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

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What Happens When Every Brand is a Bank?

Embedded finance enables businesses to seamlessly integrate financial services into their business models, providing banking, credit, payments, or other services — efficiently and at the consumer’s point of need.

According to Accenture, 47% of non-financial companies said their companies have already invested in embedded finance offerings. The vast majority of these firms also stated that embedded finance increased engagement and helped them acquire new customers.

We are very fortunate to have Eric Sager, COO of Plaid and Ben Brown, cross industry financial services lead at Accenture with us on the Banking Transformed podcast. They discuss the competitive trends, the impact on traditional financial services and the opportunities in the marketplace.

Jim Marous:
Hello, and welcome to Banking Transformed. I'm your host Jim Marous, owner and CEO of the Digital Banking Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand. Embedded finance enables businesses to seamlessly integrate financial services into their business models, providing banking, credit payments and other services efficiently and at the consumer's point of need. According to Accenture, 47% of non-financial companies said that their companies have already invested in embedded finance offerings. The vast majority of these firms also stated that embedded finance increases engagement and helped them acquire new customers. We're really fortunate today to have Eric Sager, COO of Plaid and Ben Brown cross industry financial service lead at Accenture on the show.

Jim Marous:
They will discuss the competitive trends, the impact on traditional financial services and the opportunities that are evolving in the marketplace. Embedded finance put simply is where financial service becomes an integral part of a user journey outside of a traditional financial service organization. From an Uber payment to buy now pay later opportunities to embedded insurance investments and lending, embedded finance brings banking to the customer as opposed to the other way around. In this evolving world of financial services banks are still needed, but may become invisible to the consumer.

Jim Marous:
It allows for serving new high volume, low cost audiences behind the scenes generating revenue potentially without even generating them in traditional relationships. So how do traditional financial service organizations remain relevant? First of all, Eric, can you define embedded finance for our audience and also tell a little bit more about Plaid and the role Plaid is playing in this evolving ecosystem?

Eric Sager:
Well, thank you for having me and having us. As you said at the beginning I think your summary was actually very apt. Embedded finance is all about creating seamless digital financial solutions for consumers at the point of need. And at Plaid we've built the leading ecosystem that helps connect consumers, developers, and institutions to help make those types of use cases possible.

Jim Marous:
Ben, as I mentioned earlier Accenture partnered with Plaid on a report that dug deep into the future of embedded finance. Can you discuss a bit about the research and also some of the key findings?

Ben Brown:
Absolutely. Thanks Jim. So we actually have multiple research efforts that fed into this report. We've done research with consumers around the world as part of our annual global consumer financial services study. And we also have done a number of research efforts tracking consumer behaviors during and after the COVID pandemic. And we've incorporated findings from those efforts in this paper, for example, 76% of consumers expect to maintain changes in their behavior with increased engagement in digital services as the COVID pandemic evolves and into the future.

Ben Brown:
In addition to that, we actually interviewed a thousand business leaders around the world on the topic of embedded finance and asked, are they engaging and investing in this area and what kind of outcomes are they seeing? And we got some really interesting responses. For example, we've spotlight this in the paper, 47% of the companies we talked to in the US said that their companies are investing in and plan to launch embedded finance offerings in the future. And a lot of the companies that are investing in this area are seeing really positive results. And so it really strengthened our interest in this topic as one of the key themes of change in the industry.

Jim Marous:
While we've talked about embedded finance and this sounds like something new, it's actually not that new of a concept. Ben, can you discuss about the evolution of finance from the perspective of what you're doing at Accenture.

Ben Brown:
Absolutely. And you're exactly right that embedded finance is an evolution of a concept that's been in the industry for a long time. We actually note that in the paper that you can see financial services partnerships with nonfinancial companies dating back decades. Auto manufacturers have had captive finance companies for many years. Retailers have had store cards and co-branded credit cards for many years, as well as airlines and other brands.

Ben Brown:
What we're seeing now though is with the rise of new technology, better understanding of the customer and digital platforms. We're seeing a new wave of these financial services partnerships and the ability to embed the distribution and servicing of financial services in ways that we really haven't seen in the past. So whereas in the past you may have seen some brandsharing and some product customization. Today you see this possibility of really deep integration and customization of the products for specific platforms and brands.

Jim Marous:
How does embedded finance differ from open banking or banking as a service?

Ben Brown:
I really see those concepts as enabling one another. And so open banking will enable embedded finance among other use cases by making banking data and transactions and interactions more possible through additional channels and through additional means. So you're not just having to go through a bank's proprietary channels, but they're also opening up partnership channels and ways to reach customers in new ways.

Jim Marous:
So Eric, why is embedded finance important to the consumer, let's say also the non-financial services organizations like retailers and even important to banks and credit unions?

Eric Sager:
From a consumer perspective there's a lot of benefits, first and foremost oftentimes it's just a much more convenient experience you gave the example of Uber at the start of the conversation. Just imagine that Uber, every time you got out of the car instead of you just being able to get out of the car and everything else takes care of itself seamlessly, you have to still get out your credit card or you still had to get out cash. And so the consumer experience itself it's actually improved by effectively embedding a lot of these financial services. In many other cases, it multiplies consumer choice so it gives consumers additional options. Buy now pay later is a key example of this.

Eric Sager:
Previously, you didn't have that as an option, you only had other tender types of options. Suddenly it's not like those under other tender types went away, but you now have another option that you could choose if it makes sense for you. And so proliferation of consumer choice with effective competition on the back end, I think is a huge positive for consumers in terms of not just the quality of experiences, but also just the fundamental terms that they can get on a lot of these financial transactions.

Eric Sager:
As far as why is it important for players across the ecosystem? One of the things we've seen at Plaid is many of our early customers were what you would refer to as fintechs. But since then, there's not a week that goes by now where I don't have folks from big banks reaching out looking to work with us as customers. So looking to develop their own fintech solutions, partnering with Plaid, to help power these digital financial flows. And then obviously we have a lot of large technology companies who are increasingly now entering this space as well because they see the value of being able to provide these types of services to consumers. For those players there's advantages above and beyond just creating a better consumer experience.

Eric Sager:
One namely is it's another way to potentially monetize some of those relationships, which in turn then allows you to provide some of your other services at a discount or potentially even for free entirely. And so that's a hugely powerful dynamic and in certain industries, I think what you will see more and more of is that the core service is actually going to become free or almost free.

Eric Sager:
And then it's being monetized in a way through financial services, but while still actually being incredibly competitive with the other options that a consumer has. And so in that world, everybody wins, the consumer actually gets the financial solution more cheaply than they otherwise would have to a distinct third party. They get the service that they're coming for for free and if you're the developer or the business implementing these types of solutions, you're suddenly able to be much more competitive versus other players who are still having to charge for their core services.

Jim Marous:
So Eric, I mentioned to you before we got on the broadcast today that I work with one of my accounts with a top 10 financial institution. And I don't know if it's still the case, but when I wanted to work with a fintech firm that would take money out on a regular basis to put in towards savings, they would not allow it and it was pretty much because of a relationship or lack of relationship with Plaid. Is this still the case with some financial institutions and if it is, be it Plaid or some other player, what are the challenges that financial institutions have with the ability to have consumers have this easy access to fintech solutions?

Eric Sager:
It's as you said, for us the focus has always been on building a secure, safe, transparent ecosystem that allows consumers to connect to the solutions that they want to connect, incorporates the institutions as well where a lot of that consumer data may sit that a consumer wants to share to power a particular use case. At this point we have data sharing agreements in place with the vast majority of institutions. We've invested heavily in helping make sure that we can bring on long-tail institutions, smaller banks as well for us. One of our key tenants is to really make sure that everybody can participate in the ecosystem.

Eric Sager:
And so you mentioned some of the migrations to OAuth connections and so forth, those connections for the top banks is something that obviously they have their R&D dollars to build, and so we end up signing data access agreements that allow us to seamlessly share that data on behalf of a consumer through those connections. But for some of the smaller banks, they don't necessarily have the money to invest or the technical resources to be able to do it. And yet we still want those banks and their customers to be able to participate. We don't want to create a world where just because you're banking with a local regional bank that can't afford to build these types of solutions, you're suddenly cut out of being able to use a lot of the services that you and I and so many other people love and know. And so we're investing heavily in things like Plaid Exchange as well to make it possible for every institution to participate in this new digital financial ecosystem.

Jim Marous:
In some cases Eric organizations also at least use the issues of their consumers, that they're worried about the security issues. Is this still a concern or is it still something that raises its head when you're out there working with financial institutions, that there's concern about the transfer of data?

Eric Sager:
For us security has always been number one from the very beginning of starting Plaid. We've never had any type of security incident, et cetera. We have a world-class security team in place that we've brought on from literally the best organizations in the world when it to comes to data security. And so we feel very good about what we're doing there on behalf of the ecosystem on behalf of consumers, on behalf of institutions and on behalf of developers. And certainly there are some institutions that have maybe been able to invest at the same degree, but even there again we're helping them by building the kinds of solutions that allow them to safely and securely participate in the ecosystem as well.

Jim Marous:
So Ben, we've seen some examples of evolution of embedded finance and I wonder we've seen how buy now pay later just exploded in the marketplace and disrupted the payments landscape. How do you see maybe embedded finance expanding in the near future and what else could happen?

Ben Brown:
I think embedded finance is all about the contextual offering of financial services in a way that's relevant to consumers and with an understanding of what their needs are. And that could apply to almost any or maybe literally any section of the financial services industry. So I think buy now pay later is really interesting because it places that borrowing at the point of purchase and connects it with what you're trying to buy in a way that's very lightweight almost, but we can see that in almost any area. So it's all about the right product at the right time and integrated servicing of those products once you have them. And just some examples out there, imagine being offered and able to originate a home loan when you're planning on improving your home or when you're planning on purchasing a new home.

Ben Brown:
And those offers being made through the platforms where you're already looking for those events. So you're going through Redfin or Zillow or one of those platforms. And that's where you're able to see these financial services that can help enable the life moment that you're contemplating. Auto insurance when you're buying a car or signing up for your lease or your auto loan directly through the dealership or through the car interface and investments based on where you're shopping.

Ben Brown:
For example, the ability to not just to maybe round up for saving but the ability to have your platform, your solution buy a dollar of stock based on wherever you're spending money that day at your Starbucks or your Home Depot or wherever it may be. And so I think there's a lot of opportunities to unlock data for the consumer and connect financial services to the things people are trying to achieve and on the platforms where they're already spending their time. And so we'll see these kinds of examples across the landscape I think in the next few years.

Jim Marous:
So you Both have mentioned this. So obviously the biggest winner of this whole equation is the consumer. It makes it easier, it makes it simpler to embed and access financial services as part of their everyday life. And now more than ever we've all become used to a lot of new ways of using personalization data technology for the benefit of the consumer, especially during COVID and it's only getting greater. Non financial organizations obviously also win because they keep the consumer engaged offering services at the point of sale, or as part of the engagement process and making it simpler to user services. But how about traditional banks and credit unions, do they lose the relationship? Do they lose the brand? Even if they don't go white label, do they lose in this overall equation? Eric, what's your perspective on this?

Eric Sager:
Not necessarily. I think a lot of the institutions are actually in a very enviable position. Like you said, they have fantastic brands, they have a lot of the consumer relationships, it's all about are they themselves willing and able to evolve with the needs of their consumers? And the research actually that we did with Ben and the team pointed this out as well. If you're the primary bank account for somebody and that bank account is being connected to a lot of the apps that we just talked about and a lot of these solutions that exist across the ecosystem, you're much more likely to continue using that as your primary bank account than if that's not the case.

Eric Sager:
And so there's absolutely no reason for why consumers would want to switch away from a existing banking relationship that works for them, that's continuing to evolve with their needs as this transition into a more digital financial ecosystem continues because of all the benefits that you just outlined for consumers. And so I think it really just comes down to the institutions that are willing to lead on that front I think will actually be huge winners because, again, they have the established brands, they have the established relationships.

Eric Sager:
And so by leading the way they're able to deliver the best end to end solution for consumer as possible. The institutions that either will lag or are unable to do so I think are the ones that will struggle. But then again, that's why we're investing so heavily in helping build a lot of the tools for those institutions to participate if they so choose.

Jim Marous:
So Ben from your perspective we've seen some examples. We've actually interviewed some people from CaixaBank and Emirates NBD, where they've looked outside their normal ecosystem for partners that when linked together can bring new revenue models to bear. So in both of these cases I've mentioned there was youth accounts where somebody could access technology tools, gaming, other entertainment and music at a fee that the bank would charge the sponsor, that would make it so that the revenue model would actually change. Ben from your perspective, does this open the door for brand new revenue models more in an open banking environment?

Ben Brown:
I think it does and when we talk about is this going to be a positive or a negative for banks? I see positives, I see embedded finance as expanding the size of the pie, not simply shifting shares between the pie. And as Eric said the key to success here is leaning into this trend, understanding what it's all about, understanding what your customers desire and looking to take a customer first mindset to this and understand some of the tools that are possible. Some things may need to change in the industry, for example, community banks really rely heavily and strategically on a small number of technology vendors and they need those technology vendors to lean into this trend as well and make open banking solutions available to them, help them navigate some of the challenges and capabilities required for embedded finance partnerships.

Ben Brown:
But I'm sure that those capabilities will evolve in the coming years. And it is really all about leaning into this trend and seeing where are your customers served well by the current channels and relationships that you have, and where can embedded finance partnerships be used to better serve customers and to access new groups of customers that may be outside your home market? Because banking in the future is going to go beyond geographic boundaries. And we're going to see a lot more both competition and delivery of service to customers that may be in unexpected places.

Jim Marous:
What's interesting is the way it impacts consumers, non-financial institutions and banks and credit unions. So Ben, in the research you're doing at Accenture, how do traditional financial institutions succeed in an environment of embedded finance? What are the keys to success?

Ben Brown:
That's a great question Jim. And actually in the paper that we produced with Plaid, we outlined seven keys to success for embedded finance and I'll go over them real quick. Happy to dig into any of these and talk more about them. The first is starting with the customer and understanding what kind of pain points your customers have and how embedded finance can help us solve those pain points, so that embedded finance is a means to an end of actually solving customer needs.

Ben Brown:
The second is knowing why you're doing it, as a business what are your goals and what's your north star? Is it for growth? Is it for a deeper understanding of the customer? Is it for more efficient customer acquisition? Just having that understanding of what your goals are for an embedded finance initiative is key to orienting your investments in the area, the kinds of solutions that you've built in house, the kinds of partners that you bring to the table, et cetera.

Ben Brown:
The third is understanding how it works and this applies to both financial institutions and the non-financial companies who are going to partner with them. Because we think that it's important for both sides to understand where the other is coming from in a partnership so that you have a lot of empathy for some of the decisions that are being made, especially if you're a nonfinancial company, sometimes the way financial institutions operate and make decisions can be very frustrating. But if you understand some of the regulatory and compliance and risk obligations they face, it helps you see those decisions more clearly. Fourth is picking your partners carefully because these can be long-term partnerships.

Ben Brown:
Often these embedded finance partnerships can last for many years. And so carefully picking who you're working with to enable these things is key. And on the bank side too, recognizing that you may not have an unlimited capacity for partnerships and there may be 10 spots for embedded finance partners for you to pick from. And so carefully choosing who you're going to focus on as your marquee partners. Fifth was what we called embracing intentional openness, which is a bit of a big phrase.

Ben Brown:
But I think what that refers to understanding and recognizing that embedded finance requires a different way of thinking about customer ownership, data, servicing all of these outlooks. And it will impact the whole way that you run your business and your financial institution across the policies and processes and systems that you have. Six was activating and contributing your unique capabilities. It's really important for a successful embedded finance solution to really bring what's unique about a specific platform and a specific financial institution to the table, so you don't just have me too products.

Ben Brown:
And then the last was following through. Like so many things embedded finance solutions and partnerships are not a field of dream situation. It is not, "Build it and they will come." You really have to build it and continue to evolve based on what customers need and the market and how it's evolving. And so recognizing that it's a ongoing journey of investment and continued evolution in your partnerships and your products. So those are some of the seven keys that we outlined in the paper, and I think those apply to both financial institutions and non-financial companies that are looking at participating in this trend.

Jim Marous:
Great list and obviously your dog liked number three and four the most but that's okay.

Ben Brown:
That's right.

Jim Marous:
So Eric, how does Plaid assist traditional financial service organizations so that they can remain relevant in this evolving banking ecosystem? Can you share some of the ways that your banking clients are leveraging your technology and expertise today?

Eric Sager:
We've definitely seen a lot of institutions partnering increasingly actually with fintechs and with tech players even to bring new products to market, Goldman Sachs and Apple comes to mind, Citi and Google and a number of other partnerships like that. And in many cases Plaid is what's being used underneath the hood to help power those types of products and solutions coming to market. And so they use our tools to be able to seamlessly connect consumers to those services that they're developing, oftentimes in partnership with some of these fintech and technology players.

Jim Marous:
So when you're talking about these experiences most of them are connecting as you said with the fintech players, how else can organizations use what you've learned and dig deeper? We've seen how Google is making inroads into making partnerships with financial institutions. We're going to probably see other big tech firms provide services for on behalf of financial services to leverage their data, how do you see this playing out?

Eric Sager:
I think there's a few key trends to watch out for there. The first is I still think a lot of the new FinTech and technology players that are entering into the space will continue to have a tremendous amount of success with the best in class solutions that they've been able to build. I think in some ways even more amazingly at a macro level for consumers is that in many cases you don't even need to be a consumer of one of these players to benefit. Think about what's happened with removing overdraft fees or with having zero cost trading commissions, et cetera.

Eric Sager:
The beauty of it is you don't actually even have to be a customer of a fintech although many, many are now in order to benefit because it's changing the expectations of consumers broadly across the entire ecosystem, and as a result, all consumers everywhere benefit even the ones that aren't actually switching their services. And I think that's a huge positive at the end of the day for consumers and the ecosystem as a whole, that competition, that freedom of choice on on behalf of consumers ends up raising the bar for everyone and ends up ultimately with much better solutions, much better terms for consumers broadly.

Eric Sager:
The second key area that I think we'll see more of is moving into more automated finance. And we've seen this transition over the years where a lot of what fintech has been able to do is find specific use cases where they've been able to deliver much, much, much better experiences, but there still is some friction that remains. And at the end of the day for many consumers, for many families, for many small businesses the difference between living a really healthy great financial life and not is unfortunately not just one big decision that you have to get right or not, it's a matter of making hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of small decisions just a little bit better over a long period of time and that's hard. It's hard for me, it's hard... even if you have all the information in the world, even if you have all the education, the discipline to do that every single day.

Eric Sager:
I know I don't do that. I know I could tell you right now there's a list of 20 things that I could do that would make me financially healthier, and I just can't be bothered because I want to play with my kids and I want to do so many other things, I want to have a conversation with all of you. But in a world where I have a trusted relationship and I have the data that I can share with a player that then ultimately can help me make automated decisions, and actually make those decisions on my behalf without having to check back in with me ahead of time.

Eric Sager:
I can entrust them with making those decisions for me over a long period of time. I can still review them, I can probably still reverse them if I really disagree but suddenly it really goes on autopilot and everybody gets the benefit of having a world-class financial advisor, which unfortunately in today's world is only something that the very wealthy can afford. And suddenly everybody is able to make those same decisions on a day-to-day basis, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, year by year. And by the time you're 20, 30 years in you're in a very, very different situation because these tools have helped you fundamentally make much better choices, even though you yourself were still living your life just like you always have.

Jim Marous:
On that same point do you see a time when maybe a financial institution is going to use your type of platform to actually make partnerships with fintech firms without a formal agreement, but actually offer it through their services? So let's say bank XYZ actually makes it a promotional pitch for people to sign up for Acorns let's say, automatic savings thing where they're not going to be able to develop that service. And they may not build an actual partnership, but they're working on behalf of their customers to say, "Go to us and use us as the conduit to make it so that we build a greater amount of loyalty, engagement and partnership."

Eric Sager:
Look, in some ways that already happens, there already aren't consumers that have gone to their financial advisors at a bank and the bank has actually recommended one of these tools because the bank itself doesn't have a solution quite led in place. I do think the next step though will be that banks will partner. I don't see them necessarily doing it without the partnership, because without the partnership on the backend and connecting it from a technology and product perspective, it's hard to deliver the kind of consumer experience you would want to deliver. But I do think a lot of institutions and we're part of those types of conversations all the time are increasingly thinking about, how can I get the best in class solutions across the entire financial ecosystem and make them available to my customers? And that is exactly what's happening.

Eric Sager:
And so that doesn't mean every single bank has to go build their own buy now pay later solution and their own personal financial management solution and their own this and their own that, no. It means by partnering smartly with the best-in-class provider across each of those areas, you can present your customers with a seamless, integrated, all encompassing set of options. You can make those smart recommendations and you as the bank as the institutions in that case, because you hold the main account are still at the center of that entire ecosystem that you've just helped your customer create, which is fantastic.

Jim Marous:
Which is really the only way you stay in the center is to offer those things because if you let the consumer as they're doing today, splinter it themselves, you're losing the relationship. So it's again saying who do I want to be at the center? So Ben, in a recent show, we discussed the decreasing trust in banking and the increasing trust in big tech and even fintech firms. Does embedded finance have the potential to help trust in traditional banks and credit unions? Or does the trust factor actually move even more in favor of the big tech and fintech firms?

Ben Brown:
No, I think it can definitely help with trust because trust flows from serving customers well and reliably, and I think embedded finance as a theme promises to increase access to financial services, to increase the relevance of financial services and those things will improve customer trust. You'll also see interesting brand partnerships between non-financial companies that are trusted by consumers and businesses, and the financial institutions working with them to enable some of these offerings and that's not always on a white label basis.

Ben Brown:
You'll often see both the nonfinancial brand and the financial brand together in front of the customer, and if that partnership has trusted brands on both sides they will benefit from one another. Also in terms of access, this is a really interesting concept too because embedded finance has the promise of making more data available to financial institutions, as they make both marketing decisions around when they're going to market a service but also the risk and underwriting decisions around can they offer a loan or an insurance line or something like that to a customer. And if they're able to use more data to make better decisions and to approve more people, then I think that is going to generate more positive reactions from customers and appreciation and that's going to increase trust as well. So I think there's a lot of potential here to actually build trust and build brand equity within the financial institution community.

Jim Marous:
So finally, this is to both of you, we've seen recently a number of huge announcements around partnerships and acquisitions in the fintech base. I know Plaid had been at the center of some of these discussions in the past. How do you see the world of financing evolve in the next one to three years? I used to say five to 10 years and now we're one to three, and I probably should say in the next 12 months because things are happening so quickly. But Eric, how do you see the overall world of finance in the whole global sense changing?

Eric Sager:
I think we'll continue to see an acceleration to a future where all financial services are being provided fully digitally. Where consumers can seamlessly take advantage of those types of solutions at the point of need. I think we will see more and more partnerships across fintechs, institutions and tech companies to be able to deliver on those customer experiences. And with Plaid and other players I think we will continue to build an ecosystem around all of that, that ensures that it remains secure, transparent, and keeps customers and consumers in control of their data throughout that entire experience.

Eric Sager:
I think that last point is incredibly kind of crucial as well. And so as long as we can collectively do that as an ecosystem, there's a lot of benefit to be had for everybody involved. But as you pointed out at the start of the conversation, none more so than for consumers. Consumers are ultimately going to be the big winners in all of this. And so it's on us and on many other folks that we work with and on really everybody across the ecosystem to continue to drive that forward.

Jim Marous:
It's interesting Ben in the last five years we've seen it where at one point financial institutions were able to guide the process, they were able to dictate what consumers are going to get. Consumers as Eric said are definitely in charge right now and even more so I think it's important to see that a lot of the changes we're seeing the marketplace has to do with speed and innovation and efficiency. How can we bring greater speed of innovation and efficiency to the marketplace to generate revenues, but also reduce costs and to make it better for the consumer? So Ben from your perspective, how do you see the marketplace evolve in the next one to three years?

Ben Brown:
Yeah, I absolutely agree with many of the things that Eric said, everything that Eric said I think he was right on point. And I think the future of the financial services landscape is going to be, it's a bright one, first of all. I think there's the promise of growth and unlocking new revenues through this trend and others, many things that are going on promise to grow the size of the pie in financial services to the benefit of customers, by making the right solutions available at the right time through new channels.

Ben Brown:
I think the other thing is we're going to see new players be persistent with fixtures in the financial services landscape. Some of these finTech entrants they're getting bank charters now and they are going public and they're not going away. And so there are going to be fixtures there and I don't think that means that they survive and thrive at the cost of other legacy incumbents, I just think it means that we'll see a more diverse, competitive landscape in the future.

Ben Brown:
And I also think that in the future we're going to see financial services defined by more openness. And as one regional bank strategy officer we interviewed for the paper said that the future is going to be defined by co-op petition, by partnerships that could look like competitive dynamics but they're actually entities partnering together to the benefit of consumers. And the other thing that we haven't really talked much about today, but we're keeping our eye on is the modernization of business financial services.

Ben Brown:
So not just financial services for consumers but also payment services, financing services, other things for small businesses and large businesses alike. And so that'll be really interesting to watch over the next two years. And I think it says, I think Bill Gates once said, "We often overestimate what will change in a year, but underestimate will change in 10 years." It's going to be a very exciting 10 years ahead of us in financial services.

Jim Marous:
You could almost slip that comment too because it's pretty amazing how we've in many cases underestimated what could happen in the last year, for sure. So thank you both for being on the show today, it's been a show I've been trying to put together for a while and I really appreciate your time and your insights. And I think it really shows what's possible in financial services going forward and it certainly has changed. So thank you again.

Eric Sager:
Thank you very much for having us.

Ben Brown:
Thank you.

Jim Marous:
Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed rated as a top five banking podcast, I genuinely appreciate the support you've provided since we started this endeavor. If you enjoy what we're doing, please be sure to follow Banking Transformed on your favorite podcast app. In addition, please take 30 to 45 seconds to show some love in the form of a review, it really means the world to me and to the rest of our team. Finally, be sure to catch my recent articles on The Financial Brand and check out the major 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 Longbrake, audio engineer, Sean Rule-Hoffman and video producer Will Prince. I'm your host Jim Marous until next time remember, now more than ever status quo is not an option instead it's time to imagine what's possible

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