COCC Hosts Payments Innovation Panel

Interactive, Informative Event as Part of the Annual Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by The American Savings Foundation

 

April 2018 – On April 3, COCC, a leading provider of technology solutions to financial institutions, moderated a Payments Innovation Panel at the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) as part of the Annual Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by The American Savings Foundation.

Joe Trafton, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategic Officer for COCC, moderated a panel discussion about how innovation in the payment channel is occurring at a rapid pace as FinTech companies continue to impact the ways that we initiate and process payments. The panel included several financial technology experts: Marcell King, Chief Operating Officer at Payveris; Joe Lockwood, President and Chief Operating Officer at COCC; Deborah Matthews Phillips, Managing Director for Payment Strategy at Jack Henry & Associates; and Kevin Tweddle, Group Executive Vice President for Innovation and Financial Technology at ICBA.

Joe Trafton began the discussion by asking why payments have become so important for financial institutions in terms of developing new products and services. Deborah remarked that payments make up about 40% of non-interest income for banks and credit unions, making them a growth engine for banks to reinvest by supporting small businesses, growing their technology, and supporting their local community.

Marcell asked the audience how many have a loan with their primary bank and how many have gone into the bank branch within the last week – only a few hands were raised. When Marcell asked how many in the audience use their debit cards to make payments or make payments online, many more people raised their hands. Marcell used this point to emphasize how “payments are your bank’s primary touchpoint with you as a consumer.”

Joe Lockwood expanded on the point that payments are a primary way that financial institutions make money. “This is how banks have been able to stay afloat over the past 20 years,” he remarked.

Joe Trafton introduced the topic of the shift to faster, “real-time” payments. Deborah provided some background for this initiative. Kevin mentioned how, from a regulatory perspective, it will be important to ensure that there is an equal playing field for smaller, community banks within the payments space. The panel also discussed the topic of fraud: Deborah noted that some aspects of digital payments are more secure, as they are initiated by the consumer rather than the FI; but Joe Lockwood pointed out that it may be more difficult for banks to stop fraud because of this; and Marcell reminded the audience that even debit payments are not made in real-time.

Audience members had questions about block chain technology and cryptocurrency; specifically, how financial institutions are preparing for this new world of payments. Joe Lockwood emphasized how COCC’s open system and expansive partner network allow the company to innovate quickly in response to these payments changes. Kevin noted that there is tremendous potential in block chain and cryptocurrency, but there are not yet any strong uses cases from community banks and credit unions.

The panel also spoke about Zelle, a new P2P network that relies on existing bank and credit union accounts. Marcell stated that Zelle is a “countermeasure to P2P networks that can help financial institutions maintain their relevancy with consumers,” as well as provide more convenience while driving revenue.

Joe Trafton asked the panel if younger consumers are really that different from Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers. Deborah and Kevin argued that as young people grow into adulthood, they will want to trust their financial institution for lifestyle solutions, financial advice, and support. Marcell countered that young people really want convenience and speed – and this is why financial institutions continue to lose customers to P2P networks. Finally, Joe Lockwood concluded, “Community banks have an opportunity now to connect with younger consumers. Stop being a bank. Start being fun!”

The panel was highly successful, with attendees from CCSU, local financial institutions, and other community organizations.