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.
In the past, consumers relied almost exclusively on legacy banking institutions for their financial interactions. Today, businesses across all industries have access to embedded banking products enabled by Open Banking policies and powered by Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) providers.
Embedded financial services within the user journey makes the experience seamless for the user and unlocks revenue streams and analytics for businesses. The question becomes, what is the role of traditional banks in this new business model?
My guest on the Banking Transformed podcast is Anthony Burton, SVP of connected banking, open finance, and embedded banking at Truist. Anthony shares how Truist is embracing this opportunity and how this will impact current and future customers.
This Episode of Banking Transformed is sponsored by FIS
When customers need to pay, borrow, or invest, are you there? FIS believes the future of financial services delivery is giving customers what they want, whenever and wherever they are. SMB Embedded Finance enables Financial Institutions and Technology Companies to deliver critical financial services to small businesses at their point of need.
Jim Marous: Hello and welcome to Banking Transformed, the top podcast in retail banking. I'm your host, Jim Marous, owner and CEO of The Digital Bank Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand. In the past, consumers relied almost exclusively on legacy banking institutions for their financial interactions. Today, businesses across all industries can provide financial services with the help of traditional financial institutions or even on their own. Embedded financial services within the user journey makes the experience seamless and is really a benefit to the consumer where they don't have to actively do banking transactions. The question becomes, what role will traditional banks play in the open banking, embedded banking and connected banking future?
Jim Marous: My guest in the Banking Transformed podcast is Anthony Burton, Senior Vice President of Open Banking, Embedded Banking and Connected Banking at Truist. Anthony shares how Truist will be embracing this opportunity and how this will impact the current and future direction of the bank. Embedded banking, open banking and connected banking are all central to the digital banking transformation journey at legacy financial institutions. As part of the major technology modernization efforts, Truist is rethinking their distribution and customer experience business models to future-proof revenues and growth. Anthony, can you share a little bit about your career path before you've gotten to Truist and how that may have prepared you for what you now are embarking on at Truist?
Anthony Burton: Yeah, sure. Before Truist, I was at Wells Fargo for about 10 years, and the last seven of those, I was focused on launching our retail open banking at Wells Fargo. I've been very, very deep in this space. Was also a founding member of the FDX, Financial Data Exchange Consortium, very passionate here. Then, with Truist, I'm in Charlotte. Truist has their new headquarters in Charlotte, and it was a perfect timing of I was looking for a change, Truist had been deferring their open banking stuff until after the merger obviously, and now that the merger is closing down, now they're ready to focus and they're all-in, and they obviously wanted to bring some folks in that could hit the ground running and not start from scratch. Yeah, I've been there for about three months now and getting my feet wet and understanding the lay of the land there and what we need to do, and I think we're in a good spot to not just catch up but actually leapfrog over.
Jim Marous: Your title talks about you're in charge of embedded banking, open banking and connected banking. We're caught in the banking industry in all kinds of definitions and everybody defines the whole element of that differently. How do you differentiate between those three? Are they all the same at Truist? What is the benefit of each one of them?
Anthony Burton: Yeah, I think that there's definitely crossover. I would say open banking is the general umbrella that we work under. I lead connected banking there. Connected banking is underneath open banking and then there's another side of that where it's going to be commercial. For our commercial clients, having APIs that are working with them. I think embedded banking is effectively a layer that spans both of those things. Having something, I would even say contextual banking as well, so it's something that's happening in the context of your journey when you're working within an app, whether it's our app, whether it's an app off of us, having your data connected going both ways actually to provide better outcomes within, it's not just a dumb connection. We're now leveraging the data that we know about you, working collaboratively with Fintechs or other applications to get more data to actually provide some insights or products that can be helpful for our clients.
Jim Marous: It's interesting, in all the podcasts we do and in the writing I do for The Financial Brand, it usually comes down to leadership, whether or not somebody's going to be successful or not. That seems to be very easy, but it's also very difficult because we all talk about digital banking transformation, want to become a digital bank. You mentioned already that, I'm not going to say things are on hold, but certainly the focus in the merger of BB&T and SunTrust was to make Truist real. At any point, the prioritization of initiatives would take precedence based on the ability to bring the organization together, because if it's not together, everything else fails.
Anthony Burton: That's right.
Jim Marous: That said, how is the leadership at Truist today different in the way they talk, the way they act and the way they engage from a cultural basis and actually implement against becoming a digital bank? Because I know that was the foundation upon which the merger was brought about, bringing new technology to scale. That's a heady, heady initiative.
Anthony Burton: It is.
Jim Marous: It's not just about changing the sign to the branch.
Anthony Burton: Yeah, yeah. No, you're right. It's actually a big reason why I even joined Truist. To your point, they didn't take two legacy systems and then put a layer over both of those systems. They really did create a new bank with very microservices-focused. I would say, the leadership right now is very, very eager to move forward. To your point, knowing that there was a backlog of initiatives and stuff that we had to defer until we got all of the merger stuff right because you have to do the banking stuff first. You can't just jump into initiatives if you're not doing your core stuff first. I think we're there now and I would say the leadership is very focused to take advantage of this new tech stack that we have to drive innovation to move fast, to collaborate.
Anthony Burton: I would say that being in banking for as long as I have, I use sports analogies a lot. There's a lot of times where banks would say, "Hey, we're a fastbreak offense now." You can have fastbreak plays but you may not have fastbreak people on that team. You still have people who run a half-court offense. I think the thing that's been super encouraging for me since my three months in Truist is that it's a fastbreak system and a fast break team and everyone's very, very, locking arms around moving as quickly as we can. We know that we have some catch up work to do, but we're not even looking at the catch stuff. We're really looking at long term and being a digital forward bank.
Jim Marous: You have an interesting perspective because you come from a legacy bank, but a legacy bank that's certainly ahead of the curve as far as the industry concerned with regard to open banking, connected banking and embedded banking. You're coming in aspirationally showing people where you need to go and hoping the faster I can get past where I was before the better.
Anthony Burton: That's right.
Jim Marous: I'm not going to put one company above the other because you're doing it differently. When you're working from a clean slate, what you want to achieve is a little different than working from something that you already were working on. That said, what are the biggest challenges that you're seeing in the implementation of some of these new initiatives and how does your backoffice structured to support that? Because the reality is when we talk about embedded banking, open banking, customer experience or engagement, the backoffice is usually the sticking point.
Anthony Burton: Sure.
Jim Marous: We can make it look really good on the frontend, but the way it's built on the backend is different. What are some of the challenges that you're already seeing that you're going to be having to address, which are, again, I don't want to make it look like it's a Truist problem because the reality is it's an industry problem. As you discussed yesterday in your session, the MX Experience Summit, the reality is, what is the challenges that you're seeing right now?
Anthony Burton: I would say the challenges are just that we're starting this. I wouldn't say that we have, going back to the fact that we're very microservices-focused at this point, we did just acquire a company's, a loanee's Arena software. I think, I've been in banking long enough where we get data in, data out and all that stuff. We have a lot of data that just collects dust, you don't actually do anything with it. It may end up on a PowerPoint but it doesn't actually become an actual actionable outcome for our customers.
Anthony Burton: I would say, the challenges just now that we know we're very focused on data, cleansing that data, analyzing that data to provide better outcomes for our customers, I would say, the challenge is we're starting it. We're in the early phases of it. We're learning as we grow, but I think it's less the fact that the technology isn't there and the willingness isn't there. I think that we're, going back to the fact that Truist is definitely a digital forward bank, we can't do that without data. Whether that's connecting the data for our customers out to other experiences, bringing data back in and giving them the outcomes that they need, I would just say the challenges were in those early phases figuring it out.
Jim Marous: It's interesting because you mentioned data. It's as if you're looking at my script and saying, "Okay, this is what we're going to take in next." The reality is we all know that the foundation of everything we're talking about is data analytics.
Anthony Burton: That's right.
Jim Marous: But it's more than that, because banking traditionally, you use data and analytics as an assessment tool, as a management tool, as a progress tool as opposed to, and we talked about it before the podcast, as opposed to making it so that it actually touches a consumer. What is Truist doing? Because it really gets into the open banking, embedded banking and connected banking.
Anthony Burton: That's right.
Jim Marous: What is Truist doing? How are they getting there to say, "It's not going to be about better reports, it's going to really be about better experiences and better engagement." What are you doing? There's no financial institutions, no matter how bad they are, that this isn't really top of the agenda, but it doesn't mean they're actually acting on it. We know we're all in an immature state from a data analytics standpoint, but how is Truist doing that?
Anthony Burton: I think the best metaphor, it's almost like creating a virtual personal banker for our customers. We have a Truist Assist product that helps our customers. I think, using all of that data as if that was a human being who's looking at all of the data across, not just your Truist relationship, but all these other relationships and say, "Hey, it looks like you may potentially need a personal loan. Hey, are you really using all these subscriptions that you're using?" It really just trying to be an advisor to them. I don't want to use term roboadvisor, but a virtual advisor to them and someone who is, like Truist is actually, that they feel when they're with Truist that they have a banker with them no matter what.
Anthony Burton: Again, we're in the early stages of that, but I think that's really where we're trying to go at the end of the day is. We're very hyperfocused on helping our communities and helping our clients, and the best way to do that is for them to feel like they have somebody who is with them at all times within their journey. Whether you're leaving college and we can help you with getting potentially your first mortgage or something like that, but it's less about pitching products, it's about how can we help you on your journey? There could be insights and that's all, and that could be all it is. We're really trying to be there for our customers throughout their journey.
Jim Marous: What is your department's relationship with the people that actually are doing the data and analytic work? I don't mean is it a good relationship, bad relationship, but how intertwined are your mission? Because you can't go without them and the reality is their future depends on you in many ways.
Anthony Burton: That's right. Three months in and some new players with-
Jim Marous: But it was a moving train when you got there. It wasn't at the station necessarily.
Anthony Burton: That's right. That's right. We're building that right now. To your point, we're very highly cognizant of that fact that we can't do anything without them. One of the things I was talking about with, as we're building our team out, is that we need data analysts on this stuff. It can't just be me.
Jim Marous: We all need data analysts.
Anthony Burton: The recent acquisition of Arena will help us with that too. At the end of the day, I think we're tied at the hip with them. I'm helping provide the rails and the highways of bringing data in and out, and we need to partner with our data team internally to also then make use of that data one way or the other.
Jim Marous: You're located, as you mentioned, in Charlotte in the new facility that Truist has built, which is really, as I understand it, an innovation lab in a big scale. Was that intentional from the beginning? Or, are you there because you're located there before?
Anthony Burton: Well, it helps that I'm there because it's a great space, and the space is it was intentionally built for collaboration not just with Fintechs and other companies but even with our clients, having our clients come in and prototyping stuff with them and just seeing if this is resonating or not. I love that space. You walk in, it's two stories high, floor-to-ceiling windows, it's gorgeous.
Jim Marous: It's beautiful. Yeah.
Anthony Burton: It really does make you feel innovative. Banks are typically, you walk in and it looks like office space most of the time, and so you're going into a place that's really exhilarating and I think it's a great place to host clients, to host other companies that we're trying to collaborate with. It was intentionally built that way and I'm just lucky that I lived in Charlotte so that I could actually take advantage of it.
Jim Marous: It's interesting. Truist is obviously the combination of two very legacy banks. If you're looking at history, you say they're about as legacy as they get. Employees, however, look all the time and saying, "They're looking out for themselves. They love their company, but at the end of the day, they're going, "Is this digital banking issue going to outplace me?" How is Truist working with employees across the board, especially in your area, to make them know that this future is even brighter because of this as opposed to, you're not going to find usually a data engineer in the branches that's been working as a teller or as a branch manager. However, for the branches to really help your initiatives, they have to understand what you're doing and the broader scope of that. How's that done at Truist?
Anthony Burton: Yeah, I think it comes down to leadership. Our leaders have been fantastic about saying, "Hey, we're one bank and it's a new bank." I know how we did things at SunTrust and did things at BB&T, but we're Truist now. It's great for me coming in because I'm pretty new, but there are a number of folks who worked at both of the banks for a while or new roles, they're doing new things and basically, our leadership is saying, "We are merged. We are merged now. We are Truist. We are not SunTrust and BB&T anymore, and that has really filtered down to folks. I think that it's also been really attractive for new folks coming in because, for me, I'll speak my own personal experience, it's tough. I had 10 years at Wells Fargo, I had a lot of political capital there, I knew a lot of people and that's tough to replicate when you go somewhere else. At least I know this space, so I know that and they were bringing me in to-
Jim Marous: You know the next station.
Anthony Burton: That's right, and I know all the people in the industry, and so I'm coming with all those connections, but still I needed to come into a new bank and make new relationships. The fact that a lot of people who'd even been there before are also making new relationships and in new roles made it feel like I'm not the only kind of new guy, so to speak. The leadership has done a great job of really just saying, "Hey, to your point, we're not a legacy bank anymore. We intentionally built this bank to be innovative, to be digital forward." Obviously, if you look at where we're located, we're predominantly in the southeast and east coast, but there's no reason that our digital forward approach can't go nationwide.
Jim Marous: When you're looking at embedded banking, connected banking and open banking, how important, as you're looking at it now and even looking at how you're going to differentiate from the industry, how important is speed and scale of implementation? We get into the whole role of saying, "Okay, we need to get this implemented this year." Well, the reality of the world today is, we got to get it implemented in the next two months, things that in our mind would've taken a year, 18 months to implement, and nothing could be true to that than the PPP loan process. But it really is true when you're talking about coming in new, knowing at least partway where you want to go because you've been there, but also what you want to do differently. What is the importance of speeding scale, not just for what you're implementing, but all the foundational things behind you they have to also go that way?
Anthony Burton: Yeah. I think it comes down to building the right architecture upfront. I think my previous role, we were one of the first to go out there with open banking and it was great. We took our alums along the way, but we did a great thing and it was a great team. But truthfully, at the end with the architecture was we had a lot of first mover debt, so we were having to tack on things and not have, to your point about scalability and actually building architecture that can scale. I think that that's the big thing that I'm bringing right now, bringing my lessons learned and leveraging. I think in a lot of ways, the funny thing is that I tell leaders at Truist now is that, in a lot of ways it's actually better be lucky than good sometimes.
Anthony Burton: By deferring some of this work, it allowed FDX to mature, it allowed a lot of other things to mature, allowed a lot of the aggregators to be a lot more collaborative in this space than they were when I first started talking with them. I think that, as long as we have the right technical architecture, like I said, we can catch up very quickly and then just keep going, because we're not having to have any of that first mover debt anymore.
Jim Marous: It's my impression, and correct me if I'm wrong, that your roles in, again, embedded banking, connected banking in open banking is not just technology, there's human aspects to that as well. But that human aspect only is empowered if you democratize the data and the insights across a much broader array than the people that do the reports than the month. How is Truist addressing that? That really is a very transformational shift in banking, but also in how you share insights so that people can make decisions. I usually talk about the fact that with people opening more and more accounts digitally, your branches need to do the cross-selling because we just don't have the right elements using a digital engagement to take it to the next level as you would in a one-to-one relationship. What is your perspective on the democratization of data as it relates to your role at Truist?
Anthony Burton: Yeah. Right now, we're focused on laying the foundation of connected banking, getting our customers off of being screen-scraped and onto our APIs, so that's step one. But to your point, step two, and this is really where it's going is bringing, that's one path of the highway, now we got to bring the other path in.
Jim Marous: Right.
Anthony Burton: Those are the two prongs of connected banking and bringing data back in. Just like anybody, there's a lot of line of business initiatives that use ... one uses MX, there's some that use others and there isn't really that cohesive data strategy that's there. That is what we're fast-following on to with the migration off of screen-scraping is we're going to be the partners to all of our LOBs, all of the other folks within our branch folks or whatever. We're the data experts, we're the ones who are bringing folks in, if they need something, maybe where you'll partner with somebody that they need. We're that Grand Central station of the data for them, so it's not just our customers they are leading, it's actually bringing data in both of those things. All that stuff, all has to be centered around client outcomes and helping our clients. I think the strategy is that Grand Central and we'll be that internal highway for our folks.
Jim Marous: Before we take a short break, one thing I did and I came out to you at the beginning, before we even got on the podcast, the fact that I was saying, "Okay. You take one big legacy bank, you take another big legacy bank and we're all of a sudden, say we're going to have a digital bank that comes together." I even, I would, say made fun or questioned the buying of real estate in Charlotte to make it look good, but it really does sound that that has had a very instrumental role in making it so that, at least within that unit, the people that are meant to really do new things in new ways are in the same location and feeding off each other from a cultural standpoint, because if you're in one of the legacy locations, you're surrounded by legacy people and that's not good or bad, because you need history in order to build as you well know at Wells Fargo. But it's hard sometimes to put the other foot in the water if you don't have the environment around you. Has that really helped the overall engagement and-
Anthony Burton: One hundred percent.
Jim Marous: ... what you're doing in the last three months?
Anthony Burton: I think that space is, it really, because to your point it's, we're going to be digital forward, we're going to be innovative, then you walk into just your standard office space environment, it doesn't really feel that way. You can go to a conference room and you can just, but it's this open air, two-storey area. Just by walking in there you feel like this is a creative space.
Jim Marous: You're almost held accountable by your counterparts around you.
Anthony Burton: A hundred percent, oh yeah.
Jim Marous: Everybody's got to have that energy going.
Anthony Burton: Yeah.
Jim Marous: Somebody lets down, they let everybody down.
Anthony Burton: Yeah. There's a little green space where you can sit on bean bags and just chat or there's swings, if you need to go out there to take a break or whatever. But no, I think that, again, kudos to our leadership of not just talking the talk but walking the walk by giving us that space to be that creative, be that collaborative. It does make a huge difference.
Jim Marous: Anthony opposed to traditional banks who have certainly own the entire value chain, banking as service players, embedded banking players, open banking players, really opens up the network from both the standpoint of who you engage with from Fintech firms is either a provider or a capture of the insight from an innovation standpoint, but also from the standpoint of revenue. As you are working with outside organizations, are they right now in the stage you are in this whole process? Are they Fintechs that are providing you the innovation juice to get things going faster and at scale? Or, are you really looking just as much at or more so at the embedded banking component, which is providing the banking services to non-financials?
Anthony Burton: Probably both actually. I would say that, to me, we talked about this on the panel yesterday, where Jane asked, "Where do you guys think this is all going?" I say this quite honestly, I don't know, but I say that in a good way. I think that what we're really trying to do is once we create that infrastructure of data in, data out, collaboration, connectivity with all, it just opens up all kinds of use cases that none of us are really even thinking about right now. What's core to that are those data connections and that collaboration with folks. I think it could be something where we're working with Fintechs to, not just provide innovative juice to us, but actually giving us data that we don't normally use for maybe underwriting, something like that.
Anthony Burton: Or it could be, "Hey, we're letting our customers do me-to-me transfers within QuickBooks or whatever." I think, those are the table stake stuff that we talk about now. To me, I think the really exciting part is we're building a highway where it's just forest right now. You build that highway, those forest get mowed down, you get all kinds of shops and new things that start getting built around that and I think that's where we're going here in the next five years, and that's what's really exciting. I think Truist is really well-positioned to take advantage of that.
Jim Marous: You have a very interesting position. You're coming in as a new kid on the block but having been around the block more than once in the same area, you're coming to an organization that had a pretty much an open slate, and you're building something that hadn't been built before. From an Anthony Burton perspective, number one, how are traditional organizations right now do you think that most are getting it wrong in the concept of open banking, connected banking and embedded banking? Just as importantly, what is the stamp that you're going to put on this whole initiative that you say, "This is what's been in my mind for a long time"?
Jim Marous: This is an interesting role. I don't get the opportunity to talk. I talked to Viral and I've talked to others at the very beginning of their journey and you don't get the opportunity very often to talk to somebody that has to go real fast with a platform that they know is going to work or not work and going to put their personal stamp on the whole thing. Between you and the rest of your team, what is the thing that, number one, you think that most traditional banks are probably getting wrong in this whole space? Number two, was we've done different at Truist?
Anthony Burton: Yeah. I think, I don't know if I would say is being wrong, but I would say that it's more of a shortsightedness. I think a lot of traditional banks looked at this as a risk play only. Let's get people off screen-scraping.
Jim Marous: Geez! That sounds like traditional banking does it?
Anthony Burton: Let's get people off screen-scraping and get an API and then we're all done, we fix that problem, risk is out or severely mitigated and let's move on to the next thing. To me, I'm yes, you do need to mitigate that risk that is laying the foundation.
Jim Marous: But it's managing it so avoiding it.
Anthony Burton: That's correct.
Jim Marous: It's looking at Amazon and saying, they said, "Oh, you don't have to return anything that was wrong size or wrong color at Christmas." Knowing that, that was not that big of a risk for them, but I couldn't ever imagine a bank saying, "Eh, don't worry about the overdraft. We'll carry you for a while," without some manipulation on the risk side. That's a major change.
Anthony Burton: Yeah. I do think you have traditional organizations who are just looking at the risk play and moving on to the next thing. To me, the moving on the next thing is the next thing within open banking. Yes, you need to mitigate that risk, but we've done and laid the foundation, let's now build the house and build the neighborhood and all of that stuff too. Going back to what I said earlier, I just think this whole area is greenfield and I think that organizations probably, I'm not going to toot my own horn, but I don't think there's enough leadership thinking, "Hey, this is just the new channel that we're going to go in. We had online banking, you had mobile banking, open banking's the next channel." That's the next thing and I think that there probably are enough people out there in traditional organizations who are thinking that way.
Jim Marous: What is Truist going to do differently that's going to make a difference?
Anthony Burton: I think that we've got the right team to think that way. Number one, I think that we're looking to take calculated risks. It's still a bank, so we're not going to just do anything, but I think we-
Jim Marous: We have the technology stack which is really a major initiative.
Anthony Burton: A big reason why I came too, because it allows us to fail forward. I think we're going to do things and maybe it doesn't go out a hundred percent the way we wanted it to, but the 80% is something that we can use for and tweak the 20%. Or maybe we try something and it doesn't go, edit all what we wanted to do, but it actually is something better. I think that's the thing where a lot of banks, they're so risk averse of ever trying those things and taking those leaps, and that was a big reason why I came to Truist because of that tech stack. We're able to move and iterate and make some changes that I think traditional banks wouldn't normally do.
Jim Marous: Well, it's interesting. It says a lot about your personal transformation as well, because you were doing really well at Wells and they've done very well.
Anthony Burton: Yep.
Jim Marous: But to take this next leap and say, "Okay, I'm going to apply this." I go back to my very beginning of my career where I went from a traditional bank to more of an innovation bank, they were smaller and they had to move quickly, but they said we're going to give you the open sandbox. It was one of these things I'm going, "Okay, I know some things I haven't been able to implement where I was because it's a big, big, big bank, and I was maybe not even ready at the time, but I said, at least they're going to give me the runway to fail," which again, it gets back to risk.
Jim Marous: As people that follow me on any platform, I go with the embrace change, take risk and disrupt yourself, both from a commercial, corporate basis but also from a personal basis. But that taking risk is such a big deal and the embracing changes, because if you can't embrace the change that we all have to do, nothing you're going to do is going to succeed at the end of the day.
Anthony Burton: That's right.
Jim Marous: The real beauty of open banking, embedded banking and all the others is that there's some new revenue models that can come out of that.
Anthony Burton: A hundred percent, yeah.
Jim Marous: What do you see is the future there? What do you see as a revenue model that may come out of that?
Anthony Burton: I think that, without saying certain products, I think to me, I think the really exciting thing is the collaboration with Fintechs to create new products. I think that, instead of it saying what's another stream that's coming into a current product of ours that we have or can we launch a new credit card and put that out in a digital-only credit card? There's things like that, but to me, I think the real heart of all this open banking is collaboration with Fintechs. I think, traditionally, it's been a bit of an antagonistic relationship between Fintechs, data aggregators and banks.
Anthony Burton: Again, Truist, at this point in time, with big reason is that that whole area is matured right now. This summit's been a great example of you've had a number of banks big to small who are here. You have MX, obviously, who's a core data aggregator out there and then a lot of Fintechs and people are just riffing off of each other and just trying to figure things out. I think without being prescriptive, I think the new revenue streams are really around how can we partner together to create some new products for our customers, and it's not-
Jim Marous: Charge them for it.
Anthony Burton: Yeah, yeah.
Jim Marous: The reality is that is a major change. You mentioned risk, I'm going to say charging people a fair value exchange, but we got to do our part. If we don't give it to the consumer, we can't be asking for fees.
Anthony Burton: That's why I always come back to client outcomes. If we're doing something that's actually effecting positive change to our customers, they will gladly give value back for that. You have to play that balance of being creepy. You don't want to just be, "I know so much about you, I'm going to throw this at you right now."
Jim Marous: But if you can provide value, and we talked about your ... Wells is my personal bank. If you can use that to show me that you're making my life better, just like with Amazon, I never worry about the Amazon data that they have on me. I know they know more about me than I want them to know, but every day they bring value. That's what we have to do as finance institutions. When you look at this also, we're all moving towards some version or maybe not of the super app mentality. What is your position on super apps, the potential in the States, but even maybe subsets of that?
Anthony Burton: I think, I'm just a big proponent of data portability. Our customers should be able to interact with Truist wherever they are. Whether that is through a super app, whether it's within whatever contextual experience that they have, I'm like, "Let's see when we get there." With some of that stuff, I think that going back to what I said earlier by creating these highways of data and actually having data analytics and data scientists on that, I just think there's all kinds of new things that are coming there. I wouldn't just corner ourselves into whether it's a super app or not. I think that there's just so many-
Jim Marous: There are only so many of those super apps, but it's a matter of where you're going to play in that marketplace.
Anthony Burton: Yeah. I don't know if we have a strict stance on that at this point. I think that, right now, we're just very focused on the creative and collaborative aspect of this and then let's see where it goes. When I started open banking seven years ago, I couldn't have imagined that we're where we are today. There are lots of things that have come because of that. Better data is obviously a big thing which is causing or creating more and more innovation out in the marketplace. As this collaboration continues, and it's that two-way handshake between Fintechs and banks, I think if you use the last seven years, where were we going to be in seven years? I don't know, and I think that's great.
Jim Marous: Yeah. We usually take a longer term vision of saying where do you think this is going to be in this many years? From a Truist perspective, I'm just going to go two years, and not where you think it's going to be, but where do you want your area of Truist to be two years from now?
Anthony Burton: My north star with all this is we have to fix the basics. Right now, our focus on the basics of moving folks over from scraping. I want Truist to be thought of as a digital bank. I don't want us to be in a place where Fintechs want to come and work with us. I want us to be considered the tech bank. I think it's not just my area, there's obviously other areas of the bank that are like that and are certainly positioned the same way. But I do think open banking and connected banking is the heart of that stuff too. Yeah, my thing is I want the Truist brand to be thought of as the tech-forward folks and that all these Silicon Valley startups that are coming up there just like, "Hey, we're going to go down to Charlotte and go talk to these guys."
Jim Marous: Make sure possibly knocking on multiple doors they pick you over whoever else may be on the other corners of Charlotte.
Anthony Burton: That's right. That's right. That's right.
Jim Marous: What stands in the way of reaching that aspiration that you have?
Anthony Burton: Probably just resource scale. I think that we are going to need bodies to do this. Not that that's an obstacle.
Jim Marous: Right now, with the economy being in doubt, we see some organizations scaling back just on an umbrella basis, where they're scaling everything back. We see some doing a little bit better decisioning on prioritizing where they're scaling back, but that obviously plays into the mix right now.
Anthony Burton: It does and I think the technology stack is good that we don't need an army of people. That's really what it should be. You have a lean tech stack, you have a lean force that's over it. That said, we will need some more folks. Listen, we have full commitment from leadership, so I'm not worried about that. To your point, obviously, economy plays and that's reality we'll have to deal with. But
Jim Marous: But you can't stop that engine right now.
Anthony Burton: No, no, you can't.
Jim Marous: You shouldn't.
Anthony Burton: We shouldn't.
Jim Marous: That's the challenge I think everybody is facing going, "The things we have to do, we still have to do. If we wait, the funny part about the economy is the outside continues to change. We just end up further behind."
Anthony Burton: I would say our leadership understands that. To your point, we shouldn't move away from this while the economy's going in and they aren't. We're still moving ahead. We just recently had a great meeting with them and they're telling us full steam ahead.
Jim Marous: That's great.
Anthony Burton: Yeah.
Jim Marous: That's also great when your third month you're going, "Okay, it hasn't changed," because that would've changed the cards a lot.
Anthony Burton: It's funny you say that because I was actually on my 20th anniversary with my wife in Mexico and we came back and then got that news and I was just like, "Yes!"
Jim Marous: Well, yeah. It's funny you mentioned your wife, because I know how many ... that's the person I have to answer to at the end of the day, is that, "Okay, this one's not a bad move," because there's always a challenge out there. Anthony, I appreciate your time. It was great meeting you at the MX Experience Summit. Even more so, I'm going to come back to you really relatively quickly, because I think your trajectory, your intended trajectory is on a 6-month basis as opposed to I'll talk to you in two years as I've done with many others, but I think that it'd be interesting to see along the path because what you're touching is really where Truist is going overall. I mean your data people and some others as well, but if those things break down, then we tend to fall a little bit further to the Legacy bank. Now, that doesn't mean you're behind because there's organizations above you and below you in asset size that have the same challenges, it's just a matter of can you do it differently?
Anthony Burton: Yeah.
Jim Marous: The benefit is you have technology established, it's the big issue.
Anthony Burton: I think we're good.
Jim Marous: Thank you very much.
Anthony Burton: Yeah, thanks.
Jim Marous: Appreciate it.
Anthony Burton: Appreciate it.
Jim Marous: Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, the winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoyed our show, please be sure to give a five star rating on your favorite podcast app. Also, be sure to catch my recent articles on The Financial Brand and the research we're doing for The Digital Banking report. This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. 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, simplifying the customer's financial journey is at the foundation of embedded banking and open banking.