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Why FinTech is Cool…

Strategically Speaking
Apr 17, 2013

Danny Payne Author: Danny Payne,

A couple weeks ago my 4 year old daughter said, “Daddy, what do you do for work?”  My 10 year old son answered her and said, “Dad talks on the phone all day and flies on airplanes.”  I spent a few minutes trying to explain my job, my company, and then quickly gave up.  What was I going to say?  “Honey, I represent a technology company that provides bill pay services, mobile banking, and mobile check deposit.”  I am sure she would have looked up at me and said, “Got it Dad!”  Instead, all four of my children look at me and think… BORING!  And here I am trying to look at my children and saying, “No really… my job is cool.”   And honestly, I would love to see my 14 year old son get interested in what I am doing and understand why I think FinTech is cool.

I will be the first to admit, I did not sit down with my high school counselor or my college advisor and say, “I want a career in financial service technology”.  Honestly, I wanted to be a basketball coach.  My first online experience was on a user board.  I actually remember saying the words, “Are we actually inside the internet now?”  I am also old enough to admit that the first cell phone I used was in a box that plugged into the lighter on a car.  I could never have imagined that cell phone or the smaller square (6 inch thick) phone I carried in my pocket around college would eventually evolve into a device more powerful than my Pentium Pro DELL 386.  It’s really kind of wild to think of the major evolution of computers, mobile devices, and the internet in general.  Technology is now assumed and expected.  Our children will expect all of their electronic devices to interact with everything.  Isn’t that cool?  But isn’t that SO MUCH different than how we grew up and what we expected our first cell phone or our internet to do? 

The world today is very different than that world I described above.  Along with the mobility of our laptop computers, everyone is also carrying around a tablet and cell phone that is lighter, smaller, and easier to manage.  The world of financial technology has to be accommodating that kind of availability. And even though it doesn’t get the press that Facebook or Google does, this is the same kind of coding and developing happening. I have personally visited some of these small, fast growing, and innovative companies.  If you didn’t know better, you would think you had walked right into “The Social Network”.  It is cool, it is exciting, and it is innovation happening right before your eyes.  They are building these interfaces that we use every day when banking, depositing checks, or paying our bills online.   You see where I am going with this?  This technology is very cool.

Think about it… how much different is your relationship with your financial institution than it was 10-20 years ago.  For many people, the days of walking into a branch are over.  When was the last time you called your financial institution or biller to ask for your balance or how much you owe this month?  If you need something, there’s not only a website for you to go and get the information… there’s an App for it too!  And if you are like most people, you have a way to log into the website and own the application on your cell phone and tablet device.  We are overwhelmed with communication options that allow us instant access to data immediately.  All of this is creating a huge opportunity for financial services technology companies.  All of this is cool.

In my world, inside ProfitStars, and the companies I partner with… we provide this kind of experience every day.  Recently the William Mills Agency, The Association for Financial Technology, and Crone Consulting announced mobile banking is growing five times faster than internet banking (Bankers as Buyers 2013). These companies are focusing on you (the bank and credit union) and you (the customers).  They want to bring more information and more ease of use to your computers, tablets, and cell phones.  Twice a year I try to make sure I attend Finovate.  If you aren’t familiar with this event, I highly recommend it.  Finovate holds two US based conferences where 30-40 handpicked companies get 7 minutes on stage to show their latest and greatest innovation. With over 1,000 people in attendance and social networking spreading the news to thousands more, they have the chance to be #BestofShow or #FAIL.  And even though the average person may not think financial technology is on the “cutting edge” or creating dynamic and ground breaking technologies, the truth is… the average person wouldn’t know how to live without the FinTech products we are putting in their hands.  We, the members of a large family of financial technology companies, make up the vastly different services that are provided every day for millions and millions of people.  So back in the 1990’s, FinTech didn’t even exist the way it does today.  And the founders, presidents, and CEO’s of these new innovative products weren’t even ready to understand the products they are building today.  But it still happened, and it is happening.  It is everywhere and it is important and it is being introduced to more and more people every day.  Young and old, more and more people are adopting easier ways to manage their personal financial world.  So, there is a chance, before my 14 year old son graduates college he could recognize the opportunity for a career in FinTech.  He could be a developer, a product manager, an operations leader, or a good old sales guy… just like Dad.  And just like FinTech, that is really cool. 

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