Six Things We Learned from this Year’s Innovator of the Year Winners
November 21, 2023
3 mins to read
In banking, success isn’t just about keeping up with the trends— it’s about creating modernized and optimal client experiences. Over the past couple months we’ve been sharing interviews with this year’s Innovator of the Year winners, who were nominated by peers for going above and beyond in their respective categories.
We have been blown away by the innovation, candor, and client-focused mentalities of these winners, and couldn’t help but share some of our favorite takeaways from the interviews.
While technology streamlines, we continue to be reminded that clients still want that human touch. United Bank’s implementation of digital receipts, giving clients choices on how they receive information, is a thoughtful touch. In a world dominated by algorithms and automation, the true innovators are those who don’t forget the beating heart using the technology.
Inclusivity in tech matters
During these interviews we learned a lot from Mahalo about how Fintechs can go above and beyond for digital inclusivity. They take pride in creating an inclusive financial world by supporting users with conditions like dyslexia and colorblindness. As Denny puts it in their interview, the goal is to make finance accessible to everyone, regardless of their unique abilities.
Compliance is a starting point, not the finish line. Mahalo’s journey in addressing colorblindness showcases a commitment to inclusivity that goes beyond regulatory requirements.
Adopt the tech that’s right for you
Tech isn’t just a tool; it’s a strategic choice. Arvest’s move to Thought Machine for scalability is a deliberate step towards efficiency and engagement. It’s about using technology not just for the sake of it but as a means to achieve business goals and better serve clients.
Employee engagement: more than a pizza party
Lone Star’s employee-centric approach, inspired by Netflix, creates an environment where employees thrive. Take time to understand what really matters to your team, and find ways to empower them and foster an outstanding work environment. By taking the time to meet your staff where they’re at, you’re not only going to see positive results for attraction and retention, but your clients will be supported by happy, empowered team members.
Fintechs and FIs are better together
It’s no secret there’s historically been some rivalry between FIs and fintech (and also rivalries between fintechs). A key takeaway from fintech AND banking leaders is that you can accomplish much more by working together. Whether that’s fintechs partnering with each other in order to reach and support more clients, or FIs working with fintechs as a true partner to create better experiences, more can be accomplished through collaboration than competition.
Make sure you’re solving a real problem
Your fintech should be more than flashy tech; it should be a problem-solver. Arvest has gone to great lengths to analyze client needs and behaviors before investing in new technology, explaining that implementing technology for technology’s sake is not only expensive, but it can yield low adoption. This same advice came from ICE for other fintechs. It can be easy to launch shiny new technology, but if it isn’t solving a real need that FIs are facing… you’re just sitting on some very expensive, unusable technology. They both suggest talking to clients, asking questions, looking at data, and really understanding the root of the problem.
Ask questions, solve real problems, and always consider the humans behind the technology.