Banking Leader

How Rejecting Established Myths Empowers Banks to Face Reality Head On

Andrew Beatty | SVP and General Manager, FIS Next Generation Banking, FIS

November 05, 2019

Many common myths exist in the world at large – we’ve heard the anecdotes, and without evidence to discern truth from myth, many of us tend to believe and accept them as fact. As it turns out, these same tendencies can also manifest with our own banking industry mythology. In this blog, I will attempt to dispel a few banking industry myths by comparing them to common folklore – stories that we’ve all heard, and very likely were more than willing to believe.

“Elephants are afraid of mice” – This seems to have originated from children's stories in which it would look funny to see such a big animal fear such a little one. However, the truth is that elephants have no particular fear of mice. Elephants do, however, have poor vision and move fairly slowly; they can be startled when a small animal, like a mouse, scurries past and surprises them.

How does this correlate to banking solutions? Without proper planning and insight into the direction of the industry, and how your software providers are aligning, you may feel as if you and your bank have poor vision and are moving forward as slow as a real-world elephant. What’s more, a core transformation can feel like a slow-moving herd of elephants!

Likewise, delays in a critical project, or discovery of “ghosts in our machine” – typically in the form of defects “undocumented features” – can unnerve and frighten the best of us. But we shouldn’t necessarily panic. These kinds of unwelcome surprises often turn out to be much like that mouse – nothing to really fear – provided you’re working with a solution provider with the requisite processes, procedures and know-how to avoid problems and keep projects on track in the first place, and promptly mitigate and remedy issues if they do arise.

Here’s the reality: As a top financial software provider, FIS is aligned with the top technology partners and already redefining the curve of where the banking industry is headed – with solutions that are secure, compliant and cloud-native; that are real time, open and API accessible; and capable of processing transaction volumes from banks and non-bank fintechs alike.

“Ostriches stick their heads in the ground when scared” – Ostriches are not considered smart birds, but this kind of behavior is not based on any facts. While it may look like they’re hiding their heads whenever they bend down, it’s more likely they are searching for food, looking in a small hollow for roots and seeds. When scared, ostriches can run up to 31 miles per hour (the fastest human can reach a top speed of 28 mph). Ostriches are fast enough to escape many predators; and when unable to outrun a threat, the ostriches - like opossums - use the cunning defense of flopping to the ground and playing dead. Perhaps they are not so stupid after all.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a bad day when you wanted to mimic the hypothetical ostrich and try to hide or run away from an issue – or even “play dead” for a while by not answering calls, texts or emails. Many in our industry act like that proverbial ostrich at times – but we all know that hiding, running and obfuscating won’t solve the problem, and benign neglect can become serious. We need to face the challenges in our midst. For example, banks need to recognize when their mission-critical solutions become antiquated, and rather than providing a competitive edge those “solutions” are in fact putting a chokehold on efforts to be efficient and innovative providers that are ready for banking in the digital age.

The reality is that banks today have new solutions available that far “outrun” the legacy platforms that encumbered them. There’s no need to run or hide or attempt to replace everything all at once – only accept that it’s time to move forward, and plan how to get there – for example by decomposing monolithic systems into future-proofed components, and target-modernizing over time. FIS is poised to help clients take this journey.

“Humans use only 10 percent of their brains”The human brain is remarkable. It generally uses about 20 percent of the body's resources and it never really “turns off” until death. Almost every part of the brain is busy doing all sorts of things even when we aren't paying attention. Various parts are active all the time, far more than the mythical 10 percent. Learning a new skill, gaining a new memory, or thinking about a person's face can all stimulate your brain in different ways. But interestingly the new stimulations don’t activate an unused area, instead the brain utilizes an already active part for a new purpose.

Like brain power, banks often do not fully utilize their solutions. They may not even know how.

The myth lies in trying to do it all, for all time. Even what were once the most robust and powerful legacy banking solutions, cannot be expected to “do it all” anymore after decades of useful life – especially considering the tremendous advances in technology that can now provide better paths forward. Today’s modern banking platforms, with componentized solutions that leverage an event-driven architecture, provide all the “brain power” that will be needed for well into the future of banking. That’s no myth.