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The Changing Landscape of Banking

By Zack Bishop, EVP & CIO, Renasant Bank


Zack Bishop, EVP & CIO, Renasant Bank

Banks and Financial Institutions must prepare for the unknown, especially as disrupters in this sector begin to dip into banking services. These “disrupters” come with more concern than our banking peers.

Classic branch banking to consumer and commercial clients is dropping at a rate of 10 percent per year, and digital channels are growing at a similar pace to the reduction of the traditional branch banking. ATM transactions are decreasing as well, but, at this point, the decrease is minimal.

As the CIO of one of the fastest growing banks in the Southeast, preparing to support our business units, as they reinvent themselves and their divisions, is at the forefront of our strategic thought process. Even if you’re not in banking, ask yourself this question, what will banking look like five years from today?

New Products and Services based on uncovered directional analytics have to take shape quickly, and cannot wait for the rest of the company (inclusive of technology) to adopt. Providing business leaders clean, accurate data to analyze has become one of the most important deliverables of technology.

Technologies involvement in the implementation of these deliverables is one of the most critical components, however, it should be transparent to the end users. If the appropriate environment (infrastructure and systems) is built, adjustments are less time consuming and technology departments can be more flexible in the execution of their requests.

Open Source Technologies, especially in the data and ETL space are opening up the doors to better understand the information we have and will need to make informed decisions.

Future Generations and Banking

We constantly discuss the Millennial Generation and what their impact will be on the banking sector, however, we rarely step back and look at what’s comes next. What will Generation Z look for in a bank?

Banking hasn’t changed much throughout history, which dates back thousands of years.

The first major noticeable difference occurred in the 1960s with the ATM machine, and then in the 1970s with the debit card, which provided an alternative to the 20 year-old credit card. In the mid-1990s, customers began to adopt online banking, and in 2008 intense regulatory pressure began to outweigh the allocation of efforts focused on innovation within the financial sector.

Easier access to technology and the busy lives of our clients disrupted the slow paced evolution of banking, and these clients began to demand an alternative to driving to the branch and waiting in the teller line. Not just to check a balance, but to handle all of their needs from a full-service device agnostic platform, rather it be their computer, tablet, mobile phone, watch or whatever innovative product releases next.

Of course, even though the branch traffic continues to decrease, we still have a very large percentage of our clients who visit the branch, and we have to support those needs as a priority and a parallel effort to our preparation for the future. Building a technology environment that is flexible and out of the box, which allows the organization to adjust and implement solutions quickly allows for continued success.

As a technology leader, I do not necessarily need to know what will come next, as long as, my environment (infrastructure, network, security, processes, and systems) is flexible and can allow for change in a timely manner.

Innovative Analytics

In order to move forward, decision making and in-depth understanding of the factors that lead up to a decision, are key, and will continue to be more important year-over-year. Powerful open source technologies, mixed with packaged solutions, allow for quick and accurate delivery of information, putting the biggest challenge, which is “what question do I ask” back on the business unit.

Apache Open Source products still seem to be the leader in this space, and the Hadoop ecosystem continues to expand and mature. Wrapping these products in a vendor delivered package, like Big Insights or Cloudera makes the most sense for large organizations.

These packaged solutions usually include the entire ecosystem of products, such as Pig, Hive, HBase, Spark, Zookeeper, Impala, Flume, Sqoop, Oozie, Storm, and many other awkwardly named solutions that work wonders for your enterprise data strategy.

These tools used appropriately, can help predict client needs and activity, as well as prevent fraud and provide better metrics for your company. Ultimately, at the end of the day, these tools give the client what they want, and not force fitting them into an outdated solution. However, do not let the hype fool you, the change from classic data warehousing to a flexible data solution is not quick and doesn’t come on the cheap.


No matter which industry you are in, your company is changing. At some point, every organization will begin to morph into a technology company that delivers products or services or both digitally. Technology teams must expand into divisions that support the enterprise with increased focus on the business and limited focus on preexisting policies and procedures. Sometimes, these preexisting policies and procedures limit organizations from taking advantage of quality open source solutions. But, as the organizational needs change, the process to get there must change as well.

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