INB Recognized for Innovation
By: Sarah Phalen
President and CEO
INB was recently recognized by Silicon Valley’s Plug and Play as an innovator in the FinTech space. INB earned the Corporate Innovation Award for being one of the first community banks in the world to take a lead role in working with technology startups to provide customers what they need, when they need it. In addition, INB has invited bank customers to learn about and take advantage of Plug and Play’s network of entrepreneurs.
“Our work is always about engaging the customer,” explains Tom Gihl, INB’s COO. “And with Plug and Play, we’ve continued down that path.”
Some of the technology solutions INB has implemented, thanks to Plug and Play, allow us to analyze customer data so we better understand how to help them lead healthy financial lives. This means being able to provide customers with products and services when they need them. With Plug and Play’s help, we’re now able to share the right messages at the right time, assuring customers we can help them financially no matter what stage of life they’re in. For example, if someone has a newborn, that’s when they need to begin planning for that child’s education. If someone is closing in on a typical retirement age, we can help them, too. It’s making the right products available at the right time.
Nimble and Quick
While INB appreciates what Plug and Play has to offer, the reverse is true, too. Plug and Play’s entrepreneurs like that INB can engage with them and make quick decisions. As Tom explains, “We bring to P&P and their startups INB’s ability to be nimble and quickly make decisions if we want to test a proof of concept. Most larger companies can’t do that. So instead of months and months of decision making, we can act almost immediately on a product or service opportunity and the startup can get right to work. This differentiates us from the larger, corporate partners who might take a long time to decide to work with a startup.”
Another example of a product from one of Plug and Play’s startups is Clickswitch, a tool that makes it easier to move accounts from one bank to another. It was nice to be able to take one of our pain points – switching banks – to P&P and quickly find someone with a solution.
Passion and Synergy
Tom adds, “INB is very much a learning organization, and the conversations we’ve had with startups have really allowed INB to be engaged in innovation and the newest technology that without P&P we wouldn’t have access to. The conversations bring an understanding of tech from around the world.
“These entrepreneurs have common traits including a passion for their product or service. They are the owners, the founders.” Tom concludes: “They absolutely believe in what they are selling.”
The entrepreneurs’ passion mirrors the passion INB employees have for what they do. Additionally, there’s a synergy around making good products and services even better. We plan to continue to take part in Plug and Play’s summits and continue to bring better banking services to our customers. And we will definitely keep our eyes and ears open to technology innovations that could help our customers’ businesses -- because their success is our success.
We’re thankful for the recognition from Plug and Play, but even more thankful to the personal and business customers whose financial health is first and foremost for us.