Project Paradise Podcast - Trends in Banking Industry

Trends in the Banking Industry

with Brian Jackson

“Trends in the Banking Industry”

In this episode, Brian Jackson, Director of Project Management and Third Party Governance at Centennial Bank, shares his 47-year journey in the banking industry, witnessing the incredible transformation from manual operations to today's digital marvels. He discusses the importance of contractual compliance in the banking sector and how Centennial Bank adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling remote work. They explore the impact of digital transformation on modern banks, including real-time payments like FedNow. Tune in for valuable insights and inspiring stories.


In this episode we discuss “Trends In the Banking Industry”

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Important Timestamps:

  • 00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:23 – Brian’s background
  • 02:30 – Banking Through the Decades
  • 06:15 – Banking’s Unstoppable Technological Journey
  • 08:20 – Time-Saving, Compliance Crucial, Pandemic Impact
  • 11:10 – Revolutionizing the Post-COVID Workplace

Transcript of “Trends in the Banking Industry”

AI Narrator: This is Project Management Paradise. Project management Paradise is brought to you by Cora Systems, a worldwide leader in providing enterprise project and portfolio management solutions to global agencies such as Honeywell, Boston Scientific, PwC and the UK’s National Health Service.

Aaron: Hello everyone and welcome to the project Management Paradise podcast. I’m your host, Aaron Murphy, and today I’m joined by Brian Jackson to discuss the topics of trends in the banking industry. Brian is the director of Project Management and 3rd party governance at Centennial Bank. Brian, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. How are you?

Brian: Well, I’m doing very well, Aaron. Thank you. Thank you for the invitation. I appreciate it.

Aaron: It’s no problem at all. Thank you for being a guest. To get things started, can you tell us about yourself and your background and how you got into banking and project?

Brian: Well, I started out in the banking industry 47 years ago at a small bank in Austin, TX where I was born and raised and did a lot of different things. The small bank and then went to Houston, TX and worked for a larger bank and participated. My first project, I guess in about 1981, all very manual with checklists and notes and barely meeting minutes or anything else that went along. With it. And I discovered that I liked project management mainly due to its short-term nature of being able to take something and implement it, have people use it and then go on to the next thing. And that’s sort of how I’ve made my career over the years is working and and projects and mergers and acquisitions of banks and new product development and all sorts of banking operations and technology issues.

Aaron: That’s amazing. It sounds like you had a bit of a move from Austin to where you are now and a change from manually entering the information to probably a more digital approach nowadays.

Brian: Oh, it’s a more digital approach nowadays, that’s for sure. But the entire banking industry 47 years ago was was manual. And we’ll get into that here in a little bit. But yeah, it was all just on a piece of paper. There was no such thing as the Internet or e-mail to work off of, and if you needed to exchange documents or files it was via fax or via a Courier or an airplane or something. So, it was a whole different world back then.

Aaron: Wow. Times have truly changed since then, and what have been the biggest changes you’ve noticed in, as you said, you’re 47 years in the industry to date?

Brian: Right. Well, it certainly is the technology about how manual everything was back in the day, anywhere from the capturing of checks and sending checks out for collection to posting of the general Ledger to balancing pillar windows, everything was, was manual. Everything was mechanical. There was very little technology to help you out along the way. The first one of the first projects I did was installing an ATM in in Austin with some friends of mine at the at the bank I worked at and it it was a a revolutionary thing back in the late 70s, early 80s to to install an ATM. And so that rate of change has just multiplied dramatically over the last several decades to what we see today. So, it’s definitely the change from manual operations to technical operations and digital operations.

Aaron: That’s amazing, I can only imagine what it was like back then compared to now, especially with like the rate that technology is moving at and the fact that installing an ATM nowadays would seem like such a simple task. But back then, it was probably like top news around the area about, wow we’ve an ATM in the town.

Brian: You know, everybody’s afraid of what it might do or what’s afraid of the mistakes it might make. It just was one thing after another in terms of how the how, how it was perceived in the in the economy and in the community at that point. And and now it’s it’s commonplace for sure.

Aaron: Given your wealth of experience in banking, what was a light bulb moment for you?

Brian: Well, I was thinking about that and back in 2008. The US had a pretty significant economic crisis that affected the rest of the world as well, but certainly here in the US we had about 500 plus banks across the country failed and within that time frame, our executive management team, which tends to be very opportunistic and very visionary, started organizing the bank in such a way that we could go out and work with the banking. Regulators, particularly the FDIC, to go out and work with acquiring these banks and bringing them into Centennial Bank. So, we grew very, very quickly in a short period of time we acquired and converted six banks in 364. Days we. Acquire a few more after that and it it it became almost a line of business for us in terms of mergers and acquisitions, but that the growth of mergers and acquisitions and then bringing those banks into Centennial so that you didn’t have what happened way back in the day in the United States in the 1920s where there were runs on banks and that kind of thing. And at this point, we’re able to work with regulators, fold them in. It’s basically a seamless process for the customers.

Aaron: That’s amazing and it’s great that there was light during that dark time really and just shows the ability that Centennial had to adapt to that situation, which is phenomenal.

Brian: Now that they we we had the balance sheet to support it, the management team to support it and they had the vision and we went off did our job.

Aaron: Amazing and just to pivot to the next question. How is the Speed in the change of technology affecting the industry? You mentioned previously about, what about 40 years ago? Been manual and now it’s just digital. What’s that experience like?

Brian: Well, I’m going to start out with the with the story that doesn’t really apply and then kind of come back around to your your question. But I remember as a young teenager sitting with my grandmother one day and she told me about the first time she saw a car and and and the reaction of all the horses and the people and of of this. Thing, making noise. Driving down the road. And then I stopped to think in her lifetime we fought 2 world wars. Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic. Nuclear technology was was invented. Man walked on the moon and digital technology was in its infancy. At that point, I believe the head of IBM predicted there’d be no more than five computers in the world at that point and and. And now the rate of change in the banking industry and technology is phenomenally fast. I mean, it’s almost impossible to keep up with from the way that primary core processing systems are developed and rolled out, be it digital, open banking formats that have open APIs taking all kinds of integration to be able to make loans on your telephone to be able to make deposits on your telephone, make payments in real time. The the technology that you could do from a telephone and the banking industry.

And I guess just affect your day-to-day life without ever having to drive down the bank and down the road to the bank branch and and and talk to a banker to get your job done. You can do it all there in the palm of your hand and the technology, just like everything else in our society and the banking industry is just developing very, very quickly. We as an Industry are huge consumer of technology, we have to, we have to look at it all the time. We have to change it all the time and that’s what customers want all the time. So it it, it never stops and it never will stop.

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Aaron: There seems to be an application for everything nowadays, so it only makes sense that banking apps are around and to have, as you said, to be able to make a payment on your mobile phone in a matter of seconds or as you’d go down to a bank and you could be in line for ages. It just saves time really when you think about it.

Brian: Yeah, I have a I have a daughter that lived in San Francisco and she’s about 30 years old, has a an account at a large bank. She’s not been into a bank branch in five years. She does everything on the phone, you know. That’s just her generation.

Aaron: Absolutely, that’s it. You can take the phone out and do it in under 5 minutes. It’s it’s probably the safest option for everyone usually.

Brian: Absolutely it is, yeah. No doubt.

Aaron: And just to pivot to the next question, you mentioned acquisitions and mergers, so I’d imagine there was a lot of contractual obligations to be met there. And why are contractual obligations that include compliance with the US banking laws so important to Centennial Bank?

Brian: Yeah, that that’s a very good question. When we were working with Cora on our contract, we got hung up on on that issue, particularly some number of years ago. There’s a lot of changes in banking regulation that were made that will will change the level of oversight by banking regulators based on your size, if you will. So as time has gone by, we become bigger. The oversight that we get from regulators and the requirements that we put things in particular. In particular, contracts is required. It’s not optional. It’s not like I can say, OK, if you want to go do this, then please do. When when I’m looking at a vendor here in the United States, it’s it’s commonplace. They understand that. And so with that increased regulation, increased oversight or increased contract terms and there’s numerous banking laws, from privacy laws to to any number of things that vendors have to have to comply with in order for us to do business with them. And it’s it’s, it’s critical or in in many cases we can’t do business with them. So Cora was very good to work with and got us going in the right direction with that. And once they understood our mission and I sent the documentation along and we we really weren’t making it up and and and and and trying to give you a hard time, we we we were really trying to comply with the laws of the banking industry.

Aaron: And those regulations are in place for a reason. So it’s always good to meet these standards and make sure everything. Perfect. And how has the COVID pandemic changed working practices in banking? Imagine it’s a lot different than than it was, pre COVID.

Brian: It is, and technology of course, has played a huge difference in the way the workplace runs in post covid world.

Back before Covid, our bank and many banks were not necessarily agreeable to people working from home. And once COVID hits my two departments particularly we had to evacuate our office because of our likelihood of spread of COVID. We all went home for over a year, but we were back back up working in two hours, and it never and we didn’t miss a deadline.

Didn’t miss the project, and that was pretty much the case throughout the bank. Our I. T. department had seen ahead, looked ahead and into the future and thinking it. Okay,  work from home may be a real thing, or we need to at least be ready for it. They had the infrastructure prepared for it.

We had the technology and the hardware ready to do it. And since COVID has now passed working from home is commonplace, which is a huge benefit to me. We can expand our hiring pool across the United States and not just focus on our local market for for for qualified, talented people so we can go out there and have people work from their homes regardless of where they are, as long as they’re not in the United States.

Aaron: It was great that it was such a seamless transition and having the technology in place really did amplify the speed that you could go from working in the office one day to just working from home the other. we had a very similar process here in Cora. We were in the office on the Friday, and then on Monday we were all remote.

It was very seamless transition and it was amazing and remote working really has opened up an opportunity to bring in talent from other areas where some companies previously may have just been limited to what was in the area, but now companies have that wider reach to in the talent pool, which was, which is fantastic.

Brian: So, Cora now has has people I know in North America and Europe, and I’m not sure where else, but it’s probably been a huge boost to you.

Aaron: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. And how can digital transformation help the modern bank?

Brian: I mentioned earlier all the different things that you can do from from your phone. And there’s many providers out there. There that are expanding on that with a digital 1st sort of approach to everything that they’re doing. And some of these folks are pretty leading edge in terms of where they’re going with access on your phone access from a tablet. Access from wherever you are and how it’s going to integrate into your core system, how it’s going to serve your customers, the kinds of transaction activity that they can do.

And then, as you start tracking the volumes of that activity, and you start seeing the trends and the transfer of how traditional transaction processing has been over the digital transaction mode. It becomes fairly impressive. The next rollout United States. May be common in Europe. I don’t know.But the Federal Reserve Bank, one of the primary banking regulators is rolling out a product now called Fed Now. And Fed Now is real time payments and in the U. S. What’s different about it is not only is it real time payment to a company or to an individual, but real time settlement into your Federal Reserve account.

So all of it takes place instantaneously and you’re not having to take separate steps to do that. We have very similar things in place already, not exactly like that, but it’s worth going is to be able to make instantaneous payments.

AI Narrator: Thanks for listening to the Project Management Paradise Links mentioned during the episode, including speaker profile details and other resources are available in the podcast description and on project management, where you can also download or stream all our episodes to date. 

Show Notes

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