Surviving & Thriving in a New Financial Landscape

“Consumers today are smarter, more connected and more social than in years past.” -JP Nicols

It's no secret that the banking world is changing. But what many are trying to understand now is how to survive in this time of digital disruption. And that's the journey that the Bank Innovators Council road show took us on.

We at ARCA are proud to have had the opportunity to partner with JP Nicols at Bank Innovators Council and Jay van Zyl with Innovation Café on this workshop that has traveled across the eastern United States. We were also able to host the most recent workshop at our headquarters in Mebane, NC.

To start us off, JP Nicols dove into what financial institutions are now facing. While previously they were competing with other banks and credit unions, they are now competing with online banks and wealth management systems like Simple and Wealthfront. As one attendee put it, “Consumers have more information at their fingertips than our associates have at theirs.”

But this isn't a new phenomenon. Other industries have faced the same waves of change and the financial industry can learn from the mistakes and successes of the past.

In every organization, there any many different types of people, including the doers, the gatekeepers and the innovators. Each of these roles has the ability to help and to hinder innovation. All of these roles need to work together in order to move the organization forward.


“We need to update the map to match the changing landscape.” -Jay van Zyl

As the needs and desires of customers change, organizations have to adapt. It's not enough to copy the ideas of others. In order to truly succeed, an organization must understand what individuals want and respond to those needs. At times that means following the lead of others, but it also means being willing to take the risk and chart your own path.

We often think of concepts such as digital, social, self-service and personalization as being related to Millennials, but really, these are ideas that reach across all generations. And they aren't going away.

In this era of instant gratification, time has become one of our greatest competitive points. Companies such as Uber have shown us the power of using that to our advantage. At its core, Uber is about connecting people with place, things or other people. And that's how it has grown into a billion dollar company.


“Our hope for this workshop is to be interactive and to help you put ideas into action.” -JP Nicols

Throughout the discussion, JP Nicols and Jay van Zyl encouraged attendees to discuss the demographics they are trying to reach and the pain points they have found along the way. They walked the group through different ways to reach those individuals and to engage them with your brand.

And that's what we learned at the end of the day. We discussed practical ways to change what our organization is doing and look towards to future of the financial industry. Once we embrace the idea that technology will continue to change and more digital channels will threaten to disrupt our current operations, we will find ourselves in a better position to succeed.  And by seeing those changes as an opportunity rather than a threat, the financial industry can not only survive, but ultimately thrive in this era of digital disruption.