Forty years ago, bankers didn’t even work on personal computers.

Plug and Play visit in Silicon Valley

But today, technology has radically transformed the entire banking industry, opening opportunities for new products, services, markets and delivery methods.

From mobile banking to electronic deposits, financial technology is gaining tremendous momentum – and for INB, it all serves the purpose of serving our customers.

Technology changes are continuous and accelerating, which is why INB has joined forces with Plug and Play, a global innovation firm based in Silicon Valley that connects tech startups with investors and business partners. 

Within our ongoing partnership, we gain a first look at emerging financial technology. We can take our pain points to Plug and Play and be matched with financial technology partners who may be able to create a solution that will work for our customers.

Over the last year, we’ve gotten the opportunity to participate in several Plug and Play events in order to connect with those in the FinTech and banking space. 

INB Heads to Silicon Valley

In February, INB Senior Vice President Evan Westlake and I participated in “Selection Day” at Plug and Play’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., where we listened to presentations from 41 different startups in the financial technology space, offering apps and services from lending to cybersecurity.

“Being in Silicon Valley and hearing from dozens of startups at the same time helped us to realize the breadth of possibility in the FinTech space,” Evan noted. “Being part of Plug and Play gives us access to more innovative ideas than we could ever conceive on our own.”

At INB, we believe that new ideas bring new growth. Pursuing visionary financial technology opportunities allow us to retain our close relationships and quick decision-making processes while also continuing to serve our customers’ needs with efficient solutions.

INB is the smallest bank to partner with Plug and Play, which has a lot of advantages on both sides. 

Plug and Play Senior Innovation Manager Matt Helmers notes that INB’s size means we can get new tools to market more quickly than larger financial institutions – which is critical for meeting customers’ needs faster. He is also impressed by how closely INB’s staff works together, from the executive team to employees at local branches.

“We value the unique perspective of community banks, who often come to us needing different solutions than larger financial institutions,” said Katrina Samonte, client success manager for the FinTech division at Plug and Play. “We strive to create valuable connections, not only with startups but also among other financial institutions where best practices and ideas are shared.”

Using Tech to Make Banking Easier for INB Customers

At Plug and Play events, we get to meet and network with the global Plug and Play innovation teams, as well as other corporate partners – many of which are the largest financial firms in the United States.

All of these connections and relationships have certainly enabled us to discover new products and services that make banking easier for the people we serve.

Already, INB has implemented new tech processes and apps derived from our Plug and Play partnership.

This month, we are deploying a new solution to help our customers make INB their main financial institution by automating the transfer of direct deposits and direct debits from other banks to INB. We are also using new technology to better understand our customers and their transactions in order to find relevant products and services when they need them.

“We don’t want to adopt innovation just for innovation’s sake,” Evan pointed out. “It can be exciting to see new technology, but the core of what products and services we are exploring is always to enhance customer experience.”

“That’s why Plug and Play events are so helpful to us: we not only gain knowledge of cutting-edge technology services and products, but we’re able to break down exactly what those would look like for INB and how that would help our customers.”