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Bankers are cavemen or cool? #ebaday

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I've just attended EBAday for the first time in a few years, and it's an interesting conference.

Like a mini-SIBOS for Europe, the major focus is on regulations, specifically the Payment Services Directive II, and the bank's response.

However, in order to kick things off, the EBA (Euro Bank Association, not European Bank Authority) invited Andrew Tarvers, CEO of Capco and founder of Bold Rocket, to give a 'challenger speech'.

I wouldn't call it a challenger speech, so much as a 45 minute flagellation, as Andrew ripped into the banking audience and claiming they had zero understanding of today's world.

According to Andrew, bankers are 'cavemen':


... stuck in their quagmire of legacy and infatuated with regulation.

It was a pitch which was purposefully meant to provoke the audience, and it did as he was forever remembered as the 'guy in the red trousers' (yes, Andrew was wearing red trousers and, being a banking conference, everyone else was wearing a suit!).

I felt a little bit disappointed with the presentation as he kept raising the issues:

  • banks are not focused upon the customer historically
  • banks have purposefully ripped customers off in the past
  • banks are full of old systems that should be replaced
  • banks are not keeping up with social media or the needs of millennials
  • banks have missed the bitcoin wave banks are threatened by Google, Facebook and more as they are unable to leverage big data banks should be more open and transparent


... etc.

The thing is that many of us are aware of these issues - if you read my blog you would definitely be - and what we need are solutions.

Andrew stated that he avoided providing any solutions as he wasn't pitching for consulting work.

Maybe, maybe.

But here's my solution for a bank to move from this:


... to this:


First, work out if you need to revolutionise the bank or evolve it. 

If it's a revolution, then invest in a new business model and nurture it outside the bank.

If it's an evolution, then focus upon being able to match best-in-class organisations that are out there.

Commit to the change, which means that you drive this wholeheartedly not half (the old thing about a chicken participates in breakfast, but the pig is committed).

Remember that the change is a continuum, not a short-term objective.

Dont worry about gorillas such as Google, but focus on the unseen threats of tomorrow, such as Bitcoin.

It is the embryos of the Gorillas that threaten you, not the big boys you see today.

Finally, read my book for real inspiration and guidance.

Yes, I am trying to sell something!

And, rather than write a detailed analysis of his speech, I think it's more interesting just reading the tweets.

For the complete set, checkout #ebaday.


Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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