Todd Clark

Data and digital drive the future

The digital transformation of financial services will have a profound impact for years to come, says CO-OP's Todd Clark.

January 24, 2018

Although it’s impossible to predict where any of us will be in 10 or 15 years, the digital transformation our industry is undergoing now will have a profound impact for years to come.

These changes will not only improve how we do business in the short term, they also set us up for an omni-digital future well into the next decade and beyond. What’s ahead?

Greater utilization of data. In a digitally driven world, data enables us to make fast decisions backed by real intelligence on a large scale. The value of data isn’t exactly news at this point, but the rise of digital companies such as Amazon, Uber, and Apple reveals just how revolutionary wellutilized data can be.

Consumers will demand excellence in digital delivery. We can’t easily foresee what digital excellence in financial services might look like in, say, 2030. But we can project that data transformation and a shift to digital delivery will be table stakes for the credit unions that endure, and a common underpinning for most of the advances we’ll see.

Open banking will change the playing field. Open banking standards are coming over from Europe, where they’re becoming mandates. Although they aren’t mandatory in the U.S. yet, these standards will arrive here anyway through multinational banks such as Wells Fargo and BBVA.

‘The future isn’t decades away:
It’s now.’

Open banking will force us all to interact in a more transparent and real-time way. It will alter the way we innovate and share those innovations. The net result is that we won’t remain relevant if we close off our systems. These ideas are already in the air, and within 10 years they will reshape financial services.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will create opportunity and change how we interact with members.

Here’s a quick example: Most of us buy cars on a predictable schedule—every few years. It’s not worth an analyst’s time to calculate that cadence for every member.

But machine learning lets you do this on a large scale. You can predict when a member might be in the market for a car, and contact them with an offer just before they’re going to buy.

AI-driven chatbots and voicebots also are making inroads in member service. A decade from now, we’ll see more of this, and my guess is they won’t seem robotic to us in the future.

Partnerships will play a critical role. We see this as an opportunity.

For credit unions, it’s not just about finding partners that can create new technology. It’s also critical to find partners that can help them integrate the technology, build and cultivate an agile mindset, and adapt to a digital future. That future isn’t decades away: It’s now.

TODD CLARK is president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. 

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