Actionable Insights From APT's Financial Services Practice
Header

Author Archives: JDouglass

Banking Strategies: Top Trends for 2016

January 8th, 2016 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on Banking Strategies: Top Trends for 2016)

Banking Strategies recently published an article by APT SVP Will Weidman, naming the top trends that FIs should watch in 2016. Weidman says, “2016 is looking to be one of the most transformative years in financial services in decades. Disruptive competitors are growing, digital and mobile continues to evolve, branches look more and more like Apple stores and interest rates have started rising. Banks will need to embrace smart innovation not only to keep up, but to truly differentiate themselves in a cost effective manner.”

Click here to read more (requires subscription).

Big Data, Omni Channel, and Testing: Turning Buzzwords into Profits

February 2nd, 2015 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on Big Data, Omni Channel, and Testing: Turning Buzzwords into Profits)

APT SVP Will Weidman recently authored an article in Global Banking & Finance Review, “Big Data, Omni Channel, and Testing: Turning Buzzwords into Profits.” In the article, Weidman points out that in-market testing is an effective method to rapidly determine which strategies drive KPIs in an omni-channel world: “Organisations can build out a funnel of tests across channels, functional areas and divisions to optimise ROI on nearly every decision made. The most sophisticated testers use learnings from each test to revise strategy and generate new testable ideas going forward, creating a continuous cycle. Conveniently, this model works extremely well in the ever-changing omni-channel environment, where there are new ideas and concepts to test each day.” Click here to read the full article.

Top 10 Financial Services Trends for 2015

January 5th, 2015 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on Top 10 Financial Services Trends for 2015)

APT SVP Will Weidman recently authored an article for Banking Strategies, outlining his top 10 predictions for financial services institutions in 2015. Weidman summarizes, “After years of debate the battle lines have been drawn and it is clear what financial services institutions must do to succeed. In the new world order, the winners will be tech-savvy institutions that constantly innovate while managing expenses carefully.”

Weidman’s 10 predictions for financial services institutions in 2015 are:

1. Drive revenue with online/mobile channels

2. Make smart branch transformation investments

3. Improve relationship management in commercial and wealth management

4. Prepare for rising rates

5. Combat new entrants such as Walmart and GoBank

6. Accelerate and improve channel migration

7. Intelligently rationalize the branch footprint

8. Figure out universal staffing

9. Find new levers to reduce costs

10. Improve efficiency ratios in wholesale banking

Click here to read the full article.

APT Chairman Co-Authors Harvard Business Review Article

December 15th, 2014 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on APT Chairman Co-Authors Harvard Business Review Article)

APT Co-Founder and Chairman, Jim Manzi, recently co-authored a Harvard Business Review article with HBS Professor Stefan Thomke about how experimentation can help companies de-risk new ideas and drive innovation.

A key point that the article makes is that testing can be an agent for meaningful organizational change, rather than simply a new analytical tactic: “The lesson is not merely that business experimentation can lead to better ways of doing things. It can also give companies the confidence to overturn wrongheaded conventional wisdom and the faulty business intuition that even seasoned executives can display. And smarter decision making ultimately leads to improved performance.”

Click here to download a full copy of the article.

Banks Think Bigger than Free Toasters

September 17th, 2014 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on Banks Think Bigger than Free Toasters)

As competition closes in on all sides for retail banks (e.g., growth of online-only providers, new mobile players, brand consolidation, and more), organizations are doing all they can to bring in deposits. Adding to the pressure, rates are expected to rise fairly soon, which makes it essential for banks to acquire new accounts now. Just like community banks of generations past, financial institutions today are enticing customers with incentives and “freebies” to spur new account generation. However, this isn’t your mother’s free toaster! Today’s marketers are offering cold, hard cash to customers who meet certain requirements. This raises the essential question for bank executives: is this all worthwhile in the end? Are we needlessly spending hundreds of dollars per customer to increase new account generation? How can we know the exact payoff of such offers, and what can we do to make these programs as profitable as possible?

(more…)

Unique Challenges Facing European Companies

July 2nd, 2014 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on Unique Challenges Facing European Companies)

APT SVP and Head of Europe Luca Zuccoli recently discussed some unique challenges facing European companies today, and what they can do to address these challenges.

City Branch Revolution

May 27th, 2014 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on City Branch Revolution)

With the influx of technology solutions in retail banking, which includes ATM upgrades that enable more types of transactions, mobile solutions, and internet banking, banks are seeking to change branch models in high-traffic urban areas.

Similar trends have already been a focus for retailers and restaurants where there is a shift towards opening smaller, but more technology-based, stores in the past few years. Mary Wisniewski speaks to this trend in an American Banker article, which discusses how Wells Fargo has recently opened urban branches in densely populated, urban areas, such as the U Street corridor of Washington, D.C. In doing this, Well Fargo aims to target customers who are comfortable using technology and who prefer their branches to be within walking distances to either their home or work. In addition to these changes reflecting customer demand and behavior, she notes that the cost savings are a huge bonus: “Because they are significantly smaller than a typical branch, they are also helping Wells to reduce branch overhead at a time when branch traffic continues to decline.”

(more…)

Banking Strategies: Analytics for Commercial Banking

May 13th, 2014 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on Banking Strategies: Analytics for Commercial Banking)

An article by APT SVP Will Weidman about best practices for commercial banking analytics was recently published in BAI’s Banking Analytics. In the article, Weidman discusses various functional areas in which commercial banks can improve profitability by testing new ideas and optimizing existing activities. Some areas include lead generation and banker outreach, training programs, and banker specialization. Weidman comments, “The huge opportunity stems from the large and specialized salesforce, who are highly skilled and represent the key to driving success in commercial banking. Analytics can help make sure these critical employees receive the tools they need and that the institution gets the most out of its salesforce. Banks should aim to learn more about what is currently working well in commercial banking to better prioritize banker activities going forward and become more disciplined with future investments in training programs and staffing.”

Please click here to read the full article, and learn more about APT’s experience in employee-based tests.

Managing Shareholder Expectations When Making Technology Investments

April 16th, 2014 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on Managing Shareholder Expectations When Making Technology Investments)

As the economy improves, more banks are increasing capital expenditures in order to modernize existing operations and invest in new technologies.

In a recent American Banker article, Andy Peters points out that the retail arms of banks have traditionally lagged behind on technology, and that many have recently made sizeable capital expenditures on technology infrastructure. Peters points out that “banks are estimated to spend 4.2% more on technology this year compared with 2013,” and reports that banks such as Valley National and Zions Bank are spending between $200 million and $500 million over the next few years to set up key infrastructure that ranges from upgrading teller technology to improving retail branches. (more…)

Using Big Data to Innovate

March 31st, 2014 | Posted by JDouglass in Financial Services - (Comments Off on Using Big Data to Innovate)

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Randy Bean discusses how Big Data is enabling financial services organizations to innovate in new ways. Whereas data analysis was previously seen as a reactive process, Bean aptly points out that now, “Big Data is delivering innovation through greater data agility, rapid trial and error, and faster learning, resulting in accelerated speed to market, and in new forms of customer disintermediation and tailored customer experiences.”  (more…)