Fortimize Focus: Platform & Technology Solutions Driving Digital Transformation Recap

November 23, 2020


At the beginning of the year, some banks were about to begin large-scale digital initiatives. Still others were in the process of major transformations or starting to roadmap their evolution. Then COVID hit, and everything changed. As the PPP program rolled out, technology implementation plans slated for later down the road experienced big shifts in prioritization – some had to be executed immediately while others were set aside in order to cater to new demands.

Overnight, transformative technologies became not only essential but incredibly helpful in tackling the new challenges at hand.

During our second Fortimize Focus series webinar, our panelists shared how they managed such rapid changes to their digital transformation plans. We also discussed technology solutions that helped undertake those changes successfully, and how these leaders managed employee experience the whole time. Continue reading for a brief recap of the session and then view the recording.

New Products, Technology, and Customers

Online business and consumer banking was a significant part of many roadmaps for 2020. After COVID, banks were forced to speed up any plans and development of digital banking options for their customers. Some institutions rolled out new digital products and services like online chat functions, robust mobile capabilities, and new apps to help customers keep track of their finances. Diane Brown, CAO of Penn Community Bank, noted that apps and online banking options had extremely high rates of adoption. 

Annette Joyce, EVP of Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, and her team made a conscious decision to roll out MVPs of some of their most pressing technology implementations. This included Salesforce and nCino to help manage the influx of new activities brought about by the PPP program.

Our panelists also noticed that COVID ushered in new customers, in large numbers. Customers Bank recognized new fintech customers bringing in hundreds of thousands of PPP applications. Because of this, Alex Balagour, CIO of Customers Bank, and his team quickly developed a new offering, building accelerated products on Salesforce to support their new customers with APIs. 

Collaboration Internally and With Partners

Bob Diegel, COO of BankMobile, a mobile-first online bank, noted a very different issue. While branches of other banks closed, BankMobile immediately felt the impact of the forced shut down of their call center partners. Suddenly, the team had to find a safe way to implement work from home technologies for these third parties that supported the required security measures. 

Alex Balagour and Customers Bank found solutions with devices that expanded the corporate network into employees’ homes to provide better quality connectivity and reduce any downtime.

Digital transformation requires collaboration, particularly with such a swift change to virtual work. Our panelists already used multiple tools to encourage communication and collaborative work but discovered other successful solutions along the way. At Canandaigua Bank, Salesforce’s case management allowed teams to work between lines of business virtually and keep things from falling through the cracks. Chatter kept teams up to date and talking to each other, and DocuSign and nCino helped with processing loan forgiveness.

Supporting Employee Experience

Customers and technology were not the only things that realized significant changes this year. Bank leaders had to think about process as much as tools, and how to help their employees navigate sudden changes. Our panelists shared how important it was to keep the employee experience in mind. They discussed the significance of change management best practices, regular communication between leadership and staff, and supporting staff wellness as key themes this year. 

Technology Helps You Solve Problems Creatively

Despite the many challenges banks have had to overcome this year, our panelists are excited about the opportunity to transform the banking experience for their customers. The platforms and technology available today allow for creativity in developing new efficient, scalable processes. Banks don’t have to be limited by core banking technology anymore. Instead, the acceleration of digital transformation has opened up new possibilities for banks to design modern experiences for customers and employees alike.

Fortimize Focus Series

Fortimize Focus is a learning series to support a community of peer banks and credit unions, with a goal to help this community build out their ever-changing digital transformation roadmaps. Along the way, we’ll share best practices and innovative ideas based on real experience to help each other succeed.

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Thought Leadership Paper

Digital Transformation in the Financial Services Industry During COVID by Jim Collins