Letter from the CEO & What to Expect Next Year with the Financial Industry
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In Context Newsletter


Letter from the CEO 


How soon is now? 

While driving to work on this beautiful Atlanta fall morning I was listening to the 1985 song by “The Smiths:” “How soon is now?” and realized that THIS is the time I’ve been expecting for years.

If you ask my associates at the agency, you’ll find that I’ve been predicting an explosion in fintech: new technologies, new services, disruption of traditional business channels and most importantly tremendous investments in the financial technology infrastructure. I’ve been predicting for years that this time will come. It is finally here, and as a result, our clients, as well as our agency, are doing better than imagined. I expect both our clients and the agency will continue to grow and prosper for several reasons, but here are a few.

First, the investment community has come to realize that there are sizeable fortunes in new cloud/mobile approaches to re-engineer traditional financial systems. Whether it is high net individuals, family offices, angel investors, venture capital or private equity, we are seeing a rush to back new financial and payment models.

Second, up until the 1980s, financial institutions were technology leaders with the very latest and greatest technology. Sometime in the 1980s it seemed to me that a lot of financial institutions focused more on the “deal” business and let technology lapse. Only lately has the financial and payments industries realized that so much of their infrastructure is woefully out of date. The leaders in our sector are now spending heavily in technology products and services to better serve their ever-changing customer base.

Third, one sector in particular has been hamstrung in keeping up with the best and greatest 21st century technology: the mortgage industry. This vital part of our nation’s economy is encumbered by government stewardship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Once their future is defined, as government agencies or public companies, we will see unprecedented investment in this space as buying a home is most American’s largest single purchase.

In this time of the holidays, I’m thankful to be a part of this business transformation and am grateful for all the great people in my life. I’m incredibly optimistic about the future. How soon is now?


William Mills 


What to Expect Next Year 

By Scott Mills

It is the time of the year when we start to consider what we need to cover in the next Bankers As Buyers report. Some early themes that are resonating include regtech, AI, customer experience and design. A friend told me at Money 2020 that his advisory firm is still doing a lot of work around “branch transformation,” a topic we have been discussing since at least the late 1990s.

Speaking of Money 2020, it was a huge success with more than 10,000 people and 400+ exhibitors. Since starting as a payments event, it has shifted slightly to include more types of technology and areas of operations, such as lending. There was even a panel that addressed government's role in fostering fintech. The State of Ohio had a booth to encourage doing more business there.

Agency friend John Waupsh has written a book called Bankruption, How Community Banking Can Survive Fintech. It is a survival guide for community banks and credit unions searching for relevance amidst immense global competition and fintech startups (see http://bankruption.com/). John provides a LOT of information and data for your consideration. He believes most community financial institutions need to narrow their focus and be very, very good at certain lines of business, such as residential mortgages or small business lending.

While “fintech” has been around for a long time, 2017 will be a banner year for new business models and ways of delivering financial services. Here’s hoping government doesn’t put the brakes on both financial institutions and those companies looking to improve how we use and access our money.

Fintech Media Updates

  • Source Media launches new industry event, Digital Mortgage. @DigMortgage 
  • Mortgage Bankers Association reveals new online publication, MBA Insights. @MBAMortgage
  • The Wall Street Journal reformatted their print edition to combine and eliminate sections. They combined the Business & Tech and the Money & Investing sections to "Business and Finance" section. @WSJ 
  • Michael Ogden was hired as new executive editor for Credit Union Times. @grabbingtoast
  • Grace Noto joined the Bank Innovation editorial team.@BankInnovation
  •  SourceMedia announced updates to PaymentsSource which includes site-design improvements and additional editorial resources. @payments_source
  • Scotsman Guide released a new editorial kit. @ScotsmanGuideED
  • Tim Cook is no longer with Independent Banker, and Colby Johnson is now the new editorial director and Molly Bennett the executive director. @ICBA 
  • Lou Carlozo, former U.S. News and World Report, is BAI Banking Strategies new managing editor. @LouCarlozo63

2016 Recap of Fall Trade Show Season

With the year coming to an end, we want to take a look back at the many conferences we attended. 

BAI Beacon replaced BAI Payments Direct and BAI Retail Delivery. It featured quality attendees, a new layout and wristbands that glowed and were meant to connect people of similar interests. Overall, BAI brought a lot of new ideas to the table. As one prominent bank consultant said, “BAI has turned this ship around and headed in the right direction.”

The AFT Fall Summit brought the "Who's Who" of the financial industry together. It was held in a resort that offered a small, quiet setting so attendees could network and talk about what is happening in the world of fintech.

MBA Annual took place in windy Boston, Massachusetts and boasted nearly 200 of the mortgage industry’s leading companies.The conference featured topics on digital mortgages, life after HAMP, reaching underserved borrowers, optimizing data usage, HMDA and UCD. Overall, the conference and it’s attendees shared a very positive outlook on the industry moving forward, announcing that the 2017 conference will take place in Denver, Colorado. 

Money 20/20 brought more than 10,000 fintech executives, bankers and innovators to Las Vegas. Topics included artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain and faster payments, and customer experience. The five day conference was filled with meetings, panels and demos. 

We look forward to the upcoming conferences in 2017. Some have already opened up registration:

Also, be on the look out for our 2017 Trade Show Directory to stay up to date on all the conferences happening throughout next year. 

New Mortgage Event Announced Digital Mortgage

d31332_DigitalMortgage_Logo_NMN-as-Smart-Object-1.pngDigital Mortgage 2016 is a new hybrid event presented by SourceMedia. It takes place in San Francisco, December 8-9. The event will showcase 25 demos from fintech start ups and panel discussions featuring thought leaders in the industry.

Companies are seeking to revolutionize the process of how consumers buy homes and mortgages. SourceMedia is showcasing this digital transformation with Digital Mortgage 2016. Each of 25 presenters will have 8 minutes to demonstrate their product. There will also be 6 to 8 panel discussions led by thought leaders and an innovation hall with identical kiosks for presenters. 

For more information on Digital Mortgage, read our Q&A with Rebecca Sausner, where she gives us more details into the new mortgage conference.

Also, Digital Mortgage 2016 is already expecting more then 700 attendees, and tickets are selling out fast. To register for the event click here.