Maximizing each step in the innovation journey, including the fintech assessment process, will put you on the right path to a fruitful fintech partnership.
By Charles Potts, ICBA
When it comes to innovation, understanding What we do may be even more important than why. With technology upgrades and customer experience consistently ranking as top priorities for community banks, there is no question that innovation serves as a strategic imperative. But the best tactical implementation approach remains uncertain.
In truth, the answer comes down to finding the right partner. And you’ll want to maximize every step in the innovation journey, including the fintech screening process. Making sure you have the answers to the following three questions will put you on the right path to a successful fintech partnership:
- Does the solution resonate with a need at your bank? Many fintechs have attractive offers, but if what they offer doesn’t instantly solve a problem for your bank, it’s not an immediate option. Prioritize deeper engagement with those companies that offer solutions that fit your business needs, address the challenges you face, and provide the opportunities you are looking for as a bank.
- Who within your bank needs to be engaged? Once you’ve been intrigued by a product demo, you need a deeper dive into the solution. Bringing in your in-house subject matter experts from day one will make you more efficient. Depending on the product, you may need technology leads, marketing experts, risk and compliance teams, back-office operations, customer service representatives, and other team members involved in the decision-making process, so connect them early to get the greatest benefit.
- Who is using the solution and where are the referable use cases? Even when you get involved in the early stages of a new product, fintechs will have proof of concept and pilot examples. Build on those references and reach out to colleagues who are using the solution. Those conversations will give you a better understanding of both cultural fit and where the dangers may lie.
These questions are a good starting point as you engage in vendor discussions, so the sooner you start, the more you can maximize your time. And, with ICBA LIVE right around the corner, these questions have the added benefit of preparing you for the all-star ThinkTECH Accelerator showcase, where selected alumni will demonstrate their solutions.
In addition, information from ICBA’s new digital transformation education series, which is part of Community Banker University and will be released on LIVE, will provide guidance to support next steps in fintech engagements.
This is the year of innovation in action. At ICBA, we’re upping our innovation game, and we know you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and do the same. We are entering the implementation phase, where the question is not why to innovate, but how. And in the current landscape, that is precisely where we need to be.
charles potts (email@example.com) is executive vice president and chief innovation officer at ICBA
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