FIS: Prepare To Be Caught Off-Guard

“During a black swan event, consumer trust is tested to its maximum, and the providers that rise to the occasion will build a brand centered on doing what is best for the people who trust them,” according to Jim Johnson, head of financial institution payments and wealth at FIS. Learn how Johnson and the FIS crisis management team prepared for the unknowable in Black Swan from PYMNTS.

The following is an excerpt from Black Swan, contributed by FIS Head of Financial Institution Payments and Wealth Jim Johnson.

The current coronavirus saga will echo through history as a prime example of the importance of preparedness by financial institutions (FIs) when it comes to black swan events. But how can an organization fully prepare for an epidemic such as this? Well, the honest answer is that it cannot. It is impossible to fully prepare for something of this magnitude, which has rocked the world’s economy and turned once-thriving cities into temporary ghost towns. However, an organization can still prepare itself to mitigate the impact of the potential disaster by having dedicated teams and services in place to see it through the tough times.

COVID-19 is not the first of these black swan events that we have seen in our lifetime – and unfortunately, it likely will not be the last. That is why it is crucial to learn from what has already happened and to have a strategic plan in place to fight against the event. By arming themselves with the right technologies and developing a focused, transparent plan, FIs can stand a chance against these inevitable crises.

Focus on Customers Through Technology

Regardless of the situation, financial institutions need to assure their customers that their money is safe and that they can still use it how they want. That means FIs, as well as their technology providers, need to work tirelessly to keep their systems and solutions at 100 percent in order to provide their customers with certainty during uncertain times. The same omnichannel solutions that FIs provide to customers need to be available without a single hitch in the process. During a black swan event, consumer trust is tested to its maximum, and the providers that rise to the occasion will build a brand centered on doing what is best for the people who trust them.

Preparation Is 9/10 of the Law

There’s an old saying that “possession is 9/10 of the law.” However, when talking with my own leadership team and addressing my organization as a whole, I like to adjust the saying to “preparation is 9/10 of the law.” When I say this, I am reminding employees that if they are properly prepared for an event, meeting or project, they drastically reduce the potential for things to go wrong.

I mentioned earlier that there really isn’t a way to be 100 percent prepared for a black swan event, and that is true. However, having a plan and a dedicated team to tackle these situations head-on will help lower the negative impact that your organization may experience. For example, establishing a crisis management team before a crisis even occurs — as well as having a business continuity strategy — will help all aspects of your business. By being fully transparent about this plan with employees, customers and business partners, organizations can potentially limit what can go wrong to just that last 1/10.

Read more insights and tips in Black Swan from PYMNTS.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.