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How can you be AI with DD?

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No, I don’t mean Attention Deficit Disorder, which would be ADD, but I mean Artificially Intelligent with Dumb Data. Now, I know I moan on and on about fragmented legacy systems, but I honestly have no idea how a bank could ever be able to compete with an Apple or Amazon, or even a Marcus or Monzo, with the systems mess they have in their back office.

I know several banks that have grown through M&A over the last half century and, each time, they’ve kept the old systems running. Hey, it’s easier that way. Why take the risk of downtime and conversion costs? It’s too much.


It’s way past time you should have addressed this issue and now there’s all this lovely data you could leverage that is just festering away, unused, unloved in silo-structures of product focus with zero integration. How can you be intelligent with dumb data?

In the meantime, there’s these new banks – like Monzo – that are just hoovering up all of my lifestyle spending because they’re so good at analysing my lifestyle data. They show me what I spend, where I spend it, when I spend it and how much I’m spending on each and every darned thing in my life. So, they’ve become my lifestyle bank and you’ve become my boring old bank for my boring old bills, like utility payments and mortgage stuff. The stuff that is important but tells you nothing about who I am or how I live my life, ‘cos Monzo got all that stuff. In other words, you got the dumb data. Lucky you.

Oh, and another thing. How come you don’t know I’m the guy running a company called The Finanser Ltd when I call you? I have to go through all this verification process over there too and then you ask me what I want, and I explain that I have two accounts with you – a small business account and a personal account, and they got messed up. How come you don’t know I have two accounts with you? Well, I know why. It’s the same reason you don’t know why I got my credit card with you or my loan with you or my mortgage with you. It’s because you threw all my data around your lil ol’ bank’s back office into a system called business accounts, personal accounts, card accounts, loan accounts and mortgage accounts, and none of them have any synergy, integration or way of knowing that I am lil ol’ Chris Skinner of Kent. Wake up!!!! Your competition knows this because they’re not dumb with data. Why are you dumb with data? Oh yes, rotten old core systems, legacy, merger and acquisition, product focus, silo structures and internal politics. Lucky you.

Then there’s the other stuff, like the whole way in which you treat me. I call the bank and you want my name, rank and serial number, because you don’t know me … even though you have my telephone on file and should know it’s me as I’m calling you from that number. Then you want me to go through security checks, like my last three payments – which I have no idea what they were – and six-digit passcodes followed by a check of my address zip code and more. Why? You should know who I am, as I’m calling you from the app???

But I know why you don’t know me, ‘cos you have all these dumb-ass systems sitting at the core of the banks’ operations that don’t know who anyone is. I’m betting it probably doesn’t even know who your CEO is, if he or she called you up? How can you be intelligent with dumb data?

And oh yes, I’m betting you’re saying it doesn’t matter so much as you still have trillions of capital, billions of assets, millions of customers and a whole raft of history, regulation and trust that the customer loves. Well I’m telling you that this doesn’t cut it anymore. At the bare minimum, you need to know who I am, what I’m calling about and why these days. You can’t just take the call and ask for my name, rank and serial number. I want you to be intelligent with me. And that doesn’t mean having some idiotic chatbot that can respond to a question like “duh dude, what’s my balance today” when the real rubber hitting the road is when I call you and say “guys, where’s that $500 gone that I sent to account 1283451 yesterday, they didn’t get it”.

Nope. Any bank with fragmented data around their systems and processes that means they have no understanding of their customers basic information, let alone insights about their wants and needs, has no future.


Done, said it, drop microphone, walk off-stage.

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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