The intersection of Cloud, Capital Markets and Mobility

Justin List

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The Bank Re-imagined

The Social. Open. Mobile bank.

Banking Re-imagined.
Every so often you come across an industry that is ripe for disruption (of a positive kind) . I am lucky working in a firm that is at the vanguard of enabling these changes in many industries.  It gives you a unique perspective at the meeting point of cloud, social enterprise and collaboration.

There are many industries that are changing beyond recognition. Apple itself has disrupted 3 markets and as a result they have changed these markets (music, computing, mobile) radically over a short period of time.  Many existing firms fail the Innovators dilemma in these mature markets.

I've been thinking for a while what would happen if you drew up a bank (with a blank sheet of paper. I should say Retail bank as the investment side is a perpetual disruption with a high innovation rate.

Rather than just emulating existing banks you looked at the needs of the populations now and in the future and the shift in technologies that are underpinning these sociological changes. Here are my thoughts on what that new bank could look like. I call it Facebank. Or the Social Enterprise Bank.

Let's look at the stats. 850 million users use Facebook. Social Networking surpasses email , 22% of  internet time is social, not driven by search engines. Many more using the network for more than 4 hours per day. Most users are now using it as the digital hub for their life. Why not bank there as well?

I would build the first bank of the 22nd century in Facebook. I would have no physical branches if I can help it. The entire world becomes your branch when you use the Internet. You would make it painless for users to interact with the bank. Imagine if your bank was in Facebook? So Facebook is the branch. Your access point would be seamlessly mingled in your social network experience. It would be ‘frictionless' banking.

What does this give us? Ready access to 850 million users. An intuitive interface that many people are conditioned to use. Access to messaging that can reach any of our users. We may of course build our own private messaging capability but that would be possible within the constructs of the existing user experience.

It would also give us access to a secure person to person (P2P ) payments system for all Facebook users. Enabling the Facebook market to rival EBay and Amazon Marketplace instantly for seamless payments. These payments systems would also challenge PayPal in terms of scope and reach. Facebook connect would also extend your reach outside of the confines of the social network to every participating website that uses Facebook logins.

Facebook is now becoming a marketplace. Enabling in- Facebook purchases would be a completely seamless experience. Of course you would provide instant conversion to the Facebook credits as well for seamless purchases.

I would strike deals with many other providers to offer seamless billing. Want to use Box.net. Click. Your local telecom provider. Click. It would be one click banking. This would only be enabled by using agile SaaS based platforms for customer management, banking, billing etc.

You could add financial planning applications with all the richness of Web 2.0 interfaces. But more importantly add some elements of gamification to motivate your customers to save that bit more, or hit financial targets of their choosing.  You could add investment products and enabled discussion around them for your users. Instant financial community. For example shadow trading of the stock market before investing in real financial products. A true financial community for more active investors.

You could also innovate with financial products by enabling customer lending to customers. For bespoke financial products, small loans and kickstarter style funding. It would be crowdsourced funding backed by a bank, within the banks community. This could enable financial products 2.0. Niche rapid generation of financial products that traditional on-premise banking systems and methods cannot compete with.

For customer service your tellers are always online and ready to answer queries via presence and collaboration (including Facetime) for a seamless and personal customer experience.

What does the bank get out of it? The ability to grow virally. No more expensive adverts. Grow by user recommendation on Facebook. Reach 100 million customers in a year?

The ability to know your customers more than any bank. You would truly get an ability to understand your customers life journey and really offer them relevant products. No branches, for low costs of transaction. Of course you may need to partner with regional banks to offer some kind of local presence. And you need traditional banking licenses in each country you operate. Probably with a local partner for economies of scale.

You could also reach both the BRIC countries with this. In India for example the mobile phone is also the conduit to your bank . So you could both reach these disparate markets as well as the new tiger economies by using mobile banking as the main channel in these markets.

I've only scratched the surface of what's possible by opening this sort of bank. Of course you could be it in a platform independent way to take advantage of other social networks in different geographies.

You would be an Open, Social and Mobile bank. A bank of the 22nd Century.

More Stories By Justin List

Justin List is a Principal Sales Engineer with Salesforce.com. He has 11 years of experience in pre-sales, 7 years in financial services specializing in enterprise modeling, analytical systems, mobility and latterly low latency trading and risk systems. He is now using the Cloud to transform business with the Social Enterprise Vision.