AMCF Future of Banking at Jump Associates

Smartphone payments. Peer-to-peer lending. Geolocation-based offers. Biometric security. The death of retail branches? The end of payments networks? Commoditization of banking services?

In banking, mobile technology could change everything. Or it could simply be an enabler.

So how will mobility affect banking?

This question was the focus of last night’s AMCF Horizon Series Strategy Event, hosted at Jump’s New York office.

Keynote speaker Michael Saylor, founder and CEO of Microstrategy and author of The Mobile Wave, predicted that the “fifth wave” of computing – mobile – will affect everything from education to security to the global workforce. Saylor believes that mobile technology will force further consolidation in banking.

The event paired Saylor’s vision for the future with a conversation with the leaders who are at the helm of this change. Jump’s Alonzo Canada moderated a panel discussion featuring John Rosenfeld, EVP and Head of Retail Deposits and Payments at TD Bank, and Rich Naddy, Managing Director of Information Services and Global Business Enterprise Payments at Citi.

Both Rosenfeld and Naddy underscored the importance of a robust omnichannel strategy. Admittedly, that’s something that banks are still trying to figure out. But despite the current business press fascination with mobile technology, Rosenfeld reminded the room that when we need help, we don’t turn to Siri. We turn to people. That human interaction is what we’re hard-wired for.

While technology can help us conduct rote tasks, we ultimately need to trust the people and organizations that are custodians of our money. Trust isn’t something we can buy, and it’s not something that can easily come from a digital interaction. There’s no app for that. But trust is one of the most important assets that banks have, and it’s one of their best defenses against the commoditizing pressures of networks, merchants, telecoms, device manufacturers, and app makers all jumping into territory that was once the exclusive domain of banks.

How, then, can an omnichannel, mobile-enabled strategy enhance these customer relationships? Perhaps banks can take a page from Amazon’s playbook. As Naddy pointed out, conducting business across multiple channels can help banks get better data on customers, and make smarter choices about how, where, and when to serve them. These new data sets can help banks make targeted offers, create tailored products, and perhaps even piggyback on customers’ digital social relationships.

Banking is at a tipping point. With change coming from all sides – consumer behavior, technology, merchant demands, and new entrants into the sector – it seems that banks needs to rethink everything from their channel strategy to their partnerships. And mobile technology is likely to be a key piece of the puzzle.

So will mobility change everything? What do you think?

By Lauren Pollak, Jump Associates