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.
Now’s the Best Time for Investing in Modern Banking Technology
With the possibility of a recession, financial institutions of all sizes may be considering a delay or cut in technology spending. As seen by recent challenges at Southwest Airlines, falling behind in technology capabilities can create enormous costs in the short-term and in the future.
According to Forrester, firms pursuing technology-driven innovation grow three to four times faster than industry averages. Just as importantly, new technologies can reduce the cost of doing business, improve customer and employee experiences, and provide a long-term competitive advantage.
I am excited to have Maureen Doyle-Spare, general manager at the digital transformation consulting firm UST on the Banking Transformed podcast. We will be discussing how the pursuit of technology investments regardless of the economy will ensure financial institutions will be future-ready.
Hello, and welcome to Banking Transformed, the top podcast in retail banking. I'm your host, Jim Marous, owner and CEO of the Digital Banking Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand.
Jim Marous (00:22):
With the possibility of a recession, financial institutions of all sizes may be considering delay or a cut in technology spending. As seen by recent challenges at Southwest Airlines, falling behind the technology capabilities can create enormous costs in both as short and long-term.
Jim Marous (00:42):
According to Forrester, firms pursuing technology driven innovation grow three to four times faster than industry averages. Just as importantly, new technologies can reduce the cost of doing business, improve the customer experience, and provide a long-term competitive advantage.
Jim Marous (01:02):
I'm excited to have Maureen Doyle-Spare, General Manager at the digital transformation consulting firm, UST, on the show today. We'll be discussing the pursuit of technology investments, regardless of the economy, to ensure financial institutions will be future ready.
Jim Marous (01:17):
While economic downturns can be challenging for the banking industry, some of the most successful innovation and growth opportunities can often be found during times of economic uncertainty. This is because economic downturns can often coincide with reduced competition, greater access to top talent, lower cost of resources, and opportunities for strategic acquisitions.
Jim Marous (01:41):
So Maureen, before we start, can you share a little bit about yourself and the work that UST does in the banking industry?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (01:48):
Yeah, absolutely. First of all, thank you, Jim, for having me today. Really appreciate it. And a little bit about UST, UST is a digital transformation firm that's headquartered in Aliso Viejo in California. We have roughly 30/35,000 employees, obviously growing rapidly, over 30 locations providing digital transformations for our clients.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (02:13):
Our core ethos as a firm (which I think is very much a differentiator for us), is humanity, humility, integrity, and really transforming life through technology. And we actually measure ourselves through the transforming lives through technology.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (02:28):
We have about 20, 23 years in the business. Our average relationship with clients exceeds 14 years, which is very impressive for a relatively new entrant to this space.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (02:47):
I personally have been in the industry for over 25 years, leading, consulting in solution teams, collaborating with clients, really kind of from a business lens, making sure strategic directives are kind of outlined, so they align to the innovation that's being delivered. And then infusing the technology as a part of that.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (03:11):
I'm really biased. I love the BFSI space, personally. I think sometimes it's a bit dragging in technology and innovation, but I also think in some ways it's constantly changing. And I think it's really interesting on how you infuse that into a highly regulated environment and still make that same significant impact.
Jim Marous (03:37):
So, when you work with financial institutions, and we're talking about technology, we're talking about digital transformation, we're talking about innovation, what's the most glaring gap between where financial institutions are today and where your firm and you believe they should be today?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (03:54):
Yeah, I think there's a couple of ones that I see, AI being one of them. I think governance around AI is … wherever you read anywhere, AI is in every article, every blog, every everything. And I think the power of AI is incredible. I think it can make great differences into the organizations, into customer experience, as well as operational efficiencies and reducing risk.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (04:27):
But I think where the industry hasn't put as much focus on is the implementation and governance around that. And from a UST perspective, we have a number of platforms and accelerators in this area that we work with clients on. One of them is our xpresso.ai platform, where we establish the lifecycle framework in order to productionize and test models before they go into production.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (04:56):
We also have some accelerators which do the model de-biasing, the model monitoring. Obviously, with machine learning models change. So, what you put in today as the model continues to learn, it can change. And so, the firms really need to be on top of that, especially from a customer experience lens, to make sure models don't drift.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (05:23):
And then finally, the explainability side of it, this kind of brings together the business people as well as the technologist. So, the details of a model can't be in the ivory tower of technology. The business side, the operation side, need to understand what those models are doing so they can be confident that they align with their business objectives.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (05:48):
So, we have a platform called Demystify that basically does that, reads the models, put them into layman's terms. So, it bridges that gap between technology and the business to bring that greater transparency around governance.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (06:04):
So, to me, while there's a lot of shiny balls out there right now, I think, as everything the pendulum swings a little bit and resiliency, and governance has to be then applied.
Jim Marous (06:18):
So, when you look at the investment in digital technology, transformation, even fintech collaborations, do you see this changing in the near future? Especially in light of what happened with Silicon Valley Bank and the concerns around higher interest rates, less VC money, things of this nature. How do you see this impact in the overall investment level by financial institutions in these key elements around digital transformation?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (06:45):
So, I do think there's going to be an increased spend on resiliency, those data driven insights to identify risk patterns, anomalies, being able to highlight risks ahead of time. More focus on predictive analytics scenarios. Putting out more scenarios, doing more testing on future scenarios because the industry changes on a dime and you need to have that proactive prevention.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (07:17):
Certainly, the adaptive learning side of it, putting in the best practices and the controls around past experiences and putting those into the models. So, I do think there'll be continued spend and innovation around building those insights to reduce risk for firms.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (07:40):
Additionally, I think cyber risk, well, right now it's not top of mind. Certainly, eight months ago, six months ago where we were in our cycle, cybersecurity was top of mind. It continues to be top of mind. The SEC, I believe, has some new proposed regulations that have come out or in a proposal that will require firms to have more granularity and quicker turnaround time on reporting of cybersecurity risks.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (08:11):
So, I think that resiliency aspect is going to be very, very important from a global perspective. DORA, which is a EU resiliency that basically looks at your technology as well as your operational and needs to do some filings with the regulators, that they have measured their operational and technology risks and partnerships adequately.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (08:38):
So, I do think there is going to be a spend. I think it's once again going to be compliance; it's going to be risk. It's how can we leverage all this digital technology, put the same resiliency and risk around it.
Jim Marous (08:53):
So, the basis of this conversation, this podcast, was the concern around maybe a reduced level of investment because of the economic uncertainty. Do you see finance institutions being more tentative, or do you see some organizations actually doubling down on technology investments in innovation?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (09:13):
So, I see it a little bit of both. I think it depends on the firm. There absolutely has been to some extent a slowdown. I don't think projects are being shelved. I think they're kind of slowing down to some extent. I think there are still some very strategic programs of work when it comes to customer experience that people are definitely focusing on.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (09:37):
So, I do think it goes across the board. I think from a talent acquisition perspective, I've seen more changes on how firms are handling that. Where they actually are looking for partners and not doing direct hires in order to do that.
Jim Marous (09:57):
Maureen Doyle-Spare (09:57):
I also see them looking at options with gig talent. UST has a program called Open Talent, and what it does is we're able to work with our clients and bring on that gig talent, which is basically that short-term, very specialized talent that is needed.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (10:20):
And so, I think that is — something that firms are looking to do is not hire. And when they do, it's very strategic hiring. It is. So, they have very strategic programs or work that are continuing, and they are looking for some very differentiated talent and hiring.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (10:43):
But the mass hiring and the mass investments we saw six, eight months ago, a year ago definitely has slowed down, but it hasn't stopped. There is continued innovation. But it is strategic. It's definitely more thoughtful for sure.
Jim Marous (11:02):
It's interesting you say that because I was at an event this past week, and a lot of the talk was that instead of the big core transformation ideas, the big buys, organizations are really focusing on trying to get speed and scale through partnerships and collaborations.
Jim Marous (11:20):
And as you said, those strategic components, those, I need to fix this right now in the next three months, as opposed to we need to transform the entire core over the next couple of years. It's short-term, it's immediate impact. It's very, as you said, strategically focused, but I think it's probably stronger because it opens up the door for the entire industry. It doesn't matter what size your firm is.
Jim Marous (11:44):
When you talk about partnering in collaboration, you really have a lot more opportunities out there to grow and to change at speed and scale. When you look at the topic of new uses of data and technology, and you look at, let's say metaverse and blockchain and ChatGPT, what do you see as the future there? And in what timeframe do you see these may be having an impact on financial services industry?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (12:13):
Yeah. No obviously, great question. But because all of these at one point in time have been the shiny ball. I've been long enough in this industry, some shiny balls, take off some shiny balls find their use cases. Obviously blockchain has been around for a while. I absolutely believe there are continued use cases in that, firms have been working on that now for a number of years very successfully.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (12:45):
And it does bring that efficiency, but it is a very high cost, going back to what you said, getting these quick hits, quick wins to continue to realize the benefits of their strategic initiatives, that one, I think takes investment, takes time.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (13:05):
I see a lot of firms, the new ChatGPT, I think it's actually incredibly powerful. I think that the assisted client capabilities that it has from servicing and working with clients on loan originations, onboarding fraud detection.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (13:29):
But once again, I'm going to jump on the bandwagon of explainability. So, you have to put the governance around ChatGPT, you just kind of can't put it out there. I think ChatGPT, metaverse is certainly — I think that's going to be a cultural change for banks. I think it's going to be a cultural change for the average individual who banks, getting used to the metaverse.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (14:02):
But I do think actually ChatGPT and metaverse bring an interesting combination together. I do think the ChatGPT can really bring that more realistic conversational to the metaverse and to the avatar.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (14:21):
I think in certain situations when you get into the banks that do a lot of kiosks and cafes and virtual, I think those type of culture banks I think could really advance on the ChatGPT and metaverse. I think ChatGPT from assisting the banking customer, I think it can be really used successfully.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (14:47):
I do think metaverse is going to take time for the bank itself to embrace it as well as the average saver to go in and use either in their home or in a banking location, to actually kind of use that metaverse.
Jim Marous (15:11):
Yeah, it's going to be interesting because I think we're seeing, financial institutions are not the leaders or they're not the breakthroughs in most cases.
Jim Marous (15:17):
But I think ChatGPT, as you mentioned, from a content development perspective, from an informational transformation perspective, it's going to be very powerful and probably implemented rather quickly because those are lower risk situations.
Jim Marous (15:33):
Again, you have to worry about biases, you have to worry about all kinds of other elements. And behind the scenes it really explodes a whole element of cybersecurity because as good as ChatGPT can do, it can also replicate me and my voice, my look.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (15:52):
Jim Marous (15:52):
Everything about me. And so, it elevates the good and the bad. And when we're looking at digital transformation, we're looking at innovation, we're looking at digital technology overall. A lot of focus is put on the end results, the customer experience, the top of class experience.
Jim Marous (16:12):
What do you see when you work with financial institutions as to the friction that's created by back-office not keeping up? And we talk often on this podcast about the fact that the front office and the front experience is only going to be as strong as your back-office support's going to be.
Jim Marous (16:35):
What is the challenge with finance institutions that you work with in getting to completely rethink some of that back-office transformation?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (16:44):
Yeah. It's funny you say that. I've been in this industry for a very long time, and you're absolutely right. When I talk to clients, their digitization, they've still not embraced it. For a variety of reasons, sometimes depending on the function, it's very high touch. They don't trust automation. A lot of it is a fragmented ecosystem with a lot of best in class products that are not integrated a common data framework to use.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (17:29):
So, I don't think in many cases, in certain functions of the bank, that they fully embrace digitization yet. I think-
Jim Marous (17:41):
As you said, for various reasons, it could be job security.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (17:44):
Jim Marous (17:45):
It could be not understanding things. And we talked about it before we went live, is that just change itself is tough. Anybody listening to the podcast or see me present recently knows that I talk about the financial institution that buys a plug and play strategic solution.
Jim Marous (18:03):
And then when the collaborating third party partner comes in, they go, "Oh, I like everything you said, and I want you still to hit your goal, but we don't want to let go of X process or procedure." You go, "Well, you can't get there without changing that."
Jim Marous (18:17):
And a lot of it has to do with know your customer regulations and the perception of what is needed from a know your customer. There are a lot of digital ways to take care of, know your customer outside of a driver's license. In fact, significantly better than the driver's license.
Jim Marous (18:36):
However, most finance institutions still start with that as a first step, or make current customers still fill out all the information as if they are not even known by the financial institution. And this is unacceptable from a consumer standpoint that knows the banking industry can do better. But holding on to so many of the legacy processes because of the lack of ability to envision what the possibilities are, even when you partner with a firm that has done it elsewhere.
Jim Marous (19:11):
I remember selling in the not so far past. And people go, "What's not the same here?" Or "We are different than other organizations." You go, "I'm sorry. Right now, I'm seeing this, looking back as the traditional excuses." You have a list of seven or six, whatever number it is, excuses you're going to use in every case to not do things differently.
Jim Marous (19:34):
However, you still envision a future that says, "We're going to make it easy on the customer. We're going to make it easy. We're going to reduce friction." You go, "Those are not equal. You can't do one without the other."
Maureen Doyle-Spare (19:47):
I actually completely agree with you. Very much in the large banks, smaller banks' a little different, larger banks, every division is their own their own company sometimes. It's so siloed.
Jim Marous (20:02):
Their own fiefdom.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (20:04):
You used the term better than me.
Jim Marous (20:07):
Better for me to say than you probably.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (20:11):
You got it.
Jim Marous (20:12):
And I've said it before in this podcast, the challenge is these people have never had a bad year. The reality is could it have been better? Yeah, probably. But we're not talking about an industry that doesn't make money year after year after year, different levels of it.
Jim Marous (20:28):
But when you have those kinds of successes and you have legacy leadership that now has 20, 30 years under their belt, they're on the tail side of this. And they're going, "I may not want to do these things as much as I say I do in the public."
Maureen Doyle-Spare (20:45):
Yep, yep. No, I completely agree with you. And it's funny, onboarding; fragmented onboarding, not digitized, not self-service, the KYC, it's been around for years and there's a lot of really good technology out there. You know that, I know that. UST has a great smart ops, which is our intelligent automation that does a lot of that natural language processing, taking documents in, verifying, et cetera.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (21:21):
It's a cultural, it's cultural.
Jim Marous (21:24):
Maureen Doyle-Spare (21:25):
Do they accept and trust technology and that's basic blocking and tackling the automation aspect of it. When you bring AI into it, people even get more concerned. So, going back to the beginning of what I said at the beginning of all this is the governance and bringing that explainability, because until you bring that explainability, that will build the trust between the operations and the technology side of the house.
Jim Marous (22:05):
It's top down and it's communication. I know some firms that do an extraordinarily good job of communicating employees their desire to have them embrace what's coming up from a digital perspective and how it can help them as opposed to put them at risk.
Jim Marous (22:20):
But we have a whole lot of this going around that says, “I don't want to be put out of a job, so I'll put invisible roadblocks in the way until I get told otherwise.” And I look back and you can remember the days of the signature card.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (22:37):
Jim Marous (22:37):
We always thought as an industry, those were required when really signature cards weren't required. It was just the requirement to know your customer. Somebody only asked to go to the Apple card realize that there's better and more technology, the advanced and safer ways of doing, know your customer than traditional methods.
Jim Marous (22:55):
So, I'm going to pivot a little bit here. And it's clearer than ever that we have an increased need for experience and talent that really understands digital transformation and future technologies. How do you envision this war for talent playing out?
Jim Marous (23:12):
And does this need for talent open the door for new third party and fintech collaborations? And you touched upon it a little bit earlier, where you don't necessarily have to buy the talent or acquire all this talent for everything, but you partner with those firms that do it and maybe go up a scale with to having talent that can manage the outside resources.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (23:33):
Yeah. So, it's an interesting topic, and a year ago, the talent wars are different than they are right now.
Jim Marous (23:41):
Maureen Doyle-Spare (23:42):
It has eased up a little bit, but there is very significant demand. We have a very significant demand, but it's once again, very differentiated skills. And people are partnering, the larger banks, hiring is not as quick and fast as it was before. They're not getting a lot of approvals to hire.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (24:09):
But as you aptly put, they're still proceeding with their projects, they still have their KPIs, they still have to hit it. So, they are looking for partners. And that's where, UST, with our innovation and our experience and our capabilities and accelerators, we have done that a lot with our clients.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (24:28):
Another area that I see is low-code, no-code.
Jim Marous (24:33):
Maureen Doyle-Spare (24:34):
So, there's a lot of interest. And I see that for a couple of reasons. One, talent is part of it. The other is speed to market. The other is it can kind of get more into the business side of it. We partner with Microsoft for the power apps, as well as out systems.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (24:54):
We recently was a strategic partner with Mendix, AWS and UST with a focus on modernization as their partner in that area.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (25:08):
But a interesting thing that UST has, in addition to the gig talent, we have a program called Step It Up. Going back to the beginning when I said our ethos was humanity, humility, and integrity, and that we actually do measure transforming lives, we have a program called Step It Up that's been in existence for about 10, 12 years.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (25:33):
And basically, we work with our clients to identify diversity talent. And depending on how they define diversity, we upscale those. So, they're non-STEM people. We upscale them. UST invests in that, the client does not. So, that is our contribution to transforming lives.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (25:57):
We train them, it can be up to six, seven months. We've done hundreds of these programs for a lot of the BFSI clients. We've brought in skilled people from Java to cybersecurity analysts. As I like to say, we were doing this before anybody was looking, before it was on trend.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (26:23):
I kind of laugh with my husband. I said, "25 years later, being a woman in tech is finally on trend."
Jim Marous (26:32):
Maureen Doyle-Spare (26:32):
But we do this. It's from a military program, it's women, it's people of color. We have done this; we've done this successfully. We've done it for a lot of firms. We're landing cybersecurity analysts. Our clients then have the opportunity to hire them.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (26:49):
So, it de-risks for our clients, the integration, the training, bringing people into the workforce that normally wouldn't be in the STEM workforce. So, we have done this. We think it's a huge differentiator. Our clients have come back, and it brings new people into tech and actually makes the firm actually, diversity is never a bad thing. Diversity of thought, diversity of people. And it's one of the, what I think foundational things of who UST is from a firm level.
Jim Marous (27:30):
So, let's take a short break here and recognize the sponsors of this podcast.
Jim Marous (27:36):
So, welcome back. I'm joined today by Maureen Doyle-Spare, General Manager at the digital transformation consulting firm, UST. We've been discussing the importance of investment in modern technologies despite economic uncertainties.
Jim Marous (27:51):
So Maureen, there continues to be a lot of talk around digital transformation and banking. Yet, based on our research, at least, the pace of this transformation differs immensely from organization to organization. To be prepared for the future, where do organizations have to make big bets today?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (28:11):
I think the big bets that they need to play is definitely, they need to get their infrastructure into the cloud. Getting their infrastructure into the cloud and their data management, a more unified data management strategy, I think is important.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (28:31):
Because going back to what you said on the back-office, how the back-office operates affects your customer experience. And until things are able to integrate, there's normalization of data across the large banks for KYC and onboarding, that really is the foundational aspects certainly need to be done.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (29:00):
Cybersecurity, we absolutely have to look at that. And then finally, I do think AI, the power of AI is not to be dismissed. I think it can help front, middle, and back-office from client experience to processing loan applications and ChatGPT.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (29:21):
And so, I think to me, understanding how you can infuse AI into your overall business and create the impact you want, I think is one of the big bets that firms have to take a hard look at.
Jim Marous (29:40):
It is interesting too, because we've used AI for years in the risk and security areas. And I think if organizations implement AI solutions within, let's say a column, a silo of the bank, maybe it's loan processing, maybe it's new account opening, whatever it is, that's a good way to get your feet wet.
Jim Marous (29:59):
And because of the fact that there's so many ways now to modify and modernize the core without having to do the whole thing at once. I think this is a great way to dip your toes in the water but jump in fast type scenario.
Jim Marous (30:12):
So, do you see a bias? You work with a lot of different organizations of different sizes. Do you see a bias as to how the organizational structure of financial institutions should be changed and place the right emphasis on technology and data and innovation?
Jim Marous (30:30):
And maybe the answer is not a black and white solution. Maybe it is based on the organization, but how do you see this done in the industry? Because we're really moving quickly, and I think at least in my observations, organizations are challenged as to how should they restructure for the modern world. Is there any one answer? Are there certain biases that you may have that say, this is what I would probably do?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (30:54):
Yeah, I think I've seen the most success when firms really adopt the agile mindset. I've seen a lot of banks be agile-ish but really not bought into being agile. I think the agile philosophy really brings IT and the business together.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (31:21):
And in the large banks, that's where the magic happens, when you can bring IT and business together and be able to foster innovation, do quick hits, fail fast. And part of agile is-
Jim Marous (31:40):
I'm laughing only because the banking world doesn't like to fail fast one, because they don't want have any risks, so they don't want to fail ever. Which is a real mindset change that needs to take place.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (31:50):
Exactly. Which is why I'm saying the agile, from beginning to end, and I'm not just talking about it from a delivering technology framework. I'm talking about it a complete mindset. And when you're able to really kind of get that complete mindset, it really does bridge the business and the technology partners.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (32:16):
And so, you behave differently. You look at things differently. And because you're taking things in small bits and moving things along, you can do that fail fast and rapidly pivot. Rather than planning out a large program of work, putting lots of resources and getting three quarters the way through and realizing maybe it isn't working as planned.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (32:44):
So, I do think firms that embrace agile tend to be more successful. But it is a cultural shift. It is not just a technology approach shift; it is a cultural shift.
Jim Marous (32:57):
So Maureen, you talked about being agile and having more involvement across the organization to be able to fail fast. I'm going to move that a little bit towards democratization of data insights in modern technology so that more people in the organization can embrace what's available as opposed to simply having it be in the realm of one silo within an organization.
Jim Marous (33:21):
Do you see more organizations going towards this structure of saying, we want more people to have the power to leverage the insights, the data, the technologies that we have within our organization?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (33:32):
I do. I think aspirationally, absolutely, I think everybody agrees to really give the personalization and the value-added services, you need that holistic view of the customer. You need to understand, you need to also pull in the non-structured external information as well as what the firm has in order to, to really understand the customer's behaviors, the customer's preferences, and really pull that together as a single holistic unit.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (34:14):
So, I think firms understand that in order to be competitive, they absolutely need to do that. I think it comes to their data management and how willing they are to change their data management. And do they have the resources, do they have the tools to really enhance and make that accessibility to the data?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (34:41):
A lot of the data sometimes is on on-prem applications and not hosted in the cloud. So, it's not accessible to the greater banking institution.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (34:57):
So, we've worked with a lot of clients, doing that modernization, moving the data to the cloud, moving, we partner with a platform called Next Pathway that actually helps, we work alongside it, and we are able to quickly move, not data, but the harder part of it is to move all that ETL that's built around that data. So, if they are moving to the cloud, all that ETL doesn't have to be rebuilt.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (35:32):
So, we work closely with our partners and our clients to kind of try to bring our expertise and our accelerators to help them achieve that.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (35:45):
But I think philosophically, most of the banks agree yes, they need to do it. Yes, they need to get all these unstructured external alternative data sources. To some extent you could consider within a large bank the other divisions, external data sources, while they shouldn't be, but sometimes you can see that.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (36:06):
But I think it is having it in the cloud and then having that data management with cross divisions in the bank which is going to be, go back to what I said at the beginning, it's foundational, it's foundational. And that foundational lift has to be done to support the transformation.
Jim Marous (36:31):
So, as we wrap up this conversation, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing the banking industry today?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (36:40):
I do think the biggest challenge is resiliency governance. I think everybody needs to keep up with the customer experience. I think everybody is aware of that. I think as technology changes, I think as customer behaviors change, I think there's going to be increased focus in expenditure on putting improved controls and potentially regulation demands.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (37:13):
So, I think that that is one area that I think you'll find banks spending more and more time to make sure that they mitigate that.
Jim Marous (37:25):
And the alternative, what's the biggest opportunity for the industry, do you believe?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (37:30):
I think the biggest opportunity for the industry is changing how they do business. Kind of-
Jim Marous (37:39):
That might be a challenge also, I'll give you a pass on that because it's one of those things you go, "It's the biggest opportunity, but it's the hardest thing for them to do." Yeah.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (37:47):
It is, it is. And adopting new ways of doing business. And I think you said it at the beginning, and I fully agree with you, with each instability in the market and uncertainty, it brings opportunities. It makes us look at how we do things differently. It forces us how to look at two things differently.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (38:15):
So, I think the biggest thing that we can look at as opportunity is this instability is making a lot of firms figure out how they be become more efficient. If the economy was humming along like it was two years ago, would people be looking at optimization as closely as they are today? If we weren't having some of the cybersecurity challenges that we've had over the last 18 months in the world, would we have leaned into resiliency and cybersecurity?
Maureen Doyle-Spare (38:54):
So, I think, we look at what's going on and it does change what we do as an organization, and everybody is looking at optimization right now.
Jim Marous (39:05):
It's interesting. I am becoming more and more of a believer that size doesn't matter. I'm seeing some amazing things being done by some of the smallest organizations I would've ever considered to be in the realm of innovation, digital transformation, all this.
Jim Marous (39:23):
But I think between the mindset differences, between the smaller and the larger organizations, the ability to buy at scale, strategic solutions in pockets to fix what's broken in a prioritization order, as opposed to saying, we got to fix it all at once.
Jim Marous (39:41):
And I think the mindsets, I am excited about what I'm seeing in the small and mid-size community banks and community credit unions, because they really have a focus on getting things done without getting caught up in their legacy mindset.
Jim Marous (40:00):
And that's exciting for me because it opens the door to a lot of opportunities, especially at times of this strange world we're in. People said, okay, people are transferring money from community banks to the biggest five banks.
Jim Marous (40:14):
Well, I think money flows the other way just as easily whereas organizations say, "Geez, how much money do I want to put in with X, Y, and Z?" And the focus on the community becomes greater.
Jim Marous (40:25):
So Maureen, thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate your time.
Maureen Doyle-Spare (40:30):
Thank you very much. I appreciate your time and thoroughly enjoyed the discussion.
Jim Marous (40:36):
Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoy what we're doing, please take 30 to 45 seconds and show some love in the form of a positive review. It helps us continue to get great guests.
Jim Marous (40:51):
Finally, be sure to catch some recent articles on The Financial Brand and check out the research we're doing as the Digital Banking Report.
Jim Marous (40:59):
This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to our senior producer, Leah Haslage; audio engineer, Sean Rule-Hoffman, and video producer, Will Pritts.
Jim Marous (41:07):
I'm your host, Jim Marous. Until next time, remember, the best preparation for tomorrow is investing in what is important today.