8 Key Takeaways from the 2018 Money 20/20 Conference

3 min read

I just spent four exhausting days at Money 20/20, where I was surrounded by 11,500+ attendees from 100 countries, 450+ speakers, 2,600+ C-Suite executives, and 300+ members of the media. You know you’ve been to a great conference when you leave with lots of notes, lots of contacts, and plenty of information to share with co-workers and clients.

One of my favorite quotes/takeaways from the conference came from The Financial Brand Co-Publisher Jim Marous, talking about predictive analytics, a Katabat strength: “The winners will be those who use insights the best. It’s not just about delivery; it’s about knowing you well enough to know what you need next. It needs to make the consumer’s life easier.”

The Takeaways…

I attended a lot of terrific sessions (though there were far more than anyone could attend without an army of co-workers). I picked up on some recurring themes in the sessions and subsequent conversations:

  1. Reduce Friction: This came up in many sessions and side conversations, from easier fraud verification to easier account-opening processes (up through funding) to easier financial planning.
  2. Customer Experience: It came up in almost every conversation/session, particularly about how fintechs can differentiate.  Net Promoter Score (NPS) matters!  Much of the discussion focused on digital and mobile.  I was particularly struck by an Amazon Prime presentation where they talked about increasing their pricing by 20 percent without losing many customers. You only do that if you’re offering great value to your customers.
  3. Diversity in the Workplace: Now that we’re reaching everyone through digital, it’s even more important that we focus on finding people who can identify ways to serve and communicate with everyone through their preferred channels.  Ellevest CEO and Co-Founder Sallie Krawcheck had a great quote that I starred in my notes: “If you are a CEO and you hire one person who’s exactly like you, you have done nothing.”
  4. Fraud: There was a huge vendor presence on this topic – clearly a major industry concern.
  5. Bank Partnerships with Fintechs: We touched on this topic recently in a post about the (lack of) appeal of federal fintech charters.  OnDeck announced PNC as the second FI on its small-business lending platform and then said it has launched a new company called ODX that will focus on helping banks digitize their small business lending processes.
  6. Data Ownership: There was also a lot of discussion on how customers are taking control of their data. They want better service, products, and value for their data.  They have no interest in big companies making tons of money off it with no return for the consumer.
  7. API Economy: Lot of discussion on this topic (exposure of an organization’s digital services and assets through application programming interfaces (APIs) in a controlled way.  Katabat is investing in this area and the amount of discussion reinforces the value of that investment.
  8. Artificial Intelligence: Not surprisingly, this was a popular topic.  But I was surprised that many of the attendees seemed unable to differentiate between AI, Machine Learning, Conversational AI Voice, and many of the other AI-related offspring.  Vendors and bloggers clearly need to be spending time educating on these topics. And it’s no surprise that the fintechs and smaller financial institutions are generally more willing to experiment and deploy AI-based solutions while the bigger banks are clearly more cautious.

And in summary

As I look back over the past few days, I do wonder if Money 20/20 has gotten too big. Granted, there are videos on YouTube where you can catch up on presentations that got a great buzz. But it’s so big that it’s easy to feel lost.  If you don’t schedule meetings in advance, it’s nearly impossible to do that once you’re on the ground between trying to read badges, getting bumped by passers-by, or trying to align schedules.

But I’m sure I’d go again – even with those shortcomings, the learning and connections were worth it.

Andrea Kochendorfer is North American Sales Manager at Katabat.

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