I wouldn’t usually blog on a Saturday, but these are exceptional times and these are exceptional ideas. I’ve already seen some incredible innovation from start-ups looking to help those in need. For example, I listened to the ideas of Curl on Thursday, who are running a campaign to Save Our Local. The idea is that people in local communities can buy vouchers from local businesses – shops, restaurants, repair shops, whatever – and the local business gets the money now, for a service that they will give you in the future.
I saw a demonstration of a great idea using blockchain technology to rapidly distribute services to those in need and who the government are trying to help.
Meantime, I’ve also seen a lot of stress on the system. I’ve seen banks who have closed call centres because they relied on India, and India shut down. I’ve seen banks promising emergency loans but unable to process them. I’ve seen people visiting banks and arguing with them, as their livelihoods and lives are at stake.
Equally, the worst traits of banks have been exposed from paying shareholders dividends, bonuses and benefits just before the crisis hit, to telling customers they don’t qualify for the state-funded aid packages and must, instead, take a normal bank loan with high interest and personal guarantees against their residence and assets.
Interestingly, the challenger banks have responded in a completely different way. They are telling customers to come, engage and talk. They are deferring bonuses, salaries and executive pay, and trying to reassure their customers and staff that they are safe and well looked after. It’s a very different attitude.
These are strange times, but let the innovators solve the issues and the incumbents fail. If these behaviours continue, they should. After all, in 2008, the people bailed out the banks when they messed up. In 2020, the (traditional) banks are ditching the people when the world messed up.
Woah. Just found out #BofA (@BofA_Help) are requiring small businesses to have an existing line of credit to be able to access SBA/PPP funds. This is insane!? @JimMarous @richardturrin @JPNicols @jasonhenrichs @Chris_Skinner @cgledhill @rshevlin @dgwbirch @jentescher @garyvee
— Brett King (@BrettKing) April 3, 2020
Overall, and the reason why I’m blogging on a Saturday, is that the speed of ideas and innovation from the tech community amazes me. The sloth and attitude of some of the traditional banks disgusts me.
Can anyone give me an example of a traditional bank doing good things in these bad times please?