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AFT: An Industry “Secret” that Continues to Thrive and Lure Followers

IntroductionAn Association for Financial Technology meeting provides a safe harbor for those working in the financial services industry. It’s a place where customers, vendors, competitors, and partners gather to discover which way the financial services wind is blowing, learn how to navigate troubled waters and work towards securing a successful future for the industry.

The 2018 Spring Summit, at California’s beautiful Ojai Valley Inn & Spa which is nestled between the western extension of the Topatopa Mountains and the nearby Pacific Ocean, lived up to expectations and then some.

“There a lot of folks who are passionate about this association,” Zack Duke, AFT President and CEO of Finosec, said. Almost 200 attended the event that featured characteristic comprehensive AFT sessions filled with amazing content, relevant information, motivating messages, and positive interaction from financial services leaders rarely seen anywhere else.

The agenda included a keynote address from astronaut Captain Mark Kelly and a CEO keynote from Malauzai CEO Tom Shen. Also featured were presentations from industry experts including Lee Wetherington, Director of Strategic Insight for Jack Henry and Associates, Kim Ford, VP of Public Affairs for First Data, and Lindsey Piegza, Chief Economist for Stifel Fixed Income. Panel discussions focused on two very relevant industry topics; artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. There were also two interactive sessions, one on general interest industry topics and a brand new interactive focused on sales and business development. The interactive sessions aim to stimulate open conversation about common challenges and opportunities to better the industry.

An outgrowth of the interactive session is a new digital banking special interest group, which presented its goals to the association. The Digital Banking SIG specifically aims to define digital banking, focus on increasing member engagement, address specific industry topics, and provide germane content driven by AFT members. “This is a trial run to see what type of results we have,” Duke explained.

Because AFT, still considered one of the industry’s best kept secrets, is a membership driven organization, Duke emphasized the significance of the two yearly AFT Summits in the spring and fall. “That’s how we thrive as an association.” Duke also highlighted the vital sponsorships of events, speakers and meals within the summits. “The one thing I want you to take away is the value of AFT. Each one of you in the room is a big piece of that,” Duke said.

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