“The Art of the Nudge”
Gregg Hammerman started Larky based on an epiphany: why shouldn’t the organizations we engage with regularly be able to communicate with us at just the right moment?
He recognized that consumer expectations and behavior have evolved, driven not only by the shift to doing things remotely, but also by the strategies of companies that have mastered the digital space—Spotify, Netflix, Amazon.
These platforms provide added value through features like end-of-year reports, movie recommendations based on your watch history, and “like” purchase suggestions, deepening the customer relationship. They sync with your life outside of their platforms.
Larky has taken this idea of blending into a user’s everyday life and run with it. Their functionality easily integrates with mobile banking apps to engage with users at different touch points throughout their day. Using lock screen notifications, Larky can guide people to offers, promotions, local events, and information relevant to their unique needs in that moment.
MSU Federal Credit Union identified a powerful way to use Larky’s technology to engage with their members:
“We have a loyalty program where we work with local merchants who will give you a discount if you use a MSUFCU debit/credit card. Larky helps us remind people to take advantage of those.” —Ben Maxim, Assistant VP of Digital Strategy & Innovation, MSUFCU
People have a lot of options when it comes to banking, and it’s hard to stand out. Larky works with a diverse selection of community financial institutions to help them showcase the unique services they provide. Maxim recognizes the potential for their partnership to expand and innovate, helping them stand apart from the competition:
“Beyond the geolocation and personalization, we’re working with Larky to figure out credit card fraud detection and prevention. Future possibilities are out there. They have an established product, which is great, but what else can we do with them? For one, we’re looking into gamification of different interactions within our digital accounts. Larky is fully open to that, and I look forward to where we might go.
Zafin: Banking is now in the era of the tech ecosystem
The development of tech ecosystems is placing the future of post-COVID banking in jeopardy. At a time when Big Tech can replicate the functions of traditional financial institutions, what can banks do to retain a grip on the market?
John Smith, EVP Ecosystem at Zafin, has a few ideas. A SaaS cloud-native product and pricing platform for financial institutions, Zafin is preparing the next generation of banks to cope with this precise challenge.
Smith is responsible for the strategic and tactical management of the company’s ecosystem, including the creation of new business models to support growth and differentiation. We asked him four questions:
Q. Have the events of the pandemic caused an irreversible shift in the digitalisation of banks? If so, is COVID the sole cause or are there other factors?
It’s a great question and one that I am asked a lot. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven a significant shift in the acceleration of digital. In fact, I’ve seen some estimates show there to have been as much as four to six years of digital adoption growth since the initial lockdown started.
While the pandemic may be the primary reason for this growth, two other drivers include fintech disruption and the high costs of operating a traditional retail bank. Both of these factors have caught the attention of banking executives as they set their minds on accelerating digital transformation with a focus on high return, low risk.
Q. Some commentators believe banks must learn from Big Tech in order to survive. Do you agree? Please expand.
I agree completely; we’re living in the era of the ‘ecosystem’. All the seismic shifts we’re seeing in technology, be it aggregation, embedded finance, DeFi or hyper-personalisation are all enabled by the foundation of an ecosystem.
When financial institutions work with a strategic partner like Zafin, which has made the strategic investments in a best-in-class ecosystem, they’re able to capitalise on opportunities more quickly and safely, and will be better positioned for growth now and at the other side of the pandemic.
Q. What are currently the obstacles to adopting Open Banking? Is it more likely to 'take off' in some regions rather than others?
I would argue that Open Banking has been in the US for some time and will only continue to grow there. By definition, Open Banking is about the secure sharing of financial information that customers are aware of and have authorised. Under that definition, we’re seeing aspects of this well underway even though its full potential remains to be seen.
Third-Party Providers are a natural outcome of Open Banking, whereby they can create propositions beyond what a bank normally does to enable banking functions such as payments, borrowing, saving and so on. Once again, some of these are already present through industry-led initiatives, whereas regions such as the EU have taken the pathway of regulation such as PSD2.
The industry-led initiatives we’ve seen in the US have also had the added advantage of guard-rails that regulatory bodies like FFIEC and CFPB provide. There are also other technology-led initiatives such as API definitions that are set out through the FS-ISAC.
I would argue the future of Open Banking in North America will be through the natural evolution of the guidelines and API definitions that have been published, as well as the natural progression of industry initiatives.
Q. Are there any other bank tech trends you'd like to discuss?
Coreless banking. Zafin has been pioneering some of the work around externalising functions out of the legacy core to drive a more ‘fintech nimble’ bank, while not having to deliver a ‘heart and lungs’ core bank replacement.
Real life examples of this include moving some of the core functions of a banking system, such as product and pricing to a platform like Zafin. Origination, onboarding, KYC, risk, and compliance are all other examples of externalising banking functions for added agility.