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.
Everyone admits defined contribution (DC) plans were never designed to be the default retirement vehicle. But here we are. For the masses—no, those lucky enough to have one—DC plans are the default.
When will we act for an effective retirement system? Defined benefit plans are essentially gone. The Social Security system is questionable. Congressmen are talking about removing the DC-plan tax deduction.
On this year’s FinovateFall stage, over 70 firms gave a seven-minute demo, of which over 15 firms touted data security tools and some 14 firms boasted data science expertise within banking or capital markets settings. After the JPMorgan and Equifax hacks, it seems that no client data is impregnable and that future data breaches are limited by the appetite of hackers. Financial institutions’ hope for fool-proof data security is as dim as that of consumers retaining ownership of their own digital identity. And yet, some Finovate presenters gave an attentive audience a measure of hope. Passwords, Social Security numbers, and two-step authentications can’t guarantee that the individual pushing them through bank or broker digital channels is the person to whom this data belongs.
Last week’s Finovate event in NYC offered up a great mix of innovation across many areas of financial services with an added bonus for 2017. For those who have had the opportunity to attend, the initial format has not changed from the last few years; however, the event was expanded to four days this year and included multiple presentations on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in retail banks, regulatory updates from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and financial products that meet the needs of the unbanked. The first two days of demos were relevant to the industry, and the content was spot-on.
The Grand Canyon is an extraordinary place, but it is one of those wonders you have to witness in person. You can see pictures and videos of it or selfies of your friends standing on the rim, but you don’t get a full appreciation for its incredible beauty until you see it for yourself.
For those of us who have been in the banking industry over the last several years, the omnichannel customer experience is like that. Our peers talk about it, and we see endless presentations on the beauty of it. Unfortunately, I had yet to experience it … until yesterday.