. And I think that's the conversation that has to happen.
It's challenging because I often say in events that I'm speaking to that the, unfortunately, a lot of the regulators are the oldest bankers in the business. They're the ones that have gone through all the iterations. They've gone in the banking and they've been an executive at a financial institution. And they tend to be the most legacy of legacy bankers. And that actually can hamper innovation.
And I'm saying at the end of the day, when you're representing both the consumers and the financial institutions, consumers tend to be the ones who lose, as we put more and more constraints on financial institutions. Often, not always, many times it's for their protection, but sometimes we actually stifle innovation. So as we look at traditional banks and FinTech firms, how do you actually see these two types of organizations working together in the future?
Well, look, I mean many banks already partner with FinTechs to provide that technology and that infrastructure on certain products and services, and especially smaller banks who lack the size and the scale to develop their own technology in house. What's interesting is this, everyone was propelled in this space and to become more digital through the pandemic.
And you see a lot of the bigger firms, JP Morgan for example, many of them spending 10s of billions of dollars every single year on technology to keep up with the future of banking. JP actually just spent 14 billion according to their latest earnings call. So this is a huge focus. And if you talk to bank leaders, even in their hiring practices, they previously were really focused on finance and on accounting folks. Now they're focused on data scientists and engineers. So this is the future of banking. And I think that it's so important just to remember that FinTech innovation occurs within the banking system.
And if you're ready for this, I think one of the most interesting things I'm seeing is that not just, to me, I think it's not just the future of banks buying fintechs, it's FinTechs buying banks. And so this paradigm is shifting and we're going to see more of that, I would expect, because it's really hard to be in the consumer lending business. And as I mentioned, a lot of these fintechs are now bigger than banks.
A lot of these fintechs, if you're in the personal loan space, you're doing close to 60% of personal loans. It's difficult to be in this space. And what we've seen in this latest cycle, you need liquidity, you need access to deposits. And so again, we don't just see the banks buying the fintechs, we see SoFi, we see Lending Club, and I would expect others to be on the horizon to buy banks.
So in that same context, what is the CBA's position there? And I'm sure it's not a formal position, but in the whole concept of super apps. Be it a PayPal, or an Apple, or being a Chase or a Wells Fargo, how do you look at the integration of non-financial services within the traditional financial institution parameters?
Yeah, I love this term super app. This is like [inaudible 00:14:49].
Oh yeah. I didn't define it. Did you notice? Because it can be as big as what Alibaba is, or it can be as streamlined as what some organizations have done with small business banking. It depends on how you define it.
So I want to touch on two different issues. One is there is laws and regulations around banks getting into commercial business. There is not really the reverse. And so we've been really shining this light on, okay, what does it mean for Facebook, for Apple, for some of the big tech firms to get into this space? What does that mean?
They've got a lot of market power and suddenly they can have these super apps and these other abilities to control, to access consumers data, financial information like never before. And so we're really focused on that. I know from the regulatory perspective, again, we've got alignment there because regulators are seeing it and they're seeing the impact of it. But I think that it's not going to go away. And so folks are trying to get ahead of it and understand what does that mean?
And I think that you're going to see, again sort of through this latest economic cycle, we've seen a lot of fintechs exit the market. But what we're seeing is more consolidation in the space. So the stronger FinTech firms are eating up the smaller FinTech firms. And I think you're going to see super fintechs, you're going to see these bigger platforms, and this ability to offer a number of different services.
But I also see that within the banking space. And so as an example, mean if you think about what Erica does through Bank of America, Erica not only will tell me how much money I've got in my account, my account number, I mean the number of individuals. Brian Moynihan was just quoted recently saying, "The number of individuals who have access, not just their bank account number, but they'll ask the weather." They ask Erica for any number of things.
People are really coming to their bank more and more, relying on these different services. And so I think the future of that space and the super app is going to happen simultaneously. It'll happen in the banking space, it'll happen in the big tech space. But when it comes to access to finances, to the ability to lend, to having all this data for consumers, we've got to have a little bit of reckoning of, "Let's make sure that everybody's playing by the same set of rules." Because at the end of the day, the consumer will lose if they're not.
Yeah. And again, when you're taking into context the consumer, and the large banks, and the small banks, and the reality of the marketplace, it becomes ... It's a matrix and it can be very involved.
On the same context of that, super apps, we also have talked about the importance of scale. Obviously Chase has what seems to be at times an unbelievable amount of funding. And in fact, Jamie Diamond got into a little bit of trouble when he talked about the money he was going to spend on research and development. From the shareholders, saying, "Why are you going to spend so much?"
And he realizes, as much as anybody, that we have to stay ahead of the curve, as opposed to continually following from behind or trying to catch up. But we're in a mode now that a lot of finance institutions are going through mergers and acquisitions. Trying to get scale, and they're not going to get the scale of a Chase or a Wells or of a Bank of America. But what is the CBA's position on the benefits or challenges around mergers and acquisitions to gain scale? And also to get a bigger geographic footing?
So again, my mom was a community banker, I get it. And I love the fact that we've got the ability to choose from nearly 5000 financial institutions to meet consumers' unique needs across the country. And as opposed to many other industries, as opposed to other countries, the banking industry is so much less concentrated than other segments of the economy. So I think that will always be part of our banking system. It just will.
What I think is also really important to remember is that M & A provides banks with that necessary size and scale to compete with not just larger institutions, but with these FinTech and with bigger tech firms as you mentioned. And to make those investments to meet consumers demands. And so that's not changing, that's going to continue. I think the regulatory pressure, the capital requirements, and what used to be the threshold of 50 billion became 250, now it's 500. And I think that that just continues to escalate.
And I was really impressed with one of the responses that one of the CEOs had given recently during the CEO hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, either House or the Senate. But the question was, "Do you think that you're more competitive today?" And the question was actually going to Truist. "Do you think you're more competitive today with Bank of America than you were when you were BB&T, or SunTrust?"
And of course they're more competitive today. I mean, that is absolutely the correct answer. They have the skill to actually offer consumers so many different offerings that the big banks are providing. I think it's going to be necessary. I do think that we're going to see some slowing of M & A activity. We already see a little bit of that.
A lot of folks got in the hopper over the last year and a half, and so we're waiting on some of those transactions to occur. But I think that is going to be a trend that you continue to see. Because it's really difficult to meet some of the compliance and the regulatory and the capital requirements to be a bank. It just is. And to compete on the same scale and with the same efficiencies, I think you're going to see that trend continue.
It's interesting, because you mentioned Truist as that, it's not about the geographic footings anymore, it's the ability to take the savings from the consolidation and really redeploy them towards technology upgrades, innovation. Things that were viewed much differently even five years ago than they are today.
It's not about a land grab anymore. It's really about the ability to redeploy assets in new and innovative ways. When we look at M & A, because as I said, I go way back in banking, one of the things we always had to look at when we were doing a merger and acquisition, was a CRA, Community Reinvestment Act. That hasn't changed.
I mean, one of the dynamics of efficiencies is in times closing some offices that may be better deployed in other ways. And organizations realize that this is one of those regulations that you don't want to push it the wrong way, or not meet the CRA guidelines, because the slap on the wrist can be pretty hard.
What would you like to see changed and retained within the current regulations? Or I should say, within the way it's applied? Because it's really not exactly on paper.
Yeah, I think that there's a couple of different things that we want to see change in the proposed rule that came out, and that we responded to, is August 5th, our comment letter was filed with everyone else's. Look, I think CBA has been in the position for a really long time. We think CRA has got to be modernized.
This statute's been in place since the mid 1970s. It's not been updated since the mid 1990s. Banking as a whole has been largely transformed in the way that consumers access their banking. So much of that discussion needs to happen. And so we were very supportive of the effort to rewrite CRA.
The one thing that has not changed, the statutory intent of CRA was, wherever I'm making deposits, that's where I need to reinvest in my community. That's not changed. In the proposed rule that was released, they shift away from that model. And we've got some real concerns that it actually can have a negative impact on the investments and our member's ability to invest in their communities the way that they need to.
So we think there needs to be some flexibility baked within the rule, to allow members to really understand the communities that they lend in, and to take into account some of the ways that they're investing in those communities. We definitely think that they're, and we have some real concerns about the approach, generally about the rules.
So now it's not where I'm getting my deposits, it's where I'm lending. And many of the different institutions, if you've got a really small footprint, but for strategic purposes, you're lending in a certain community, if I make 250 home loans, or 200 small business loans, suddenly I've got a new assessment area. And so I'm being graded in that community. And again, it's going to have a really meaningful impact in terms of my decisioning about whether to continue that or not.
And then the final thing is, well there's two final things. One is, you know this, Jim, banks pride themselves on getting an outstanding rating. They have entire teams dedicated to CRA and CRA compliance. And they move heaven and Earth to make sure that they are in their communities, serving their communities needs.
And under the proposed rule, it's almost impossible for banks to get an outstanding rating. We think that's wrong. I mean you can grade on a curve, but you shouldn't make it impossible for banks to get an outstanding rating.
They're investing $500 billion annually in CRA there. We want to make sure that that credit is still given and that banks understand how to get that rating.
And then the final thing is it's because it's so drastically different than what it's been in the past, banks are going to need time to implement it. So currently there's a one year implementation timeline, we got to have 24 months. It's got to happen because there's just no ability for banks really to implement on that kind of timeframe. So again, we fully support revamping CRA and modernizing CRA. But we want to make sure that it doesn't have an unintended consequence that really kind of impacts our ability, our member's ability to invest in the community.
So let's take a short break here and recognize the sponsor of this podcast.
So welcome back to Banking Transformed. I'm joined today by Lindsey Johnson, the new head of the CBA. You know, Lindsey, we've been discussing what the role of the CBA has been in the past and how it's transforming much like the industry itself.
But one of the areas of recent contention, I guess, is the role of the CFPB and the ability for an outside and another outside organization to actually regulate and provide stipulations on how a bank can perform. What is the CBA's? Role or what is the CBA's position right now on the role that the CFPB should have? And their authority in levying fines or any kind of regulations?
Well, I think more broadly, Jim, and thank you for this question. I think we have been very vocal about we need a strong CFPB, we need strong consumer protections. Our banks operate within such a regulated and statutory defined space. I mean, they want to understand the rules of the road, so that they can actually go out and do their businesses conforming to those rules.
And so when something is outside of the statutory confinement, the statutory realm, if it's done outside of the regulatory APA process, that makes it very difficult for our members to do their jobs. And so one of the issues that we've really had a lot of concern about is that in March, the CFPB revised its examination manual. To reflect a new belief that unfairness and the unfairness prong of the UDAAP, the Unfair, Deceptive, and Abusive Acts Practices definition could be applied to conduct that FPB deems discriminatory.
And so these two definitions really are two very different concepts. The CFPB, we've argued that the CFPB has exceeded its statutory authority as outlined under the Dodd-Frank Act, by seeking to regulate discrimination under its UDAAP authority, because unfairness and discrimination are two distinct statutory concepts.
And I know that this gets really legalese and very, we're talking about rules and deep regulation, but it matters because our members, again, they're following the rule of the law. And it's incredibly important that when it comes down to the concepts and the definitions of unfair and of discrimination, that there are two very specific definitions for each of those things. And there are ways that they are regulated.
And so our entities are trying to follow the rules and the regulations that exist today. And when CFPB goes through and they just change an exam manual and say, "Now we're just going to examine you based on what we believe is discrimination." It is not the intent, the statutory intent of what CFPB is supposed to be focused on, how they're supposed to define discrimination, and unfairness, and how they're supposed to apply an exam manual.
And so we've challenged this in court, as you mentioned, with several other financial trades. We think it's really important for there to be rule of law, and for CFPB to operate within the confines that Congress set forth. And that there's transparent rules of the road for our members.
And CFPB, again, we believe that they've got a mission, an important mission. And our members are trying to adhere to the rules and to the regulations that are set forth. But it's got to be done in the right context using the right processes.
It's a great point. And while I could fall asleep reading all the things that have gone on back and forth, I think the reality of what I've seen from, and I'm going to speak on your behalf and you don't have to say yes or no to it, because I don't want to get you in trouble.
But I think what you're looking at is, number one, the social environment has dictated a lot of changes that the financial institutions have already put in place. They have to respond to what's happened in the real world environment. And so they respond to many of these. In addition, financial institutions, probably better than almost any other industry, have really made headway at making sure that they go along the concept of what is meant by and what the rules of the CFPB was.
And I think what we're trying to avoid is, and I know the banks are trying to avoid it, but it's not saying you're against the things that the CFPB is doing. Is another layer because we're already an over-regulated industry from my perspective. And I think to make sure that all the regulatory agencies, as well as the advocacy agencies, are aligned on what this is supposed to be done. And nobody can just develop these things on their own.
And again, it's one of those strange things that the concept is right, the implementation could be probably done better. So I'm not going to ask you to respond to that. I think that's my perspective more than anything else.
So moving on to another interesting subject that obviously was not even discussed five years ago with the CBA, is the future of stablecoin and crypto regulation. The government's coming out with more and more documents around what their position is on stablecoin and crypto. And there's probably less role, or the financial institutions are probably delving into crypto a little bit less than they were thinking they were going to do six months ago, because of the marketplace itself. But how do you see the government's role within the whole stablecoin and crypto regulations?
Well look, I mean there's no doubt policy makers are paying attention to all digital assets right now, from crypto to stablecoin to Central Bank digital currencies. And you see a whole lot of regulatory and congressional focus and study on these issues. But to your point, you don't see any real concrete action. And I think that that does have to do with what we've seen over the summer in the crypto market.
On stablecoin, we've seen the President's recent executive order. We've actually seen draft bipartisan legislation in the House Financial Services Committee, that would really provide some regulatory framework for stablecoin. I've got a lot to say about, and a lot of questions more generally about crypto. But specific to stablecoin, I think the question is what issue are we trying to solve?
We largely have the digital dollar today that's highly safe, highly reliable, highly competitive, highly regulated. And I think if there were a number of different considerations that I was thinking of for policy makers to want to pursue this, I think that they're probably concerned about being behind, regulating from behind.
So in the crypto market, you saw a huge explosion of crypto and this notion of, "Well, we'll let it do its thing. We'll let it grow and evolve on its own. And if it ever gets to that place where we need to step in, we'll try and step in." That is a really difficult place for policy makers to come because they are now at a complete disadvantage. Consumers can be harmed, the financial markets can be harmed. And so you really see them struggling with, "Where would we even start? Is it SEC? Do we-"
Oh, that's a very good point. Is it a banking product or is it an investment product? Yeah.
So I think that this whole notion of they don't want to get behind the curve on this, they want to be in front of it. And you see other countries working on stablecoin. I would again argue that the other countries that are entering into this market, whether it's Central Bank digital currency, or other spaces, they do not have, they're nowhere close to where the US is in financial competitive markets. They just aren't.
And so I think that we again have to ask that question about why? You do however, see other players in this market trying to figure it out as well. You see banks in this market, at least in the utility coin space. So you see JP Morgan Coin or JPM Coin, and other coins being developed and they're using them internally at their firms.
Because again, I think that folks are truly trying to understand and to consider the utility of these different currencies, how can they be used, how could they be used in the future? Is there a way that we can lower the cost of foreign exchange currency? Can we lower the cost of some of those exchanges? That would be a tremendous use for it.
But there's other ways to get there then use of stablecoin, in my view. And so we're waiting and watching. And CBA has been part of these conversations. We're meeting with treasury, we're meeting with others about the development of these and how they would be regulated?
Who could offer stablecoins? Is a big question. I think you want it in the regulated space. You want banks who, and again, we can talk about segregation of these assets and other things. But I think you want it in a highly regulated space if you're going to offer stablecoins. So all those conversations are happening and CBA is part of them. But I think that again, we are in sort of the watch and learn mode, as I think everybody else is as well.
We started the discussion today around looking at how the CBA's role really changes over time? Because you have different issues that come to the forefront at different times based on market conditions. So what do you see as the CBA's largest role in the next 12 months? And then maybe in the next 36 months?
Oh, those are good questions. Look, I think in the next 12 months, there are probably two things that we'll be really focused on. One is just this next chapter of banking generally. And literally I think that we're kind of standing on the precipice of something that is very exciting for banking.
From a regulatory and the legislative perspective, we're turning the page to the next chapter. Again, we're 15 years after the financial crisis. There's been no other industry with the compliance and the regulatory regime that the banking industry has. And the banks are out there and they are meeting the needs of their communities.
They've led through the pandemic, now they're going to be really focused on what's ahead for consumers and for small businesses coming out of this economic cycle? And so for the next, I would say 12 months in particular, the CBA is really going to be communicating between policy makers and between our members, what we're seeing on the ground, and what the impact of inflation, and all the incredible costs small businesses and consumers are absorbing right now.
What the implications of that are going to be for their futures? And what else they may need going forward? Whether that's small dollar lending, whether those are more small business loans, and what that looks like. So that's going to be a significant focus for us over the next 12 months, is making sure our members are at the forefront of that conversation, and able to do what they need to do in their communities, so their customer's needs.
I think over the next 36 months, we're really going to be part of this conversation that we've had today, Jim, about the future of banking and what does that look like? And there is so much happening and so much conversation around the future of digital currency and the future of digital banking. And what does branch banking look like going forward?
And so we are going to be navigating that environment with our members, and at the same time making sure that they've got the regulatory and the operating environment to do what they need to do in their communities today. So it's going to be a really interesting 36 months I can assure you, because you see all this technology and all this evolution happening in the marketplace.
And our members are going to be at the forefront because the bigger banks are going to be able to really lead the way I think, in this space. So a lot of exciting time. And we're again excited to be part of it and part of the intersection between the regulatory and the policy discussions and the banks.
So this is a question that I'm asking you, and you're the first person I've asked this of, in the way I'm asking it, but I'm going to probably ask it of my guests from here on out. But I know you just started as the leader of the CBA, but if you look in the future and then look backwards, how would you like to define your legacy as leader of the CBA during your tenure?
That's a great question. Look, when you step into a new role, and you're thinking about that same question, and I'm stepping into a role of Richard Hunt, the previous CEO of CBA, someone who really kind of had a legacy that he had built in building this organization. And I can tell you that when we think about legacy, it's going to be tied back to our outstanding team and our members.
And so wherever those folks are and what they're doing, that's how my legacy is going to be shaped. And so I'm really focused on working with our team and with our members to again, kind of turn that next page and ensure that we can continue to finance the dreams and needs of consumers and small businesses. And I think if our banks are doing really well, and they will be doing really well, that's going to really shape the legacy of me.
It's going to go far, outshine my legacy by far. And hopefully that's legacy that I'm leaving, is the industry is on really solid footing. We've turned the page, we've got a great story to tell, and so we're excited to go out and tell it.
Well, it's interesting because I built that question thinking of Richard and saying I'm sure he was with the organization forever. And I'm sure that if he was asked that question at the beginning of his tenure, he couldn't have even imagined what his legacy would've been today based on where he was then. Because the banking world and everything else changed so quickly. And actually his legacy is probably defined by the last three years of his tenure rather than the previous several years before that. And it's an interesting dynamic.
And it's been a real pleasure speaking with you. That obviously the CBA is in tremendous hands. As I said before we talked, we went on the air, "Yes, you have big shoes to fill, but I don't think I'd want to try to fit into another pair of boots." So we stayed south. I'm sure anybody from Texas can handle anything that the Cajun banker can handle.
But congratulations on your new appointment. And more importantly, I'm looking forward to seeing how the CBA really transforms its own legacy as we move into a completely different realm of banking. So thank you very much.
Thanks again, Jim. Appreciate it.
Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoyed today's show, please be sure to give our show a five star rating on your favorite podcast platform. Also, be sure to catch my recent articles on The Financial Brand and check out the research you're doing on the Digital Bank Report.
This been a production of Evergreen Podcast. A special thank you to our producer, Leah Haslage. Audio engineer, Sean Rule-Hoffman, and video producer, Will Pritts. I'm your host, Jim Marous. Until next time, remember, change will continue to occur, but it's how you respond to that change that will define your future.