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Banks are not technology companies (yet)

I’ve been illustrating my frustration with incumbent banks for some time, saying that they lack technology leadership.  Almost a third of my new book talks about the biggest challenge for banks to respond to Fintech, Big Data, Cloud, Blockchain and all those other issues is to have leadership.  Digital transformation is not a project run by a function, but a complete change of the bank.  You cannot change the bank without strong leadership and most are failing.  In fact, the only bank that’s really out there is BBVA, because their leader is a programmer by background.  Even they have problems though with cross-functional structures and a channel-based view of the market.

Why is this a problem?

It is a problem because how can you change the bank to be digital if (a) the leadership doesn’t understand technology and what digital means; and (b) if no one on the Executive team has any experience of technology.

Banks are run by financiers, not technologists. I highlighted this point a while ago, and was delighted to recently pick up this report from Accenture, published at the start of the year.

Accenture analysed the background of 1,925 executive and non-executive directors of 109 of the largest banks by assets in the world, to find out if they had any background in technology.  This meant finding board members who had previously had senior technology responsibilities, such as serving as a Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer or Chief Digital Officer.

Guess what they found?

Only 3% of CEOs of leading banks have professional technology experience;

Only 6% of board directors have professional technology experience;

40% of banks have no board members with any professional technology experience in their career.

Banking is a technology business.  What are you thinking?

Dumb and dumber


About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, 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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