Once an afterthought, customer experience is now a focal point for not only banks but also their business and corporate customers. Customers consider it when selecting new bank partners and have higher expectations for it than ever before. Gone are the days when banks could use sophisticated functionality as an excuse for clunky, outdated systems and manual processes. Today’s customers—from consumers to corporate treasurers—are tech-savvy and in a hurry, and they expect the same type of experience whether they are on Amazon.com or their bank’s portal. As a result, when we ask commercial banks about their preferences when it comes to technology enhancements, just as many banks prefer a focus on usability as they do on functionality.
In recent years, several SWIFT member banks have been targeted by cyber fraudsters, resulting in accumulated thefts of many millions of dollars. Impacted banks in several different countries have been victimized, demonstrating that there are no borders when it comes to cybercrime and that any company can be targeted.
Interestingly, SWIFT has been in the headlines broadcasting each of these incidents, although the SWIFT network itself has not been compromised. The thefts have been successful due to security gaps in member financial institutions that were exploited. SWIFT’s response has been very proactive, but the reputational damage SWIFT has incurred (resulting from member security gaps) has been severe and undeserved.
Clean shares are popping up in the U.S. Several firms, including Capital Group, Janus Henderson Investors, MFS, and T. Rowe Price, offer them. The shares came about from a Securities and Exchange Committee no-action letter issued on January 11, 2017, responding to Capital Group’s request for interpretative guidance on Section 22(d) of the Investment Company Act of 1940.
I had the opportunity to moderate a panel for the Digital Money Forum, an all-day session that is part of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), this week in Las Vegas. Attending CES was a bucket-list thing for me, so I was really excited to be able to attend, and the experience was absolutely worth it. This show is huge—180,000 people were there. For those of you who think Money 2020 is a big deal, it attracts about 10,000 people. Think of about 180,000 people trying to get a cab at the same time or a coffee at Starbucks, and you can get a sense of what it’s like.
Here are a few observations about CES, based on two days of deep immersion:
An article about Helocs in American Banker the day after Christmas begins with the opinion that “Americans who use their homes as ATMs are about to get hit with a sizable withdrawal fee,” referring to the removal of home equity interest deductions from income tax computations. First, any person actually taking cash withdrawals from a home equity account to meet living expenses is most likely already in financial distress that no tax credit can rectify.