The digital finance landscape is continuously evolving, pushing financial institutions (FIs) towards a crucial junction: adapt or fall behind. 


Highlighted by over 30 presentations at last week’s ABA’s Conference for Community Bankers, the urgency for digital adoption took center stage. Here’s our recap of what we heard, learned and are excited to help FIs take action on.



The question posed, “Where do you go to check your credit score?” serves as a stark reminder of where the industry is on the digital transformation curve. If the first answer isn’t your financial institution (FI), it’s time to ponder where your customers are turning instead. 


In reality, many customers find themselves on affiliate marketplace platforms for their credit scores, inadvertently jumping into the arms of competition with competing loan offers.


How does this tie into digital adoption?


To us, “going digital” means enabling your customer to do everything they want and need to on your digital platform—from a financial management perspective. That means being able to check their credit scores and reports, protect their identity through features you offer, manage their subscriptions, and more. 


Ultimately it doesn’t behoove the FI nor the customer for their financial picture to be spread across multiple platforms and applications. A disaggregated view of one’s finances just makes it that much more difficult to effectively manage their overall financial well-being.


That’s why it makes sense that conversation around not falling behind in digital adoption was top of mind. What we heard from industry leaders was a passionate urge to their peers to keep pace with the digital forefront (please).


Investing in your consumer's digital experience may seem costly upfront, but the long-term return on investment cannot be overstated. This concept is far from new or cutting-edge; it’s a proven strategy underscoring the ease of adoption and the intuitive nature of digital tools. By offering services your customers are already familiar with (e.g. credit scoring, identity protection), you not only make your FI stickier but also more relevant and relatable.




The conference shed light on an unexpected challenge within some financial institutions: a gap in knowledge among executives regarding key operational aspects.


Evaluating new digital programs or partnerships necessitates an organizational appreciation for the requirements of those digital programs - for example, aligning the credit bureau an organization decisions with, with the credit bureau score they’d like to offer to customers.


Oftentimes key stakeholders aren’t just those immediately impacted by a forthcoming digital strategy. They’re often stakeholders across the proverbial department pond who might have similar goals but leveraging different levers to get there. 


All this to say, a more integrated strategy across departments is imperative for a collective (and more sustainable) approach to digital adoption. Such a strategy would cover the entire spectrum of operations, from loan origination to underwriting and approval processes, ensuring a seamless and efficient digital transition.


This leads us into our next point which is around ensuring that your team is equipped with the latest and greatest research on what’s available out there.



The path to unblocking a future proof digital strategy is often mired in outdated information. And we sometimes make decisions based on outdated information. Meaning - we typically have more options than we think. 


Take the example of assuming there's just one donut shop in town. Without looking around for a while, it's easy to miss changes. Yet, a quick search reveals a sweet surprise: three different donut shops have since sprouted up in the neighborhood.


It’s the same thing with digital tools. With lower startup costs and minimal capital expenditures, new digital solutions are popping up every day.


This is incredibly exciting because it opens up a world of new discoveries for financial institutions ready to explore and evaluate the solutions they wish to replace or introduce to their customers.


For example, Posh AI, an AI-driven call center support, highlights how technology can simplify customer interactions, like checking balances, thereby enhancing the customer experience and operational efficiency.


All in all, a vast opportunity for innovation and growth are ripe for capture—especially for FIs looking to expand their service offerings and improve their financial outcomes. The emphasis on "optionality" was a recurring theme at the conference and understanding that there’s not just one path to digital innovation but multiple avenues that FIs can explore. 




The call to action is clear: FIs must adopt the digital tools and services necessary to not only stay competitive but to serve their customers the way they want to be served (digitally). By conducting competitive research, understanding the options available, and embracing technology, your FI can navigate the digital landscape proactively rather than reactively. 


Whether you’re a small community bank or a larger institution, the key to staying ahead lies in recognizing the myriad of digital options at your disposal and leveraging them to the fullest.


In essence, the journey towards digital innovation is not a solo venture but a collective effort, requiring engagement, awareness, and strategic partnerships. By embracing this forward-thinking approach, your financial institution can ensure it remains relevant, competitive, and indispensable to your customers in the digital age.


For more information on how Array can help you embed credit monitoring and identity protection tools within your digital experience, contact us to learn more.




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HD Jacobs
Post by HD Jacobs
February 22, 2024
Hugh "HD" Jacobs, IV, is a Senior Sales Representative at Array, Inc.

Prior to joining Array in October 2023, he spent 16 years at SNL Financial and S&P Global Market Intelligence where he engaged in over 10,000 conversations with community banks, credit unions, state banking associations, consulting firms and corporations across the country.

He is a graduate of the North Carolina School of Banking, a graduate from the College of William and Mary located in Williamsburg, VA and has a degree in Finance, with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. HD spent a semester abroad in Torino, Italy, where he received an International Emphasis in Finance.