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Recap - AFT 2017 Spring Summit

Industry Leader Provides Four Approaching Megatrends

Mark Sievewright, former President, Credit Union Solutions at Brookfield, Wis.-based Fiserv, and now Founder and CEO of Sievewright & Associates, detailed the trends affecting the financial services industry at the 2017 AFT Spring Meeting in Amelia Island, FL.

The Welsh-born Sievewright has more than 30 years of financial services industry experience under his belt. That journey began in 1979 at Midland Bank (now HSBC) in the United Kingdom. Sievewright joined Fiserv in 2004 as corporate senior vice president of market development for the company's Depository Institutions Group. In 2011, he became President of Credit Union Solutions at Fiserv.

“The financial needs of consumers and businesses haven’t actually changed that much since 1979,” Sievewright told AFT attendees. “What’s changed is this incredible pace of change driven by technology. That now makes us question every day whether traditional financial services providers can meet those needs of consumers and small businesses.”

He touched on how 41% of American consumers are doing mobile banking and how the banking industry is on track to have mobile drive 60% of online banking by 2016.

Sievewright foresees four megatrends:

  1. The financial services business model redefined.
  2. New entrants challenging the incumbents, which are many of the clients served by AFT members.
  3. Technology redefining financial services delivery, distribution and money movement.
  4. Demographic shifts, such as with millennials, having profound impact on growth, relevancy and talent.

Despite the number of banks and credit unions disappearing, Sievewright delivered the message that financial institutions need to learn. “You have to worry much less about becoming insolvent; you have to worry much more about becoming irrelevant.”

The banks and credit unions are seeing their business model changing abruptly by new fintech entrants because these disruptors focus on four things differently: almost everything these new entrants do is online; they don’t have many products, they are laser-focused on products they can disrupt; automating transactions; and truly understanding personalization.

“There has never been so much money going into fintech startups as we’ve seen the last few years,” Sievewright explained. Part of that is due to consumers being very comfortable with new technology. “In this ecosystem where we’re providing banks and credit unions with technology solutions do you need your brand to be visible to them?”

Even though the trend is for everything to go digital, Sievewright suggested the industry cannot just ignore branches. Even the online giants, such as Amazon, talk about the need to go from clicks to bricks and balance the delivery channel environment.

“However, what happens inside those branches becomes fundamentally different,” Sievewright said. And the people that need to staff those branches become fundamentally different.

The financial technology expert also spoke about the Internet of Things, “This is the point in time where we’re beginning to see billions of devices each year connected to the Internet.

In the end Sievewright said, “We have to embrace the new fintech entrants in the industry, they covet the scale and the relationships with customers or members that our traditional clients have.”

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