The Conference Journey: Why We Started FinDEVr (and Finovate)

By Jim Bruene on September 17, 2014 4:56 PM | Comments

image I just stopped by the Green Lake (Seattle) coffee shop where Eric Mattson and I first hatched the plans for Finovate seven years ago. At that time, we were so focused on selling enough tickets to pay the Midtown Manhattan-sized bills, we had few thoughts on the long-term plan. 

Fast forward seven years.

A week from today we'll be in NYC for the eighth time hosting the largest Finovate ever, closing in on the 1,500 mark for the first time (much appreciated everyone!!!). Thanks to a surging local fintech community, the NYC event is even outselling the San Francisco area one for the first time since 2011.

Why did we create Finovate?

While I'd like to say we were hoping to bring the fintech community together to foster innovation (which I think has happened), but it wasn't quite that ambitious at the start. I'd always been a conference fanboy, going to 4 or 5 per year to speak and/or cover in our publications. But in 2007, one of my favorites cancelled. Looking to fill that void, we created the event that I would most want to attend.

One day. One track. Rapid fire. New products. In NYC. And the ability to speak directly to the speakers afterwards. And thankfully, others shared the affinity for that format.

imageSo, why did we start FinDEVr?

There is so much emphasis on strategy and the big picture these days, that the tools and technical underpinnings to get from here to there can be lost in the noise (case in point, the 1,121 articles on Apple Pay last week). And as the programmable web (APIs, SDKs, etc) weaves its way into financial services, it's harder than ever to keep up.

So, we created the event that I would have wanted to go to back when I was an engineer. One that focuses on how to BUILD the new services that eventually show up on the Finovate stage and in bank/CU/financial apps.

Whether FinDEVr attracts the fintech developer community in the same way Finovate has struck a chord with fintech execs remains to be seen. We already have 50% more attendees signed up for FinDEVr (Sep 30/Oct 1) than we had at the first Finovate, so it's off to a promising start (see details below).

Check back with me in 7 years and I'll let you know if it was the right move. 

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You can still be part of the inaugural FinDEVr in San Francisco's Mission Bay area. Event registration is open for a few more days. And if you'd like to bring your whole team, please email (sanfran@findevr.com) and we can work something out. 

There is no where else where you can meet the dev folk at Yodlee Interactive, TD Ameritrade, MasterCard, Visa, PayPal/Braintree, Forte, Intuit, and Google. Plus Avoka, EVO Payments, Eshtapay, Financial Apps, InComm, Xignite, Xero and 40 others all in the same place and in just two days (see full list here).

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Categories: Finovate

FinovateFall 2014 -- Less than 50 tickets left! Don't miss out!

By Eric Mattson on September 16, 2014 7:28 PM | Comments

btn3_ov.pngFinovateFall 2014 is next week and it's official that the event will be the largest Finovate to date! Over 1,300 tickets have already been sold and we have less than 50 remaining!

If you're interested in attending to see the future of fintech debut live on stage via our fast-paced demo-only format, please get your ticket as soon as possible to lock in your seat.

As usual, the auditorium is going to be packed a potent blend of innovative bank execs, fintech entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, press, and industry analysts. In case you're curious, below is a small sample of the great organizations already committed to attend:

  • Accenture
  • Adobe
  • American Express
  • Ameriprise
  • Bain Capital
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Barclays
  • BBVA Compass
  • BlackRock
  • C1 Bank
  • Capital One
  • CIBC
  • Citi
  • Citi Ventures
  • CFPB
  • DBS Bank
  • Deliotte Consulting
  • Discover
  • Equifax
  • Everbank
  • Experian
  • Fidelity
  • FIS Global
  • Forbes
  • Fortune
  • FTV Capital
  • Gartner
  • Goldman Sachs
  • IBM
  • Intuit
  • Jack Henry
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • KPMG
  • Liberty Mutual
  • MassMutual
  • MasterCard
  • MACU
  • New York Life
  • Nordea
  • Oliver Wyman
  • Paypal
  • Polaris Partners
  • Primerica
  • PwC
  • QED Investors
  • RBC
  • Regions Bank
  • Rockland Trust
  • Route 66 Ventures
  • S&P Capital IQ
  • Santander
  • SAP
  • Saxo Bank
  • Sberbank VC
  • Scottrade
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • SixThirty
  • Societe Generale
  • Sony
  • Swedbank
  • Tangerine Bank
  • TD Ameritrade
  • The Huffington Post
  • The Principal
  • Umpqua Bank
  • USAA
  • Venrock
  • Visa
  • Wells Fargo
  • World Bank
  • Xignite
  • Yankee Group
  • Zions Bank

We'll see you in New York in September (or in San Francisco for FinDEVr)!

FinovateFall 2014 is sponsored by: The Bancorp, CapitalSource, Financial Technology Partners, Greater St. Louis Financial Forum, Hudson Cook LLP, Life.SREDA, UK Trade & Investment, Visa, Xignite & Zions Direct

FinovateFall 2014 is partners with: Aite, ABA, Bank Innovators Council, BankersHub, Bobsguide, California Bankers Association, Canada, Celent, Filene Research Institute, Hotwire PR, Javelin Strategy, Mercator, NYPAY, Payment Week, The Paypers, SME Finance Forum, & Visible Banking

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Categories:

Why (Most) Banks Need Not Worry About Apple Pay (Yet)

By Jim Bruene on September 15, 2014 5:04 PM | Comments

image I'll admit to being caught up in the hype. The 48 hours after Tim Cook revealed Apple's long-rumored foray into payments were some of the most exciting times in fintech since the 1995 to 1997 period when most of the online "firsts" happened (see note 1).

And we're seeing more thoughtful fintech posts in the past week than we used to see in an entire year. Thanks especially to Tom Noyes, Cherian Abraham, Brian Roemmele, Celent's Zilvinas Bareisis and finally today from Gonzo's Steve Williams for helping me see beyond the hype.

I can add little that hasn't already been said to the discussion about NFC, payment ecosystems, or the future of mobile payments. Clearly, it marks a turning point for mobile payments and improved U.S. security, and the play-out will be fun to watch.

The one area I haven't seen covered: What does all this mean for the 10,000 U.S. banks and credit unions not on the 11-name list at launch (note 2)?

So here's my take on the impact of Apple Pay on small- and medium-sized FIs over various time horizons: 

In the short term (2014): ZERO

In the medium term (2015-2016): ZERO

In the long run (2017+): Something, but impossible to quantify at this point
                                     (it could even be net positive)

Here's why bank/CU execs (outside the top-20 credit-card issuers) should not lose sleep over what Apple is doing:

1. Apple Pay (in the physical world) can only be used at contactless terminals
Supposedly, there are 220,000 contactless terminals in the United States. But if you've ever tried to use one, you know that 200,000 of them are either not working or are buried behind beef jerky on the counter. This will change rapidly as merchants upgrade during the next few years.

2. It's complicated to use (at first)
First, you need an iPhone 6, then you need to figure out how to use Apple's Passbook program, log in to iTunes or take a picture of your card, successfully authorize it, enable TouchID and so on. Millions of early adopters will figure all that out, but then they won't be able to find a working contactless terminal (see #1) and then they'll forget all about it.

3. The number of your customers that care enough to move deposit accounts for NFC payments is near zero (for now)
Let's do the math. Assume that a year from now there are 5 million Apple Pay active users (making at least one transaction per week) or 2.5% of U.S adults. If you have 20,000 customers, that means 500 will be active users of Apple Pay. Most will be happy to use their existing Capital One, Citi, and other rewards credit cards for the transactions. Very few will care that your debit card doesn't work on the system. Let's say it's around 25%. That means you have something like 125 customers who are disappointed with your mobile payment capabilities. If they like you otherwise, how many will move their checking account to get an Apple Pay-enabled version? While the number is probably zero, let's say it's 5% to 10%. That means you could lose 6 to 12 customers. Using the 80/20 rule, only one or two of them are profitable. Will it hurt to lose two profitable customers? Sure, but it's not going to be on your top-10 or top-25 list of worries.   

4. There are ways to mitigate any lost wallet share to Apple-Pay issuers
Even if my math in #3 is way off, or you are concerned that you will take a material hit to the bottom line, or you just want to be part of Apple Pay, easy routes will undoubtably be built to get your cards enabled into Apple Pay. Maybe not in 2014 (or even 2015), but certainly within the next couple years. And even if I'm wrong and you are locked out of the iPhone indefinitely, you can create an Apple Pay poaching program where your customers make their charges on a bigco bank card, then you automatically pay those charges off and essentially transfer them to your customer's checking account.

So my final advice. If you have an employer (or spouse) that's been reluctant to fund your iThings, now is the perfect time to do an upgrade (just don't show them this post).

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Chase homepage shown to existing customers (15 Sep 2014)
Note: All three links on bottom of page go to the iPhone6 "Apple Pay" features page at Apple.com which leads with Chase (link)

image 

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Notes:
1. Or perhaps 1999 when Paypal/X.com made P2P payments happen or even 2005/2006 when Zopa/Prosper/LendingClub launched consumer credit exchanges.
2. See Apple Pay launch event clip here, complete with transcript.

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FinDEVr 2014 Last Chance for Early-Bird Tickets!

By Eric Mattson on September 11, 2014 2:58 PM | Comments
FinDEVr Logo

FinDEVr San Francisco 2014 -- our first event focused on fintech developers -- is less than three weeks away and we are getting very excited! 

After months of anticipation, we've announced the full presenter roster and action-packed two-day agenda. The show is going to be an incredible showcase of the tools, platforms and APIs that are being used to build the next generation of fintech innovation.

Tickets are selling quickly ahead of the early-bird ticket deadline this Friday (register now to save) and we're expecting a crowd of 400-500 innovators. 

In case you're curious, here is a small sample of the organizations that are attending:

  • American Express
  • Ameriprise Financial
  • Avoka
  • Backbase
  • BancVue
  • BehavioSec
  • BlackRock
  • Bloomberg
  • Bluefin
  • C-SAM
  • Capital One
  • Cardflight
  • CIBC
  • Cloud Lending
  • Crosslink Capital
  • Devonshire Investors
  • Diebold
  • Eshtapay
  • E*TRADE
  • EVO Snap
  • Exchange Bank
  • Experian
  • Filene
  • Financial Apps
  • Finicity
  • First Republic Bank
  • Fiserv
  • Forte Payment Systems
  • Franklin Templeton
  • GoDaddy
  • Google
  • GTE Financial
  • Incomm
  • Intuit
  • Javelin Strategy
  • LexisNexis
  • Life.SREDA
  • MACU
  • MasterCard
  • Mergermarket
  • Mifos Initiative
  • Modo
  • OnDeck
  • Paradigm4
  • PayNearMe
  • PayPal
  • PSCU
  • SF Fire CU
  • StockTwits
  • Target
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Tradier
  • USAA
  • UW Credit Union
  • VentureBeat
  • Visa
  • Wells Fargo
  • Western Union
  • Worldpay
  • Xero
  • Xignite
  • Yodlee
  • And many more!

If you and/or your technical colleagues are interested in attending to learn about the latest innovations for fintech builders, tickets are on sale at the early-bird discount of $100 off through Friday, September 12.

We'll see you there!

FinDEVr San Francisco 2014's VC sponsor is: Life.SREDA

FinDEVr San Francisco 2014 is partners with: BankersHub, BayPay Forum, California Bankers Association, fin-tech.org, Hotwire, Mercator, PaymentWeek & The Paypers

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Launching: Self Lender Helps Build Credit with Digital "Credit-Builder" Loans

By Jim Bruene on September 9, 2014 4:55 PM | Comments

image Ever since the financial debacle of 2008, it's been harder for consumers to establish their first credit account. Therefore, with no credit history or score, it becomes even harder to get credit. That's created a Catch-22 around new credit that Denver-based startup Self Lender looks to address. The company launched today at TechCrunch Disrupt (see full presentation here, at bottom of post).

Self Lender has a fairly straightforward value proposition.

  • Agree to transfer a certain amount of money to yourself for a set period of time via the Self Lender platform.
  • Self Lender reports the payments to credit bureaus as a secured loan.
  • At the end of the contract period, between 3 and 12 months, the user gets their money back (without interest) or can use the funds as a down payment on a vehicle or other item with the balance financed by Self Lender lending partners (see screenshot below).

The funds are held in an FDIC-insured account. Users can make their monthly transfers via ACH, debit card, paper check/money orders, or via cash through PayNearMe's network. The startup also will accept bitcoin payments, an interesting side note that wasn't mentioned during their demo.

Self Lender will make a few dollars on interest and lead-gen commissions, but its primary business model revolves around charging $3 per month for the service.

Thoughts: Many banks and credit unions offer products with similar benefits. According to CUNA (note 1), 15% of U.S. credit unions offer "credit builder loans." Banks and credit unions also offer CD/saving secured loans. But those deposit-secured loans generally require a good sum of cash to get started. For example, Wells Fargo has a $3,000 minimum deposit and $75 origination fee. Self Lender lets you get started with just $25.

So, the concept is good. But I think it will be difficult for the company to get consumers to entrust them directly, so distribution through FI or PFM partners is crucial. To that end, during the Q&A session, Self Lender said it was hoping to ink deals with one or more major banks in the near future. 

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Self Lender demonstrates how the money saved in the platform can be used as down payment (9 Sep 2014)

image

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Note:
1. Source: NY Times, 6 Feb 2012. http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/credit-builder-loans-can-help-burnish-your-credit-score/

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