Whenever I chat with people around banking, one topic comes up again and again: transparency. How do you create it? How do you get it? Why don’t we have it? are all the usual questions that get thrown my way. I get it, transparency can be difficult, and probably hard to manage, especially when you have to deal with various stakeholders, but for us to evolve as a FinTech community, transparency is vital for consumers, FinTechs and FI’s alike.
To me, this is why Open Banking (or Consumer Directed Finance if you will), is crucial for Canadians. We need better transparency into our finances to help us better plan for the future, and to take charge of our financial well being. Recently I learned that my FI does not allow me to see all of my bank accounts online because they were opened in different regions of the country, some were opened where I grew up, and others where I currently reside. To me, this was mind blowing, that one FI had that little transparency. For me to gain access to all my accounts through one platform, I would have to close my current older accounts and re-open them in my new city. Again, mind blown.
So, how do you create transparency and why does it matter? I think the obvious answer here is to leverage open banking, to help create a framework where customers can have the transparency they desire. However, keeping in mind that we are probably a bit of a way off from open banking, the other obvious answer is to create an organization that puts customers at the center of everything they do. All too frequently systems are developed without first thinking of the customer and how it can help them, how can this system help them deliver cost savings or even have a further preview into what is happening with their accounts? When you begin building from a customer-centric perspective, you gain valuable insights into how your customers think and help increase visibility on what is valuable to them and how it can help them build their business.
Although transparency won’t be created overnight, we can start making steps towards creating a transparent ecosystem that works for everyone. Remember to build from the customer’s perspective and ensure to talk to your customers and built what they want, not just what you think they want. And, while we wait for Open Banking to come to Canada, start prepping your organization for this shift that is about to happen. The more prepared you are for it, the easier it will be on both you and your customers.