Top 3 themes and 9 actionable takeaways for bank and credit union leaders

As a fintech that offers the Q2 SSO tile for our own Q2 clients, Plinqit was invited to exhibit at the Q2 Connect user conference in Austin, Tex. Part of our team was there to enjoy the changeable May weather, the delicious food, and, most importantly, the insightful conversations.image

We thought you might appreciate a concise recounting of the consistent themes that are applicable to credit union and bank decision makers. After all, what your peers are saying and doing is a direct reflection of the state of the industry and has lessons for both financial institutions (FIs) and fintechs.

Here are 3 themes and 9 observations from the POV of a fintech vendor at a client conference.

1. A good event can make good relationships. But good relationships make for great events.

Pared down to a curated selection of invited vendors, the exhibit hall made it easy for FIs to shop.

    • Bank and credit union decision makers seemed to feel safe in an environment where trusted advisors were invited to exhibit. And the vendor demos were well attended, in large part because each exhibitor created such relevant and informative presentations, under the guidance of Q2’s standards. Validated potential partners in a curated environment led to some really open and helpful discussions for everyone.
    • The takeaway: Lean into your existing partnerships for recommendations on new products and programming.

Customized content for Q2 users addressed universal issues as well as more specific challenges that FIs face.

    • Attendees had 5 or 6 choices for every session on topics of real relevance. FI leaders could attend anything from high-level strategy and industry insights to deep-dive explorations. The mix of topics, experts, panels, and discussions provided ample opportunity to learn in various ways that help inform a path of action.
    • The takeaway: Explore new information in several formats. Using different learning styles helps assess whether an idea or product is an acceptable direction or a not-now direction.

Choiceful use of “surprise and delight” moments keeps attendees engaged and feeling part of something larger than themselves.

    • Little moments, such as the drumline at a classic Austin hangout for the last evening together, that are shared experiences made the entire conference even more memorable. An industry conference does not have to all work and no play. Q2 did a great job of injecting moments of emotion and unexpected playfulness into their programming.
    • The takeaway: Try this at home with your staff. Elevate the ordinary team meeting, leadership event, or training with surprise-and-delight unexpected elements. And remember that laughing together actually helps facilitate learning together.

2. FIs are looking for deposits, but not just any deposits.

Continuing in the theme of relationships, they matter for institutions as well.

    • Every FI rep who stopped by the Plinqit booth said they were seeking avenues to bolster deposit growth. But many people indicated that they did not want one-and-done deposits. They’re looking for longer lasting, more relationship driven deposits. And that’s an enigma.
    • The takeaway: Reconsider traditional avenues to deposit growth, such as CDs, in order to thwart rate chasers and stand out in the market, replacing those historic tactics with user-proven drivers, such as high yield savings, automated savings, and mobile-first accessibility.

Attracting younger without alienating older, more secure account holders is a primary goal for many FIs.

    • Aligned with relationship enhancing deposits, most credit union and bank decision makers expressed a desire for ways to attract a younger demographic without diminishing their support for older account holders. We feel the way to do this is, as Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu of the OCC said this week, by helping people “save easily, track spending, minimize fees and interest charges, safeguard against shocks, and plan for life events.”
    • The takeaway: Partner or build services that differentiate your brand, particularly those that enhance financial wellness.

The stickier, the better.

    • Again, the refrain was a call for operationally inexpensive but relationally proactive deposit drivers. That means creating or partnering to offer “organic” attractors, such as engaging social media, financial wellness content, and advertising to attract more consumers. It also means having a cohesive digital and mobile experience to attract tech-savvy customers. And it means cross-selling thoughtfully, demonstrating knowledge of what people need in their financial institution.
    • The takeaway: Lean on fintech partners to reduce or eliminate the operational expense of creating content and integrating new systems.

3. FIs are focused on digital-first, at every stage of the journey.

Integration is the table stakes; ante up.

    • Whether it was single sign-on (SSO), Innovation Studio, etc., attendees wanted to know how Plinqit was integrated with Q2. In other words, “How easy are you?” Reducing operational costs and resource load is clearly crucial with the current difficulties with hiring and employee retention. And having partners who are already on the same platform reduces decision fatigue and streamlines processes.
    • The takeaway: Rely on platform-friendly partnerships to minimize integration logistics and create more efficiencies.

Now is the right time to explore the interplay between financial wellness content and programmatic solutions.

    • Economic inclusion is way up there on the minds of decision makers. Recently, FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg said, “It is important to understand consumers’ preferences and experiences with financial services and to identify strategies that support and sustain their participation in the banking system.” More than ever before, people are reliant on external sources for financial wellness direction and advice.
    • The takeaway: Being a provider of credible financial literacy and financial wellness offerings not only will attract a wider audience to your FI, it will reinforce existing relationships.

Simple systems beat bedazzling but complex solutions.

    • Your bank or credit union does not need to offer every new technology. Nor do you need to be at the fore of every innovation. Both from an operational and a retail perspective, easy-to-use, easy-to-implement systems will drive adoption at a greater pace than “bedazzling” options. Clean, clear user experiences and uncomplicated integrations with tech partners will keep your customers and team loyal.
    • The takeaway: Spend time with your leadership critically thinking through your objectives and what the most straightforward and resource-light path is to achieve them. The upfront planning time will be rewarded.

May the 3 themes and 9 actionable takeaways we brought back from attending the Q2 Connect 2023 client conference build your confidence and toolkit to reach your customers and members, expand your brand impact, and encourage innovation on your team. Let us know which you found most helpful.