10 Big Ideas for Banking in 2017

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As you plan for the coming year — and beyond — here are some challenges and opportunities worth thinking about.

Beware the 'Cargo Cult' of Performance Targets
The phony-account scandal at Wells Fargo illustrates how sales quotas can incent bad behavior. Is your bank effectively mitigating the risk of 'managing to metrics'? Or could it be in danger of becoming a 'cargo cult'?

Customer Data Is a Liability
For years, there's been a lot of talk about personal information as an unalloyed asset. But by now it should be clear that the more information a company has about its customers, the bigger a target it is for hackers.

Prepare for the Real Voice of the Customer
Banks are grappling with new challenges in trying to work with voice assistants like Alexa in Amazon's Echo to allow customers to check balances and perform other tasks. But with voice banking on the horizon, banks cannot afford to stall their efforts.

Time to Refresh Your Bank's Board
Directors today are expected to perform many duties that, even a decade ago, weren't part of the job, from overseeing cybersecurity and the bank's culture to setting online and mobile strategy. Yet the composition of many bank boards hasn't changed all that much. Here's what to do if you have longtime members who lack the skills needed to help a bank compete.

Bring on the Bots
Artificial intelligence is moving from science fiction to practical reality fast, and it's in banks' best interest to gear up now for the changes ahead. Here are some strategies to consider.

Try to Catch Venmo in Person-to-Person Payments
Though banks are bigger in peer-to-peer payments overall, Venmo is better at functionality and branding and millennials love it. Now banks are launching Zelle with high hopes and the advantage of real-time speed. Can they catch up? Should they even bother?

Embrace the Digital Mortgage as a Competitive Advantage
Nondepository lenders are beating their bank competitors when it comes to both digital innovation and market share in the mortgage industry. As interest rates rise, banks will need to move toward electronic closings and adopt other innovations if they want to stay competitive.

Redefine a Bank's Worth for the Digital Age
The growth of digital channels is bound to have an impact on bank M&A values. That means astute buyers will need to focus less on the number of branches they are getting then and more on the volume of customer data. Experts say it's not a question of if, but when.

How High-Tech Banks Are Fighting Back Against Patent Trolls
Patent-troll litigation costs American companies $29 billion a year, and fintech startups as well as big banks are now in the crosshairs. A growing number are banding together to defend themselves.

Reimagine the Joint Bank Account
Joint accounts sometimes seem stuck in another era. They are still largely geared to couples – even though people are marrying later in life – and most lack modern conveniences, like real-time alerts that let one accountholder instantly know what the other is spending. Here's how to modernize them.

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