Takeaways emphasize the importance of creating an enhanced customer experience, and using technology to deliver meaningful moments and interactions
ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Finastra, a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, brought together leaders from community banks and credit unions across the United States to discuss innovation in financial technology, operational and strategic initiatives, and the power of collaboration at its annual Ignite! Conference in Orlando. Hosted in early June, the event emphasized collaboration and community, providing a forum for Finastra Universal Banking customers to come together and share experiences while working together to both support the local community and to embrace a more open financial services industry.
Ignite! attendees working together to assemble backpacks during the event’s volunteer activity.
Through a series of panel discussions, strategy workshops, and educational sessions, presenters from Finastra’s Universal Banking leadership team, senior business and technology executives from community banks and credit unions, and partners in Finastra’s growing ecosystem, covered topics related to navigating the digital era, sharing success stories, customer-centric innovation, finding growth opportunities, and the importance of thinking creatively to solve problems.
Addressing customers and partners during her opening remarks, Siobhan Byron, EVP, Universal Banking said, “Technology provides tremendous opportunities to transform lives. At Finastra, our mission is to not only help you imagine those possibilities, but to bring them to life. I encourage you all to use this conference as your chance to learn how others are re-imagining their future, and hear how we are helping with our technology, our people, and our ecosystem.”
Throughout the two-day conference, several key takeaways were highlighted, including:
Deliver a meaningful customer experience: Howie Wu, EVP and Head of Product at Seattle Bank, and Peter Longo, Vice President, Product Management at Finastra explained how today’s banking customers are heavily experience-focused, and that two-way engagement is critical to a successful relationship. During a panel discussion, Wu and Longo stressed the importance of simplifying the customer journey and that the key to unlocking innovation is to simply solve common problems.
Data is valuable, but use it wisely: Extracting and utilizing data in an intelligent way can be challenging. To unlock its potential, start small and find the right talent to help interpret the data. Wu noted that starting with one piece of data is key, using credit card transactions as an example. He explained how much can be learned about a customer’s goals and financial journey by analyzing spending patterns.
Combining technology and people to make an impact in the moments that matter: David McCoy, President and CEO at First National Bank and Trust of Beloit, Johnny Brooks, CEO at Citizens State Bank, and Kendell Lewis, EVP Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at United Bank, noted how crucial it is to simply ask customers what they want and to not make assumptions. By actively surveying customers, financial institutions can ensure they are investing in the right technological solutions to meet the needs of their communities. By listening to and understanding common themes that exist amongst customers, industry leaders have an opportunity to make sound investments in technology.
Succession planning for customers: As customers age, financial institutions must create strategies to retain these loyal account holders while also serving the needs of emerging generations. During executive breakout sessions, Johnny Brooks and other industry leaders brainstormed various approaches for using technology to bridge this gap, noting how customer needs are always evolving no matter the generation.
Agile and adaptable core technology is more important than ever: With technology advancing so quickly, banking leaders discussed how being locked into a core system that cannot evolve to meet customer expectations can create major challenges, highlighting the importance of cloud-based, agile core systems. Participants emphasized how solutions featuring open APIs allow financial institutions to seamlessly integrate new services into their overall service offerings.
Closing out the two-day event, Finastra showcased its commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) values with a volunteer activity alongside the nonprofit organization A Gift for Teaching, benefitting the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools. Ignite! attendees worked together to assemble backpacks filled with supplies for 900 children attending public schools in Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties. Reflecting Finastra’s value of doing well by doing good and being a responsible community partner, the activity aimed to inspire attendees to bring the concept of ESG back to their workplaces and local communities.
“Cooperation, teamwork and shared experiences are among the key differentiators community banks and credit unions use to deliver outstanding products and services to their customers,” said Byron. “Over the past two days, during panel discussions, roundtables and brainstorming sessions, we’ve seen that community spirit in action. I look forward to continuing these incredible conversations and I am tremendously excited to see what we will achieve by working together.”
Finastra is a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, and launched the leading open platform for innovation, FusionFabric.cloud, in 2017. It serves institutions of all sizes, providing award-winning software solutions and services across Lending, Payments, Treasury & Capital Markets and Universal Banking (Retail, Digital and Commercial Banking) for banks to support direct banking relationships and grow through indirect channels, such as embedded finance and Banking as a Service. Its pioneering approach and commitment to open finance and collaboration is why it is trusted by over 8,000 institutions, including 45 of the world’s top 50 banks. For more information, visit finastra.com.
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