Having lunch in cafeDigital is “in,” whether it’s for fun and games . . . or banking. So each year I look forward to attending the Digital Banking Seminar put on by American Banker, an organization that helps keep us updated on changes in our industry.

Millennials Much Talked About in Digital Banking

We often think of millennials when we talk about technology because this group has grown up using computers. Millennials also and expect the latest and greatest from service providers when it comes to using mobile devices. One speaker on a panel discussion asked, “Would you want the voice of a terrible parent to tell you what to do with your money?” Apparently, millennials do! Joey Prather, CEO of Dyme, says users of his company’s product are asked to choose a persona they’d like to receive financial messages from. Most users choose “the terrible parent.” In return for choosing that persona, they receive text messages like, “Why can’t you be more like your sister? Text ‘Save 20’ to Save $20 now. Because I said so.”

We also learned from this speaker that we need to earn the right to communicate with millennials on social media. These were two great take-aways for me as we continue to enhance our customer communications.

That said, Chime’s CEO Chris Britt told us the biggest mistake people make about millennials is thinking they’re one homogeneous group. Make that three great take-aways.

Who Owns Identity?

With security a huge concern for banks, it was interesting to listen to Susan Joseph, CEO of the United Nation’s ID2020 project, talk about her organization’s plans to provide a digital identity to everyone on the planet. Her premise is banks should not be the keepers of this identity. She says, “An individual’s right to identity should not be limited to a bank’s willingness to take them on as a customer.”

American Banker Editor Marc Hochstein asked: Is Facebook becoming the de facto provider of identity? The answer? Yes. And so is Google.

Omnichannel the New Normal for Banks

Omnichannel banking provides customers with a seamless experience whether it be in person, on the phone or using a smartphone. And that experience must be individualized . . . directed right to each customer. Banks are working on building the omnichannel experience. Gareth Gaston, executive vice president and head of omnichannel at U.S. Bank, reminded us to put the customer first: “The customer doesn’t care about your org chart,” he says.

“Only Those Who Adapt Will Survive”

My observations from the event are best summed by the thoughts from Tom Ridge, former homeland security secretary. He asked, “Is your digital strategy a silo or just another channel or is it truly deep down part of your corporate DNA?” I thought about this in the context of where INB is positioned today and what our direction is for the future . . . and I like our direction. Our digital strategy isn’t part of our DNA yet; we have to quickly pick up speed in execution. That said, we understand the importance of the change happening in our industry.

The digital world seems as though it will always have a finish line that moves away from you no matter how fast you move, but we have to keep the ever-changing finish line in sight. INB does that better than most banks. Ridge’s closing thought at the conference applies to many industries, but none more direct than banking. He says, “Only those that adapt will survive.” Not a bad saying for life in general either.