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One of the social communities I’ve joined was having a discussion about the greatest literati quotations related to banking the other day. It was so good that I thought I would share here, especially as it’s Friday …
So we’re having a meeting the other day and my friend was a little upset.
He’d just been promoted in the bank to become the Director of Digital Payments, Innovation and Strategy. We all noted that he was now the lead for DPIS and congratulated him for taking DPIS. For some reason he took offence.
So it’s late at night and we reach that point in the evening where it’s almost embarrassing.
I love you man. You’re my best and only friend in the world, y’know what I mean?
Having gone past the point of talking about whether the Pope is really a money launderer and Obama is actually a drug runner’s prayer answered, we start talking about us. Are we really who we say we are? If you were an animal, what animal would you be (a monkey), a flower what flower (snap dragon) or a colour, what colour (magnolia with a hint of lilac).
Then one of the group pipes up: so let’s stop talking about us, but let’s talk about banking. A big groan. If banking were a movie, what movie would it be?
I get a lot of spam and scam email most of which is deleted but, as it's Friday, I thought y'all might appreciate the phish that follows ...
-----Original Message----- From: Benard Madoff [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: 08 April 2015 13:54 To: me Subject: Help me Make a difference
I am Bernard Madoff the founder of wall street firm Bernard L. Madoff investment securities LLC in 1960 and was the former chairman of NASDAQ.I was accuses of fraud worth over $170 billion dollars and was arrested on Dec 11,2008 and on march 12,2009.I was pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and admitted to operated the largest ponzi scheme in history.
I’m often asked about how to implement a digital bank? What are the top tips?
My response is that every company is different, with no two banks the same. Some are evolutionary and try to tinker with the current company structure; some are revolutionary, like mBank, and radically reorganise the current structure; whilst some are transformational, like BNP Paribas and Hello!, where the only way to create the new structure is through the launch of a new bank.
Whichever strategy is being followed, the most critical piece in all of this is leadership, as I’ve said before. This is where it gets more difficult as most banks are structured like monkey trees.
The monkey tree organisation has a lot of primates running up and down the limbs of the tree. The monkey at the top of the tree looks down and sees a lot of smiling faces.
The monkey’s climbing up the tree just see a bunch of assholes.
Bank pricing is the most opaque part of the industry, and the part that irritates customers the most. Customers get charged high fees for unauthorised overdrafts as this funds free bank services for those who don’t go overdrawn. Banks focus upon packaged accounts and cross-sell because the core deposit account is their loss leader. It is this area of banking that should undergo the most fundamental change over the next years and it is already happening.
I am tempted to write a long and deep blog today about EMIR, the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation, and how the more transparency regulators force into our capital markets, the more likely that banking will move into the shadows.
But it's Friday and, having spent most of yesterday at Ladies Day at Royal Ascot (Queen, country and all that), I just thought I would share with you this lovely photo of me and the human cash machine.
It’s Valentines day and Goldman Sachs is talking about bringing back the love into banking.
Lloyd Blankfein, the notorious CEO who talks about banks doing God’s Work whilst his staff call customers muppets and the media call them the Vampire Squid, is quoted in an interview with Japan’s Nikkei newspaper as saying:
It's going to be a long time before most people in the world are in love with bankers, but that is not going to stop us from working hard to be a better institution.
I was going to start this week with a serious blog post, but the ABN AMRO kickoff meeting for 2014 has caught everyone’s attention. In fact, it’s made everyone note it so much that I’m going to dedicate today’s blog entry to it.
Why did it grab the attention of all?
Because the Chairman of the Bank, Gerrit Zalm, dressed up as a brothel owner to talk about the similarities between a whorehouse and a bank.
I was wondering how long it would take for a wearable bank
app to appear, especially as we now have Google Glass and Samsung Galaxy Watch,
so it was no surprise to see my friends over at the Financial Brand spot the first release of these services.
It is also no surprise that Banco Sabadell is one of the
first to be mentioned, as folks will know if they’ve read my interview with Pol
Navarro who heads up innovation there (see postnote).
The report talks about wearable apps for banking being along
the lines of alerts, but you can get that via text messaging or something similar,
so here’s my vision of the everywear digital future:
I awake and note that the weather today has an 80 percent likelihood
of rain thanks to the alert on my pajamas.
As I wash for work, the shower tells me that I have five minutes
until the next conference call.
Dripping whilst towelling, the shower interactive
communicator screen allows me to videocall with the client.
Damn! I forgot to
cover myself. Ah well, all for
Off to the kitchen for coffee, and the fridge informs me
that a DM (Direct Message) has arrived from Bob about the call this morning.
I ask the fridge to read it for me, as I’m brewing an
Bob’s message says: “please don’t bother clients with such
small details next time”.
Bob was always a joker.
“Fridge”, I say, “tell Bob to go fook himself”. Note: fook is now the abbreviated form of
As I wake up and smell the coffee, I’m aware that I need to
get to the City for a meeting by nine.
“How much time do I need to get from here to Cornhill today?”
“25 minutes”, the fridge replies.
It’s 8:15, so I dash to throw on a suit and then it’s out
into the transporter to get to the meeting.
The transporter is like the old Smart cars, but runs on cooking
oil, sewage and urine, all things that I seem to have plenty of available, as
do most of my colleagues.
My suit has an integrated screen and voice activated lapel
that allows me to keep track of all things interesting whilst driving to the
meeting, as does the transporter.
“You need to cover these actions today sir”, says my suit as
my transporter says, “we are now turning left and will arrive at your
destination in 15 minutes”.
“In 15 minutes you have a meeting with Mr. Lombard at
Cornhlll sir”, says my suit.
My transporter replies, “Do you want ot go to Lombard or
“Lombard is correct”, my suit informs the transporter.
“No Cornhill”, says I.
“Rerouting to Lombard Street”, the transporter replies.
As I tell the car to reroute to Cornhlll, my watch loudly
instructs: “you have a fitting with Right Gear after your meeting with Mr.
Lombard today Chris”.
The transporter starts to turn right and changes gear,
whilst my suit starts to argue with my watch about what time the Right Gear
fitting will be.
As we hit the transporters driving along the opposite side
of the highway, I wonder why we ever had so many devices communicating when all
you need is one (it’s called me!).
If you’re interested, the Financial Brand also published a
free chapter from my new book. The book includes interviews with many
innovators from Pol Navarro at Banco Sabadell to Matthias Kroener at FIDOR Bank
to Donald Norman at Bitcoin to Michal Panowicz at mBank and more …