Mercator Blog

Observations from the 2015 ATM & Mobile Innovation Summit
Date: October 29, 2015
Ed O'Brien
Director, Banking Channels Advisory Service
After attending this year’s ATM & Mobile Innovation Summit held in Washington, DC, September 9–11, I came away with a greater appreciation of the many changes—some major, others incremental—in banking and payments today.

The theme of the conference was the future of payments. The opening keynote challenged financial institutions to think differently so they won’t be disintermediated in the not too distant future. A key point the presenter stressed is the need to think outside the box to create new ways to surprise and delight customers and prospects.

The audience was challenged to think about driving significant operational improvements—think 10 times the status quo and current performance—and not be content with incremental improvements. This often means looking outside of the banking industry for inspiration to see what interesting new business models and technologies are being used by visionary retailers and technology firms that are turning some industries upside-down.

I had the privilege of moderating a panel on omnichannel banking that included three talented industry veterans: Bernie McLaughlin, President and CEO of Point Breeze Credit Union; Patricia O’Donnell, SVP, Client Solutions/Enterprise Payments at Key Bank; and Gary Pearcy, SVP, Deposit Products Group at Wells Fargo. Bernie, Pat, and Gary shared with panel attendees their experiences and insight on what omnichannel banking means to their organizations (and why now), what customers and members want from their banks and credit unions, and how and where financial institutions start as they progress along on their individual journeys to omnichannel banking, … and more.

A wide variety of topics was covered at the summit, with most presenters focusing on the use of cutting-edge technologies in today’s ATM and mobile channels solutions. Noteworthy were presentations on the state of the industry in cryptocurrency (most notably Bitcoin) and Apple Pay. Tech demo labs included such innovations as palm vein biometric capabilities and cardless cash access (what some in the industry call ATM prestaging and mobile cash withdrawal). Also valuable were discussions of cash management trends and predictions as well as security and data breach trends.

All of these presentations and demos were both interesting and informative. I came away from the summit with a greater appreciation of the many changes occurring or about to occur in our industry. I also came away with the realization that players in the banking and payments industry all must have a heightened sense of urgency or they risk disintermediation in the not too distant future.