Is Stand-Alone The Future Of Digital Banking?

Digital banking is do or die in the age of the digital consumer, but how banks get there is all but clear. Should banks go it alone with a stand-alone digital bank, or embed a very robust set of clicks into their traditional set of bricks? This month’s Digital Banking Tracker™ features an interview with Dan Dickinson, EQ Bank’s Head of Digital Banking, who tells us why Equitable Bank made the decision to spin out EQ as a digital-only bank. That, and updates from around the space, including the moving and shaking of 48 players (including 10 new entries) awaits.

As the world goes increasingly digital, banks are struggling to decide how they should package their digital service offerings. Should they fold digital banking services into their existing traditional brick-and-mortar accounts, or spin them off into stand-alone, digital-only entities? Those that do decide to build new brands will likely need to ensure their customer experience rivals, or even surpasses, the experience offered by more traditional institutions.

When in doubt, spin out

This month’s Digital Banking Tracker cover story features an interview with Dan Dickinson, EQ Bank’s VP of Digital Banking, about Equitable Bank’s new digital stand-alone bank. Why spin out? Dickinson said that dealing with a mobile consumer had to start with mobile first and then adapting the banking features and user experiences from there.

A peek inside the Tracker:

Dickinson and team first focused on other compelling mobile offerings – some from outside of the financial sphere, like Uber. “I know everyone uses them as an example, so it’s kind of boring at this point,” he acknowledged. “But there’s a reason and it’s because they got the design right, and they got the user experience right, and everything underneath is just riding on existing plumbing, but getting an experience much better by doing it.”

Taking Uber and translating what’s made it so successful and compelling and applying it to a digital-only bank experience was an exercise in looking through the consumer’s lens. The product itself, Dickinson said, isn’t something radically different. “It’s an online savings account, we’re not the first ones to do this, certainly. But I think we’re just trying to find a few things that fix the experience, like getting rid of the old construct of checking versus savings,” he said. “Why do I have those things? They don’t make any sense to a customer – they’re just bank constructs.”
The goal was to make tweaks to the familiar bank offering to create a rethought offering that makes “more sense,” he said, “To the point where somebody says, ‘Why wasn’t it always like this?’”

What’s a traditional bank to do?

A lot of experimentation.

In the last few weeks alone, players around the industry have rolled out a slew of new features and offerings, designed to improve their solutions and to stay ahead — or keep up, as the case may be — with consumer expectations.

Santander Bank, for example, recently debuted an AI voice assistant, designed with Nuance Communications, the Burlington, MA-based company behind the voice of Siri. Meanwhile, Capital One is also looking to bring convenience to mobile banking, as the company added voice-activated banking services this month, including bill payments, to Amazon’s Echo device. Efma and SAP have also recently partnered to release a new portal designed to help banks develop better online banking apps.

The April edition of the PYMNTS Digital Banking Tracker™, powered by Urban FT, features the latest news and analysis across the FinTech and consumer banking space, along with the profiles of 48 players — including 10 new provider profiles — who are helping digital-only banks and traditional players get the mix of mobile and digital and banking just right.


To download the April edition of the PYMNTS Digital Banking Tracker™, powered by Urban FT, click the button below.



The PYMNTS Digital Banking Tracker™ brings you the latest news, research and expert commentary from the FinTech and consumer banking space, along with profiles of dozens of companies in the industry.