Hosted by Barlow Research Associates and sponsored by Mirador, this year’s conference focused on the budding theme of digitization and banking.
Banking and FinTech leaders from across the States convened at the Barlow Business Banking Conference to explore trending opportunities and challenges facing banks serving small businesses and middle-market customers. Digitizing lending processes is top of mind for many bankers as this recent American Bankers Association (ABA) survey demonstrates. Of the 200 banks surveyed, about half of the large banks (assets $1+ billion) and 38% of small banks (assets under $1 billion) already use a digital loan origination channel. As many as 80% of banker respondents indicated they’d be interested in using technology to digitize their small-business lending business, and 57% said they’d consider partnering with a fintech to originate small business loans. The survey corroborates what Mirador attendees observed at the conference. In fact, the Mirador leadership team recently took time to reflect on the conference and noted 5 takeaway observations.
The theme of digital transformation reverberated throughout the conference. Banking leaders and their vendor-partners discussed the challenges and wins they experienced during the transformation of their legacy banking processes and offered best practices to help steer attendees through the digital transformation journey. Mirador team members said enthusiasm continued to run high even outside planned sessions as attendees networked during meals and breaks and exchanged transformation stories, tips, and techniques.
One Mirador executive was particularly impressed with the commitment attendees demonstrated to customer experience, commenting that “attendees at the Barlow Conference exhibited a very strong sense of urgency around identifying and implementing innovative solutions for their customers.” Speakers reiterated that theme by articulating the many ways financial institutions could partner with best-in-class fintech vendors to improve their customers’ experiences.
Openness to Buy versus Build
Consistent with the findings of the ABA survey, conference attendees expressed openness to engaging fintech partners for help with transforming their existing lending processes. Although some banks still choose to build digital capabilities in-house, Carol Glover, Chief Revenue Officer at Mirador, observed that “banks [represented at the conference] are moving faster, becoming agile and trusting fintech as partners versus having to build.”
Goodwill in Sharing
Another Mirador executive and first-time attendee said: “What struck me was the goodwill between the attendees and the openness to sharing – even in a room filled with those who would otherwise be considered competitors.” The spirit of sharing and openness was also evident as banking leaders invited fintech partners to share the stage with them as they described their companies’ digital transformations.
Appreciation for Third-Party Partnerships
Trevor Dryer, CEO, and co-founder of Mirador, was impressed with the enthusiasm and appreciation expressed by many participants for their partnerships with fintech firms. For him, a conference highlight was sharing the stage with Neena Miller, Chief Credit Officer of Tompkins VIST Bank, “as she reflected on the transformative journey we took together to move Tompkins VIST from a traditional, paper-based small business loan process to a completely digital experience.” He said the excitement was palpable as Miller described the innovative launch of “Lightning Loans”, the digital lending process Tompkins and Mirador deployed in January 2017, and the results they’ve realized since then. Tompkins has processed over $113 million in small business loans and is now able to decision loans within 48 hours – and often in as few as 24 hours.