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Principles of The Reimagined Bank

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So there are some clear lessons we can learn as base foundation principles when reimagining banking for the 21st century:

  • Everything is peer-to-peer networked
  • It’s all in real-time globally
  • Commerce is not just person-to-person but more machine-to-machine
  • We are looking at the exchange of value between machines and individuals, not just money
  • Transactions are the least interesting piece of the new ValueWeb, as advice via analytics is far more useful
  • Open sourcing the system is a critical part of the approach – there’s no place for proprietary
  • Take the examples of marketplaces and platforms, rather than products and services
  • Focus upon delivery the best experience on the platform – in terms of engagement and investment – rather than trying to imagine target demographics
  • Continually enhance and invest in the platform experience, nothing is static
  • Don’t make strategic plans, just innovate daily with a relentless focus upon the user experience
  • Don’t use regulations as an excuse to avoid doing something – change the regulation

I could go on, but I’ve already shot myself in the foot several times. Banks rarely see regulations as an opportunity and see the product and profit first, the customer and technology second. This is where the wheels start to come off. All of the FinTech start-ups I meet are far more attitudinally geared toward thinking like the above. If banks cannot change their thinking, then they will sleepwalk into disruption.

Time to wake up.

Let’s put it another way: if you could reboot the bank, how would you do it? Would you still have deposit accounts that you use as a way to cross-sell cards, loans and more? Would you still have branches? Would you still create a savings account based upon interest rate churn?

What would you do if you could reimagine the bank from scratch? Would it still be a bank? Is it just a faster bank?

I think it’s time to bring design into finance and use design logic to create the next generation financial platforms. Design thinking starts with the basic question: what is the user trying to achieve? A journey (Uber); a memory (Facebook); an answer (Google); fun (Apple) … a payment? No. It’s nothing to do with a payment. It’s fulfilling a wish. How would you design a bank based upon a wish?

Design for fulfilling dreams. It’s got nothing to do with banking.

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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