Thank You for the Banking Disruption, COVID-19. Now Please Go Away.

Thanks for the Banking Disruption, COVID-19. Now Go Away.

This has been a year like no other for all of us. Many have dealt with extreme sadness due to loss from the pandemic. Everyone has had changes that required adapting or even cancelling, such as graduations, marriages, etc. For those of us in banking, we have had to deal with an SBA program that has been such a burden that if I were on Wheel of Fortune and the puzzle on the board was _AYCHECK _ROTECTION _ROGRAM, I would have to tell Pat and Vanna that I could not solve it and walk away from the money. In short, this year has been the pits! However, as I reflect on the year, there are a couple of disruptions that I am thankful that COVID-19 has brought on and in a way, I think we will all be better for it. So as a wise man said, it is much better to count your blessings than to recount your problems – let me share with you some of the silver linings of this year!

Collaboration Across your Teams Has Been Transformed.

I remember from my days of commercial lending that there was a very linear process of business development; let the statement analysis team know what to spread and analyze, followed by underwriting looking at the risk. This was followed by many other steps going all the way to the back office to print off those documents and book to the core. Each person had a unique skill and task, but it could only be triggered when the baton was finally passed. The workflow truly was only as strong as the weakest link. 

When we designed Baker Hill NextGen®, the sharing of data and work among teams was a key driver. Thanks to that philosophy of sharing, we now have collaboration so that everyone involved can jump into the creation of the credit authorization and we can all cross the finish line as a team faster, better, and wiser when it comes to understanding the risk and meeting the needs of our commercial lending clients.

Digital Champions Both Inside and Outside Of the Bank.

Sadly, when I talked to a lot of bankers pre-pandemic, it seemed like banking had not changed much from when I made the jump to FinTech. Likewise, I see that customers were not pushing banks as much either. Jim Murous recently expounded how the effective digital business proposition helps legacy financial institutions become digital banking champions. He explained how one of the keys to success is a leadership team that embraces the opportunity of becoming a digital bank, and creates a culture that reinforces the use of data, analytics and technology to deliver an exceptional digital customer experience. When we see that, we see banks and consumers that are pushing internally and externally to outpace the market with financial performance and the even more critical customer satisfaction.

The Acceptance of Digitalization and it’s Long Lasting Impact.

Call me crazy, but I actually love having my kids do remote learning. When I am also working remote, it gives me some time to eat lunch with them and ask what they are learning, and I get to ask them how they would apply that in life. The only draw back is that the concept of a “Snow Day” is now dead – however it will be replaced with the idea of a never changing start of Summer Vacation – sounds like a fair trade that will never be undone.

Same thing with acceptance of digitalization in banking. I know way too many banks that pre-pandemic, did not have even a simple loan application on their website. Today that is standard expectation that cannot be overlooked. As a whole, society has blown through the digital barrier and we will not be looking back. For example, when you look at a recent Bank of America, McKinsey, and US Department of Commerce survey, Americans have seen the same percentage of digital commerce adoption in the past couple of quarters, compared to what has been seen over the previous 10 years. It is an amazing hockey stick increase and should be a wake-up call for every banker.

So as I look to 2021, I hear a lot of people talking about getting back to “normal” and I really have to say, I don’t want us to go back to the new normal, but rather a new better, where we take all the experience we have developed over the years, but apply the adaptability we have been forced to take on over the past 9 months. By looking for the new better, versus the new normal, I know that banking will be much stronger as we take on 2021 and beyond.


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Topics: industry trends