I Can't Even With FinTech

Name 3 major ways in which your digital experience as a consumer with a bank has changed in the last five years. Three ways in which they serve you differently, or perform a necessary function they hadn’t given you before. Three new features.



Go on, I’ll wait.

That’s right. You can’t.

Not if you’re honest.

The Stages of Grief

I was at a few industry events lately that left me wondering if I haven’t maybe moved into the depression stage of my FinTech-caused grief.

The stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Many many years ago, when it first occurred to me that the customer is horribly mistreated, uninvestigated and gravely neglected by their financial services provider, I tried to ignore it for a while just like everyone else in the industry, using internal irrelevant news of major M&A events or useless debit card launches disguised as innovation soothe me.

Every banker out there does this on a daily basis to appease the cognitive dissonance between knowing for a fact they are failing the consumer as they are one themselves and also working too hard in the day job not to believe that must be wrong.

Firm denial that it’s really as evident a gap between what digital services consumers get everywhere else and what they get in banking. That’s what powered us all through the last 10 years.

A few of us afforded to move to the next stage and get angry. Raging from furious and vociferous to politely indignant in executive briefings, consultants everywhere make a living from pointing out over and again that GAFA will win and how and challengers rock and why to every incumbent who will listen and there are spectacular amounts of self-flagellating bankers who will.

And it feels good to be angry about this. It feels right. It makes you feel like a consumer champion who fights for basic CX rights. Some bankers do it internally too.

They are the Superheroes I kept talking about , the internal advocates of change and innovation and while their indignation amounts to little less than demagoguery and entertainment in most cases, if the advocate happens to be in an actually functional role, has their heart in the right place and is highly skilled in politics they end up having moved the invisible internal mountains and achieved your mBanks, your INGs , etc.

Those Superheroes are usually a lot more silent about their anger towards the customer injustice as it would be unwise politically to be loud and yet there is no doubt it’s there and powering their valiant efforts .

I for one spent years in the next stage, bargaining with the monolith to change. Every time I could speak to bakers be it from an international stage, in my writing, in the middle of an internal project, or through the book, I’d essentially trade them ideas and tips in exchange for their willingness to stay with the anger and become Superheroes . And it worked at times and it failed most others.

Groundhog Day

I think I’m finally getting depressed when it comes to the FinTech industry. At least I’m hoping this is what stage I’m entering and I’m not jumping straight to acceptance because I heard the same thing over and over again regurgitated by speakers, the same data, the same pictures of either apocalyptic or rosy futures painted, the same 3 stats being paraded and for the first time in the last few hundred events I felt nothing. No indignation. No eyes rolled. No rage that the machine still uses the same FinTech bingo and there’s nothing to suggest this event is not happening in 2015.

The reason why I can’t summon the rage is that my lens has widened much beyond just Financial Services as an industry and these days I have different exasperation invested in an even bigger problem that applies to any big organization but I should still muster *some* FinTech related umbrage. I remember how frustrating I found it when I needed that indignation to come out of others in the industry and they wouldn’t go there. How I thought them complacent. Unwilling. Lazy. Unbrave. Checked-out. Defeated. I don’t want to be those things so I’ll need to find a way to get back to being very annoyed.

Thankfully I have just the formula to accomplish that. Next week at this time I’ll be on stage at the FinTech Design Summit (hit me up on Twitter or LinkedIn if you need a speaker’s discount) and God help me that is TEH place to either restore my faith in humanity when I’ll hear of these unknown amazing strides banks have already made and how those 3 things that you couldn’t think of, are definitely there, definitely life changing for the consumer and definitely emotionally significant, but we just don’t know about them or, alternatively, and as a dreadful consolation prize, none of that will happen and it will be another Groundhog day of lies, lipservice and stale rhetoric and then I’ll find my boiling point again.

If you’re in FinTech do us all a favor and check yourself today: What do *you* do to stay angry?