Tap Fintech Tactics

February 2016: Vol 39 No 2
by Mary Auestad Arnold

From the editor

Mary Arnold

In the last few years, financial technology companies have been chipping away at traditional financial institutions’ business, introducing peer-to-peer lending and a plethora of e-wallets—services that appeal to consumers for convenience, accessibility or low cost.

While it would be difficult for these firms to compete with banks and credit unions on their entire line of business, consumers have shown willingness to take an à la carte approach to their finances, sharing their wallets with the likes of PayPal, Apple and Facebook.

Fintech success has several roots, not the least of which is the level of investment: “$10.49 billion was invested in venture-capital-backed fintech companies in the first three quarters of 2015,” according to a recent American Banker article on ways technology and banking are intersecting.

But it’s not all about the money. “Fintech companies are succeeding because they put the customer at the center of the proposition,” the article goes on, attributing the sentiment to David Klein, CEO of student loan refinancer CommonBond.

Weldon “Butch” Leonardson would agree. In this month’s cover story, he suggests that envisioning the ideal member experience is where to begin innovating.

“A lot of people look at what technology can do and try to exploit that,” says the director of IT leadership for Cornerstone Advisors Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz., and former CIO of $12 billion BECU, Seattle. “Instead, start with the dream you want to realize. Then find the technology to make it happen.”

Learn more about how to do that in “Ideas, Then Tech,” You’ll also read how $30 million Shell Geismar Federal Credit Union, Geismar, La., is considering piggybacking on the popularity of crowdfunding to take peer-to-peer lending to a new level for its members.

We can’t talk fintech without payments, and in “Payments End Game,” we look at the merchant side of the transaction. See how FIs big (think Chase) and littler [$441 million Team One Credit Union, Saginaw, Mich.] are working with retailers to lower their costs, while preserving interchange income. And read about the latest in PINless processing and the EMV shift, all starting on p. 10.

Mary Auestad Arnold
Editor and Publisher