Many of you know that I’m a cheap New Englander. I buy my cars used, then drive them into the ground. We had an understanding with our trusted mechanic: he’d let us know when it was no longer worth it to repair our 2006 SUV with 187,000 miles on it. We recently got the bad news, so I embarked on the always pleasant quest to find a new used car. With the spate of recent announcements from a few big banks that they were going to make the car-buying journey easier, I thought I’d give one a try.
Going to the site of a large bank where I have a $100 checking account (with no fees), I went through the process. It was a disappointment. It sent me to a third party site car buying site, let me know vaguely that I’d receive 50 basis points off my loan rate if I financed through them, and offered supposedly discounted, but undisclosed, prices if I’d surrender my contact information to a literal used car salesman. I passed, and went with the trusted mechanic, who got me a replacement SUV at auction.
I’ll be blogging about this shortly, but my point is this: at Celent, we think of ourselves as pragmatic futurists. We stay on top of the latest technologies, we’re briefed by leading fintechs, and we play with the latest bank offerings, so we know what’s really out there. We’re not pursuing a “FUD” strategy; sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt is not our shtick. Instead, we listen to the hype, we evaluate the claims, and we provide our clients with our views on what’s really happening today, and what’s likely to happen in the future. We’re keenly aware of the constraints of legacy technology and culture, the reality of human behavior, and the promise of fintech. Change is coming, but there’s no need to panic . Incumbents have to adapt, and more quickly than they’d like, but they have time if they proceed with urgency and purpose.
A couple of recent efforts highlight today’s reality. The first is Stephen Greer’s piece on opening checking accounts on mobile devices, The US Open: Looking at Mobile Account Opening at US Banks . A casual perusal of the headlines might lead one to think that leading banks have mobile account opening nailed. Spoiler: they don’t. The report provides examples of what’s really happening with mobile account opening today and highlights the shortcomings and strengths.
In the same vein, Zil Bareisis tackles a new payments method in Replacing Cards with Account-to-Account Payments for Shopping: Hold Your Horses . While there are promising aspects, a lot of practicalities mean that we won’t be seeing near-term hockey stick growth here.
To show that we’re not fixated on debunking technologies, Joan McGowan’s report, Robotic Process Automation in Risk and Compliance, explores how to reduce costs and fraud using RPA — it’s pretty compelling.
Several vendors across the financial services technology spectrum have chosen to list their services on our new platform VendorMatch. VendorMatch helps you to discover new, exciting, and relevant commercial technology solutions, allows you to evaluate partners for future projects, and saves you time and money in the process.
We are not stopping there! We will also use VendorMatch internally as a mechanism for our own research and plan to deliver the bulk of our vendor-related research through the platform. Our goal is to run our ABCD and Spectrum reports on VendorMatchby the end of the year. We’ve got an ambitious digital roadmap ahead of us, and I look forward to hearing your feedback from you as we continue to launch our new digital services.
On another front, I’m delighted to announce that the nomination window for Celent’s Model Bank Awards is now open. Here’s how you can apply.
We’re heading into the conference season and hope to see you at Sibos, Finovate (New York and Asia), Money 2020, AFP, and numerous others.
With all best wishes,
Senior Vice President