Three Lessons for Fast Banking from Mario Andretti

Banking Industry Trends

The last week in May is when the world turns its eyes to Indianapolis for the Indy 500, the Greatest Spectacle in Racing! And when you look back at all the history of racing, there’s one truly dominant driver — Mario Andretti. Mario’s career is amazing: Over 100 circuit wins, in different categories ranging from Formula One to IndyCar to NASCAR, and over four decades. He was not a flash-in-the-pan driver. Clearly, he was dominant!

Last week, Baker Hill was also recognized by the Aite-Novarica Group as a dominant provider of commercial loan origination solutions. Baker Hill has a lot in common with Mario. For almost four decades, we’ve been serving hundreds of customers not only in commercial lending, but also small business and consumer lending, as well as portfolio monitoring and many other areas of risk management. Again, clearly dominant!

But the purpose of this blog isn’t to brag. I want to take some lessons from Mario and share them with bankers. Mario once said:

“If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.”

I think that’s applicable for banking. I think we can go a little faster — and get a little uncomfortable. So, let’s talk about three lessons we can learn from Mario Andretti to make banking better.

1. Expand Your Realm of Influence

The name Mario is synonymous with IndyCar racing. In fact, even kids would say that the name Mario and racing go together thanks to Nintendo.

Mario expanded beyond IndyCar and became a dominant driver in the Formula One and NASCAR circuit as well. This required being uncomfortable and learning a totally different style of racing. I had the privilege of living in Charlotte, North Carolina, the home of NASCAR, and I can tell you that the phrase there is, “Rubbing is racing.” That’s very different from IndyCar, where they give everyone a little room.

So, what about your markets? Do you even have an online presence that allows you to go beyond your typical branch network?

According to a recent study by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, just over 40% of banks offered an adequate online loan application solution. I know that there are chief risk officers who feel that the risk of anonymous applications is not worth the benefit of new customers and new deposits. But I challenge you to think differently and to be a little uncomfortable and a little faster when expanding out to those markets.

It doesn’t mean that you have to take on unnecessary risk. Baker Hill’s partners, such as Alloy, can remove the risk associated with identifying and ensuring that you’re actually lending to who you think you’re leading to. So, let’s take those steps and let’s expand those markets.

2. Let Someone (or Something) Make Every Decision Automatically

In racing, when a driver makes a pitstop, he doesn’t get out to check the oil, ensure that the tires are on, or anything else with the car himself. He’s only there for those few seconds, trusting that other people are doing the job that they know how to do incredibly well.

The same can be said about the partners in your pit crew, like FICO and their Small Business Scoring Service for automating small business lending, or our latest partner, FlashSpread and their ability to automate the input of tax statements. They are there to help you get across the finish line in record time.

So, why are we hesitant about leveraging more analytics and automation that would allow our small business lending to grow faster? It’s uncomfortable to let a decision algorithm make up for what could be decades worth of a banker’s experience,but imagine a banker taking that experience and leveraging it somewhere else within the organization while letting the algorithm do its job to automate formerly manual tasks.

The emergence of augmented intelligence (AI) is introducing a lot of new concepts that are making a lot of folks uncomfortable across a lot of disciplines, not just banking. Here at Baker Hill, we’re examining how AI can be a part of your lending process and be coupled with the business intelligence and decision rules that are already in place within Baker Hill NextGen®. These conversations can make some people uncomfortable, but we love it, and I can’t wait to go down those roads with our bankers.

3. Have the Best Support Team, (Because You Can’t Do It on Your Own)

Every great racer will give credit to the pit team. No car can do 500 miles without having to come in for a few seconds to get refueled and be ready to get back on the track again. To win as many races as Mario did you need a proven team, because the best car and the best driver on their own simply isn’t enough.

Look at your fintech projects and partners and ask yourself”Do I have the right team in place?” Make sure that you have a team that has the experience, the creativity, and the innovation to get you in the winner’s circle.

So, with a play on words from the famous line we’re about to hear here in Indianapolis, “Bankers, start your engines!” Let’s go get a little uncomfortable!

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Bankers, Start Your Engines! 4 Loan Origination Software Lessons From the Indy 500

Topics: industry trends