Off to School

October 28, 2016
/   Insights

With the right technologies, community banks and other smaller players can compete more aggressively for the student loan market

Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services...

What We’re Reading

May 5, 2011
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let...

To no one’s surprise, President Obama’s State of the Union speech this week had plenty of red meat on the financial services industry. We heard about the “deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street.” There was a clarion call prohibiting big banks and other financial institutions from making “risky bets with your customers’ deposits. Mortgage lenders, credit card companies and others in the business shouldn’t be “signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices.”

Perhaps most interestingly, there’s word of a Financial Crimes Unit that will crack down on large-scale fraud, with harsher penalties for repeat offenders. This is to benefit not just consumers but also “the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing.”

No one seems quite sure what effect this will have, tangential or otherwise, in the other legal aspect of this equation. As we all know, state and federal in investigators are continue to negotiate a settlement with some of the nation’s largest banks that could reach as much as $25 billion and significantly revamp foreclosure and mortgage servicing practices nationwide. While specifics of the deal are being held closely to the vest, there’s been outspoken opposition from, among others, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and her New York counterpart, Eric Schneiderman. Coincidentally, Mr. Schneiderman is also set to lead the Financial Crimes unit at the state level.

The reaction to the speech has played out along predictable lines. While specific banking segments have been a political piñata for a while now, some observers saw the speech as expanding the bull’s-eye already painted on the industry’s back. Others, meanwhile, saw it as a welcome move toward accountability in a market segment that’s run amok.

The truth is, of course, that most institutions and individuals in the financial services industry played no role, pro or con, in any of the activities that drew all this attention.  But the spotlight isn’t going away anytime soon.

The way out of this will be what it has been for every industry caught in the glare of negative publicity: new products, great customer service, relationship building and innovative delivery mechanisms. The tools and technologies now available to every company and every consumer offer a unique opportunity to make a break from the past and do things very differently.

Customers don’t come in like they used to—they’re online, they’re mobile, they’re virtual.  They expect instant access with high quality, and if they don’t get it, they know they can go somewhere else easily. They demand a high level of transparency, along with a high level of security.

There’s more competition, more accountability, more options and more potential than ever before. These are all good things, and the best institutions will benefit from them—and next year’s State of the Union speech should reflect that.


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Compelling voices and contributed content from around the web

Andy Brown

Andy is marketing director for payments at NCR. He has nearly 30 years' experience in e-payment systems from the delivery and support of systems in the Far East and Europe, from both the product management and marketing perspectives. Based in the UK, Andy is responsible for marketing NCR payment solutions.

Dena Hamilton

Dena is NCR's Director of Enterprise Fraud & Security Software Solutions. She specializes in fraud, risk, compliance and security, with over 35 years of experience in the financial services space. Her focus is the development and deployment of enterprise financial crime solutions optimized in prevention, detection and back office efficiency.

James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Neill Harris

Neill Harris is product marketing director for ATM solutions at NCR. He travels extensively to many of the world's leading banks and financial institutions, articulating how self-service technology and innovation can inform and support strategies and solve challenges.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.

Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.

Brad Strothkamp

Cleopatra Mavredis

Cleopatra is NCR’s Global Marketing Manager for Channel Solutions and has more than 20 years of experience in the ATM industry. NCR’s channel solution portfolio is comprised of APTRA Vision, Inetco Insight and OptiSuite solutions.

Edward Wade

Edward is a freelance writer from Sheffield. Now living in London, he focuses on business and finance.