Real Time Payments for SMBs with Nicole Lorch of The First Internet Bank
Real time payments are dramatically changing the ways small businesses pay and get paid as we speak. Joining us today is Nicole Lorch, President of The First Internet Bank, who talks to us about real time payments for small to medium sized businesses. She also discusses the start of FedNow. Don’t miss this episode to learn why your business and its bottom line could be improved by incorporating real time payments.
Payments & Fintech Insights In This Episode
- The obstacles solved by online banking
- Real Time Payments for small business owners
- The Launch of FedNow
- Should big companies consider in-house financial services rather than joining other companies?
- The trends Nicole anticipates for 2023
- And so much more!
Nicole Lorch : The First Internet Bank
Founded in 1999, The First Internet Bank was the first state chartered, FDIC-insured institution to operate entirely online, but they didn’t stop there. At First Internet Bank they believe in the power of personal connections. And personal connections are built on trust and understanding. That means they take the time to get to know you and provide the right solutions for your every need – from savings and checking accounts, to investments, loans and more.
Featured on the Show
PayPod is the leading voice in the payments and fintech industry, covering payments, risk management and new technology. Host Jacob Hollabaugh interviews leaders who are shaping the payments and fintech world, as they discuss the latest developments in the payments and fintech industry.
Jacob: Welcome to PayPod, the Payments Industry podcast. Each week, we’ll bring you in-depth conversations with leaders who are shaping the payments and fintech world from payment processing to risk management and from new technology to entirely new payment types. If you want to know what’s happening in the world of fintech and payments, you’re in the right place. Hello, everyone. Welcome to PayPod. I’m your host, Jacob Hollabaugh. And today on the show, we are diving into the world of banking, how it has evolved in the digital age, some recent events in the industry and where things could be headed. Joining me to explore these topics is Nicole Lorch, president and COO at First Internet Bank. Nicole, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.
Nicole: Well, thank you for having me. It’s a real treat.
Jacob: It’s definitely a treat for us. The pleasure is all ours because with the world of banking and specifically this podcast is, you know, covers the whole world of payments, finance industry in whole. And we don’t always get the chance to cover the entire scope of the last 20 to 25 years. But with your position and your company, it’s very fun to start at kind of the beginning of First Internet Bank, which as the name implies, you were once certainly the disruptor of the industry, which now today are more the norm as the industry has followed your lead and getting online, getting more and more digital by the year. Who were some of the early adopters in the industry that saw what first Internet Bank saw that first half decade or so? If you could take us back, having been with the company since its inception, were there specific industries, merchant types, card networks, etcetera? Who else saw what you saw and were some of those early partnerships to help you guys accelerate this digitization of the industry?
Nicole: Well, that’s a good question and thanks for taking me back down memory lane. In the early days, many expected our core customer would be a college kid with $20 in a checking account. And what actually happened is we attracted a diverse range of more professionals, upscale, affluent, who were traveling for a living and didn’t necessarily want to bank with a bank that only existed in one place. So by banking with us, their bank account could travel with them. They could have full access to their accounts at any time, which is, you know, when you’re living the road warrior life is super helpful. So we were attracting customers with $20,000 in a money market and not quite the $20 checking account that they expected.
Jacob: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. And geographically, this comes from a small town kid who grew up in the age of this and saw like in my little town, there wasn’t a lot of banking options. It was like, you’re either going to go to the one branch, the one company that’s in town, or like my parents drove 30 minutes over to the next town because it was where there was a bigger name bank that had more locations. My dad traveled for work, so he’s like, Then I can go there. So I wondered, was there also any sort of rule versus city like you guys had more success or the industry saw more success in areas that had less access to physical versus maybe in the heart of your cities where someone might still have had plenty of access to any and all bank branches they wanted.
Nicole: Our customers have traditionally come from metro areas, all 50 states. We had a customer in every single state within 90 days of opening, which was more than we anticipated. I think that was maybe in our five year business plan. So to hit that early was very exciting. But they did tend to come from metro areas, urban as well as suburban. And we’ve always done well in Florida. We’ve done well in California, Chicago, in the early days it was this was 1999. The Internet wasn’t quite as ubiquitous as it is now. I think we were still renting VHS tapes from Blockbuster Video and we were getting paper airplane tickets. So it was a different time in terms of our acceptance of online culture. And so our customers tended to be fairly savvy with respect to what they were willing to do online. I remember when I made my first Amazon purchase and my mother said, You gave your credit card to the Internet. And I said, Well, I’ve given my career to the Internet, so I think it’s all right to give my credit card to them too. But we found that adopters online tended to come from areas around cities, not necessarily in the heart of the city, and reaching some of the rural markets has been more of a challenge just in terms of the media that they are consuming and how they got to hear about us. And we’ve also found that banks in more rural areas, to your point, tend to be more insular. They are able to protect their customer base because the customers may not be aware that there are other options out there.
Jacob: Certainly. And having been that disruptor, that it is now the norm as more and more competitors over the years began to look and operate a lot more like FIB does, how is the focus of the company shifted? Has there been major shifts in the product offerings or the idea behind the company? Everything having been so different and then, you know, a decade in two decades in, you’re now very similar to everyone else. They start to look like you. How does that shift the focus and the mindset of the company? In our early.
Nicole: Days, we started pretty simplistically. Now that I look back on it, we had a full offering for consumers with checking savings CDs. Credit cards. We also offer personal loans. But those customers with $20,000 in their money market savings did not necessarily need an auto loan from us. So we found that we had to diversify our offering in order to have asset liability management. So over time, we’ve become more complex, more sophisticated as an organization, and we have several lines of business that many customers may not have heard of, like single tenant lease finance. We have a public finance group that works with municipalities in 22 states. We have a a commercial real estate group that does development and construction projects. So we have some lines of business that many consumers may not have heard about. But what we’re very excited about is in the last four years, we’ve been able to add a small business component because that is a customer that has traditionally just been underserved by the larger banks. They’re not a consumer, they’re not a mid-sized corporation. And so it kind of became this no man’s or no person’s land of service. And so with our experience as an entrepreneurial organization founded by a small business owner, we really understood what the small business owner was looking for. And we’ve been able to grow our set of digital services deposits as well as loans.
Jacob: Yeah, absolutely. And I want to dive into a couple of the specific product offerings here. And again, there is a wide array of them, so we’re certainly not going to touch on anywhere near all of them. But on the small business owner front, what would be the most important products that you offer to that small business owner? And is that area where you see the most potential growth or the most potential area to add in and serve a customer base that is traditionally not been being served as much as others?
Nicole: We do see tremendous opportunity in small business. Small business is our nation’s backbone. I mean, it makes up more than half of the economy. So being able to help the small business owner with the services that they need. So whether that’s lending or deposit services, we offer a checking account that doesn’t charge them a monthly fee. And most banks will nickel and dime customers on those those type of accounts, especially what are considered many large banks to be small dollar accounts. When you’re a small business owner, that’s everything to you. So we understand that. And there’s really no such thing as a small business. It’s your business. We’re able to offer a small business credit card to those customers who have a loan with us as a way of giving them a bit more liquidity and access to be able to just purchase supplies or inventory for their business. And we have the ability to for our customer to see all of their account relationships in a single screen. So if the small business owner also banks with us personally, they can see all of that in one glance. And to a business owner there’s no such thing as 9 to 5 and kind of catch as catch can. So to get all of that information in a single login and get a pretty good idea of your financial picture in one graph, that’s powerful.
Jacob: I love hearing all of that as a small business owner myself and all of that sounds great and definitely makes me think that you’re someone who has me and others like me in mind, especially the beginning of that with the nickel and diming part. It does. It is one of those things where it really is just a perspective shift that I literally witnessed firsthand a few months back. I have a small business, my wife has a business I would not call small at this point by any means. And we were in the bank together switching banking services and we’re offered similar products into her. Some of the small fees and things that came with it were, you know, they didn’t they were irrelevant. They were very marginal. And I was sitting right next to her like, I think I’m going to need something slightly different or someone slightly different, because those do impact a business of my scale and size. So I love hearing that. That’s at the forefront of the thought of trying to take care of those people. The next product I’m interested in is on the personal side. Then you’ve got your money market savings account that offers at least at last check on your site, 3.5-6% APY, which is substantially higher than the national average by a lot. And one of the best you can find on the market right now or that I’ve found on the market. What’s the thought process that goes into that offering and how are you able to offer such a premier rate?
Nicole: Our rates go back to the very first value proposition we had, which is we don’t have a lot of overhead costs in terms of branch infrastructure. We have this single location here in the outskirts of Indianapolis, Indiana, and this is where the majority of our employees come to work each day. So by not having that branch footprint that we have to keep going in order to serve our customers, we’re able to pass those costs along to our customers in the form of favorable rates and fees. We may not always be the highest rate, but we will definitely be competitive. So that rate that you quoted on the money market that is current and I feel like I should do my disclosure voice, but that’s current as of today, March 29th and subject to change at any time. But as most people know, rates are going up. So we offer an even higher tier on the money market rate for consumers who have $1 million or more. And given that it’s been an interesting month in the banking industry, we also have the opportunity for our customers who are more concerned about FDIC insurance coverage but really want to keep as much money in one location as they can. We have the opportunity for them to enter into a network of over 3000 banks where their deposit is parceled up so that the entirety of it becomes FDIC insured. And they’re still getting a great rate while also getting peace of mind.
Jacob: Absolutely. And we’re going to come back to those recent events and some of the different ways that you offer to help with that insurance and a little more of the stability. And just one second. But before we go to that range, I want to hit one other product related question or specific product related question, which correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe I saw on your site that you’re winding down the mortgage operation. Can you speak at all maybe to the decision process behind that, but more in general, the decision making process of deciding what product verticals to move into or out of what some of those trigger points might be for when you decide this is a new area, we want to go down, a new vertical. We want to explore. Or then like with this one, you know, we tried it and maybe we’re going to move away from that.
Nicole: Absolutely. Mortgage is a phenomenal business and there is probably nothing more gratifying for me as a banker than to see a first time homeowner be able to get into a home where they’re going to start to live their lives and maybe grow a family. That is really wonderful stuff. But at the same time, the mortgage business itself is extremely volatile and the last couple of years have created this perfect storm in the mortgage industry where home prices are up because a lot of people left urban centers to get out to the suburbs. They didn’t want to be cooped up in a two bedroom apartment in the center of the city anymore. They wanted a little bit of grass so that they could stretch their legs and have a little less togetherness, as I call it. So what we saw is that home prices continued to grow even here in Indianapolis, where it’s a subdued market generally. But we’re seeing an increase in prices here as well. We were lending in all 50 states. So you see the prices going up, inventories going down because people, if they have a home, not inclined to sell it, if they can stay in it and then we’ve also seen that mortgage rates have been going up pretty dramatically over the last year. So what’s happening is just this crisis in affordability.
Nicole: People who are Generation X and the baby boomers have decided that, okay, this house I’m in now, this is where I’m going to stay. Think about there was 70% of respondents to a survey who were either Xers or baby boomers said not inclined to move again. And so we see down the line this inventory problem is not going to get better. Homebuilders have not been building since the financial crisis over a decade ago, so there’s just not enough supply on the market. The ten year treasury, which is what mortgage rates tend to follow, has been very volatile. But we just don’t see overall a good horizon for mortgage rates and affordability. And also couple that with the fact that a lot of people who had an opportunity in 2020, 21 have already refinanced their homes. I think two thirds of all mortgage holders have a rate that is less than 4%. And so it’s going to be a long time before they see a rate like that again. So there’s just not going to be a lot of refinance activity as well. So overall, we’re expecting there to be less demand for mortgage services and it seemed like that was a good time for us to put our resources to other projects.
Jacob: Makes perfect sense. Let’s pivot then to some of that recent news that we alluded to a few times here, which in the banking industry there’s been quite a bit to discuss in recent weeks and months. The biggest story, however, at least the big one, that set off a chain of events that were all news stories of their own was the bank run on SVB at a high level? Can you explain what exactly happened at SVB for the listeners who might not be as tuned in to exactly how things transpired?
Nicole: Oh, absolutely. It seemed with a name like Silicon Valley Bank, I think for a lot of people who don’t reside in California or aren’t in the tech industry, it might have seemed like something that really wasn’t. Going to affect them. So it is something that we followed fairly closely. What what happened? The underlying problems really at Silicon Valley Bank, where they had outsized growth, they went from about 40 billion in assets to over 200 billion in a very short amount of time. And in a regulated industry, that usually throws up a red flag because growth would call into question whether or not the bank is implementing controls and risk mitigants that are in proportion to the growth of the bank. So there was rapid growth. There was a lot of concentration in the tech industry. So Silicon Valley Bank was advertising that over half of all VC backed firms and their VCs were banking with Silicon Valley Bank. So it’s a very concentrated customer base of tech companies. And what has happened over the last year is as the cost of funds has gone up with with the Fed’s increase in interest rates, that makes money more expensive to investors. And so they’ve pulled back a little on investments in start up tech companies. So these tech companies are finding that they’re going to have to dip into some of their existing capital and they’re drawing down their deposits at Silicon Valley Bank. So in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2022, their deposits declined rather than increased at the same time while interest rates were increasing. What Silicon Valley Bank was doing, rather than lending that money out, they were putting a lot of that money into Treasuries.
Nicole: And as interest rates rose, those treasuries became worth less, which really wasn’t a problem if they didn’t have to sell the treasuries because you can hold those investments on your balance sheet at par value or at face value unless you have to sell them. And so as those deposits started to leave the bank, Silicon Valley Bank had to sell some of those investments and they took about a $2 billion loss on a sale of, I think, $20 billion in securities. So it was messaged in a way that created a panic and then the panic spread very quickly through Twitter and other social media platforms. So what we really saw was a good old fashioned run on the bank with a modern day twist because it was just fueled by social media. So on March 9th, that was a Thursday, Silicon Valley Bank had withdrawal requests equal to $42 billion, which in and of itself was breathtaking because as of 1231, I think they had deposits of about 175 billion. So that’s a big chunk of deposits to try to go out the door in one day. Well, now it’s coming out with these congressional hearings that there was $100 billion in deposit requests scheduled to go out Friday the 10th, and that’s when the regulators came in and closed the bank. So it was you know, they had some mismatch in their duration of the deposits versus the liabilities versus the assets. And then they also just had this social media fueled panic. And we’ve also given our customers, all of us banks have so many tools to make it easier to move money online that it just became very rapid and something that couldn’t be stopped.
Jacob: Yeah, a bank run was certainly a lot harder to have take place 30 years ago before all of this was online and even five years ago or ten years ago. But now it can happen quite quickly because no one has to leave where they’re at. When they see something on Twitter that makes them panic and think, Do I need to move my money? Do I need to get my money now, it sounds and that was a wonderful explanation. And one thing I will say on the pro social media side is that this is the first big financial crisis, if we want to put it to that level that I feel like has the information has been disseminated to a decent degree for the layman to understand or the my mom or dad to understand and see a headline, but actually then readily find someone who can do what you just did and kind of lay out in terms anyone could follow of what exactly happened. So I will give credit to that. That was nice to see that we’re maybe finding ways to be a little more financially literate or spread that literacy in a more digestible manner. But it does seem like a lot of it was just a pretty wild confluence of events all at the same time, the biggest one being the dramatic increase in the Fed rates that caused those Treasury notes they were taking to cost to be worth so much less, and then they not able to hold them to the end. Therefore, it is a problem where traditionally it wouldn’t necessarily be a problem. Do you think SVP failed to do something that they could have done to prevent this? Is there anything others in the industry are looking and saying we need to make sure we’re not doing this thing they were doing? Or do you think it was just a kind of crazy circumstance, a crazy events that led to this happening with 1 or 2 banks, but it not being a big alarm bell for the industry as a whole.
Nicole: I would mostly be speculating, but we have learned through some of the hearings that have been on TV the last couple of days that the regulators made Silicon Valley Bank aware of some of the risks in their portfolio. As early as November of 2021. So they had over a year to act on it and did not. A lot of speculation or a lot of commentary is out there on how they messaged things and some decisions that were made internally. And as a banker, I’m loathe to criticize another banker because it’s a tougher job than a lot of people might think. And unfortunately, the decisions that they made just led to a panic. And almost 90% of their deposits at Silicon Valley Bank were uninsured. So they were over the FDIC insured limit of $250,000. And those are going to be your riskiest deposits in a panic situation because you want to be the first one out the door, or at least you want your money out the door before they run out of money. So that really fueled the panic, certainly.
Jacob: And a couple follow ups on that FDIC level. Were you surprised at all at the Fed’s response to guarantee deposits above and beyond that 250,000 FDIC level? And is it possible that them doing so creates perverse incentives going forwards for other banks to be a little more open with that kind of extreme risk tolerance?
Nicole: The decision to fully insure all of those depositors does create some problems in the event of the next bank failure, because at what point do we decide which bank is large enough to become systemically important? What categories of depositors are more important than other categories? And is a bank like ours that’s $4.5 billion in deposits. Where does that fall? Yeah, it could lead to bankers taking more risks than they ought to because they feel like there is that safety net. No banker wants their bank to fail. Absolutely not. But to know that their their depositors have that safety net might encourage more risks than we really want bankers to be taking.
Jacob: Yeah, and definitely when you set a precedent, it is then that question of, well, who does that precedent apply to and does it always apply in perpetuity, or was this a one time thing? And certainly, yeah, I think kind of splits down the middle of the biggest, largest banks out there might look at that and all the way back to the banking crisis a decade and a half ago of thinking of things like, well, we maybe always have that safety net versus players of your size being like, do we have that same safety net, do we not? And leading to a lot of questions and possibly some other actions. I know you’ve referenced a few times First Internet Bank participates in the intro fee deposit network to offer FDIC insurance protection on deposits above that 250,000. So to avoid that situation where if someone wants to deposit much more than that limit that we’re still able to get them the insurance on that and you on that, when did that participation start and how does that offering kind of work and how important is that in the wake of all of this? Is that kind of our risen even more in your eyes of like something that is very important for yourself and other banks to be offering?
Nicole: Well, we’ve been in in the intro VI network since before reciprocal deposits were really cool. I think it goes back to probably 2015 or so when we had a few larger depositors who expressed some interest in, you know, they’d be willing to consider alternatives in order to extend their FDIC insurance coverage. We also have a good base of customers and suddenly CDs are back in vogue. I mean, we’re competing with Treasuries. So it was an important product for us to remind the public that we had to offer through a network of, I think, 3000 different financial institutions who participate in it. The money is parceled out so that the customer’s entire balance becomes FDIC insured. We’ve had more conversations about FDIC insurance with customers in the last month, and I think we had him probably a decade combined. But it is a good time to remind customers and as time passes, we tend to forget it’s been two and a half years since there’s been a bank failure. So this was maybe a jolt that some people needed to take stock of where their deposits are.
Jacob: Absolutely. I like to at least hope for when things like this happen. Both the players in the industry, as well as their customer base, consumer base, look at it and take the lessons that need to be learned and make the appropriate adjustments for both sides of that equation. Let’s move from that recent news to a couple trends within the industry that I’d love to get your thoughts on. The first one is, among big tech companies, I think Apple has been kind of at the forefront of big tech companies who are dipping their toes in the water of offering their own financial services. Most recently, Apple has a partnership with Goldman Sachs to offer a high yield savings account that’s stored directly in a user’s Apple wallet on their mobile device. Do you see a future where big tech companies like an Apple or an Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, etcetera, the big, big time companies and players out there are in a place with the size and scope and the resources they have to pursue partnerships with banks and other financial services and instead are incentives. Devise to create their own in-house solutions.
Nicole: I think that some of the large tech companies are expert in beautifully designed user interfaces, and they have sufficient amount of data to really understand buying behaviors and purchasing power. So with those two factors, I think it’ll be natural for them to be curious about which parts of financial services they could enter. Amazon has loans and other services that they’ll offer to merchants on their platform. Google got into checking product and then subsequently got out of it. And so I think we will continue to see tech, big tech companies look for ways to extend their product or their services that they’re offering in ways that seem organic to the customer. But there’s always the question of do you want a checking account from Google? Or how does that work with your day to day life? So I think it’s an interesting space to watch and that’s why we’re very pleased to have gotten into what is in the banking industry referred to as banking as a service, which it’s such an odd title, but I’m not sure what else you would call it.
Jacob: Everything gets as a service at this point. It’s fine. It’s no longer odd. They all come with that tagline.
Nicole: Maybe how to be cool is to be as a service, right? So, hi, I’m Nicole. As a service, I’m talking about banking today. So I do think that with our banking as a service, we are working with financial technology firms, fintechs to extend their capabilities and they maybe can’t enter the Notch network because they’re not a financial institution. They don’t have a bank charter. They may want to offer FDIC insured deposits to their customers. If you think about Starbucks, for instance, not that they’re a partner of ours, but if they are listening and want to give us a call, we’d be happy to chat. But Starbucks has that wallet. And, you know, I mean, I may be keeping, what, 30 bucks in my Starbucks wallet so I can get through a week. But that’s money that’s come out of the banking system and is just sitting in my wallet. Now, I’m not terribly concerned if Starbucks were to go belly up and I would lose that $30. Not really worried about FDIC insurance on that amount of money. But you do see a lot of these things that are happening that really are kind of shadow banking without having that label on it. So there’s a great opportunity for us to offer some peace of mind and great industry experience to these financial services providers or technology providers that want to extend their services.
Jacob: Absolutely. One point you hit in there that I think could really be key because it is the more the fintech companies become, you know, they have to integrate, they have to link with yourself and the other banks. But it is just those biggest of players that have that wealth of resources, finances that would maybe even consider the option of we instead of partnering with all of these fintech companies who partner with these banks and lenders and everything else, we have the resources if we wanted to do it in-house. But whether they want to or not, it would come down to you mentioned the consumer perception of, Hey, it’s one thing that I have a wallet in my Starbucks app, but I do know that my bank account isn’t with Starbucks or my bank account isn’t with Amazon and that the consumers will play a part in We’re okay with this, We’re comfortable with this. We already give these companies so much as far as the data and business of our lives that that will be the final hurdle. Even if they wanted to consider that, they would have to make sure the consumer base is comfortable with. Sure, Amazon, you can have that too. You can do that yourself versus having these multiple layers of partnerships. Are there any other industry trends you’re keeping an eye on in the banking world for 2023 and beyond?
Nicole: It’s all about payments, isn’t it? I mean, just the ability to get money from A to B in the method that makes the most sense is the most convenient, the least expensive, the fastest. We’re excited about FedNow rolling out this year, which, you know, again, most consumers are going to say fed what? But it’ll be the opportunity instead of doing a wire transfer to do almost instantaneous payments between consumers or business to business or B to C and do that through a bank network in near real time. So we’re excited to be a part of the FedNow, pilot think that that speaks to our leadership in the industry and being able to introduce more and more services to help our customers move their money from A to B, they don’t really want to have to think about should this be a wire, should I send it? Ach, a lot of people when we have we’ve offered ACH since 1999 and I think we’ve had to explain very many times what ACH means, what it stands for. And so the easiest way is just to say, well, that’s the network where direct deposit goes through and people get that analogy, so they don’t want to have to think about which network to use for which type of payment. If I want to pay Jacob by Tuesday and I need to get him $350, figure it out for me, please, and get it there.
Jacob: Yeah. And have you worked with anything in the real time payments space before, or will being a part of this pilot program with the FedNow be the first time you’re moving into that world?
Nicole: Well, we are doing some work through the real time payments network and we are doing then this pilot with the FedNow application. So we’re very pleased to see that so much emphasis has been going into faster payments. The United States is a bit of a laggard in that space, which is hard to understand why such a developed nation has been so reluctant to embrace faster payments. But at the same time, there’s a fair amount of fraud that we have to consider and protect our customers from. So by being a part of two well known names, we know that we’re going to be able to give that that peace of mind to our customers, that we’re looking out for their best interest.
Jacob: Could you walk me through the differences between that real time payments network and what FedNow is going to offer or what the kind of change in scope is going to be with that?
Nicole: It just goes to what you were just saying a few minutes ago about the diversity of choice and how that will give consumers and business owners more opportunities. And ultimately that usually results in better pricing as well. So both of them are near real time networks. What it’ll come down to is the number of financial institutions that participate in each network, the number of merchants that participate in each network, and the costs to either the merchant or to the consumer to use them. So I think we’ll see some real competition between the networks for growing their customers. But again, more choice is generally better for the consumer, certainly.
Jacob: And I’m definitely, as a consumer who I’ve also been a bit miffed at, the more I’ve learned about how far we may be lag behind the rest of the world in that front. I think the speed of payments, the speed of money in general is a common frustration of any consumer. And then you realize like there are plenty of places that do it different and faster and arguably better if you hold those opinions that glad to see there’s some competition for us to catch up. Final thing I’d like to discuss with you anytime. I’m speaking with someone who’s been a leader in this industry for as long as you have with the level of success you and your company have had. I love to end on a little advice for other business leaders who may be listening to questions related to that or go company first individual second. What’s 1 or 2 key reasons or maybe characteristics that make a company successful in the world of banking payments finance at large?
Nicole: What I have seen in the banking space that keeps keeps companies successful is an intense focus on the customer. I’ve talked to some banks that, you know, we have 25 years of experience building online online services and online experiences. And I like to think that we have a little bit of digital DNA here, but we always approach new products with what would the customer want? And I’ve seen some other institutions build services online that they say, okay, let’s recreate the branch experience in a mobile phone. And you need to start with the question is that what the customer wants? Is that going to make their life easier? Because there are an awful lot. There are still a lot of choices out there in banking. And as we’ve seen, the barriers to exit are not too high. So begin with the customer in mind, have an intense understanding of your niche and what they’re looking for. And if you can build experiences that meet or even exceed those expectations, that’s you’re going to be part of the way there to success.
Jacob: Love that. And how about individually then, when it comes to navigating the industry, bringing value to the company you represent? What are a few key characteristics or personality traits that set up an individual for success within this world?
Nicole: In this world. I think that complacency is going to be the dinosaur. And so banking is a pretty traditional industry, but we have to continue to look for new ways to evolve our services because, like you and I talked about, would Google be the next threat? Would Amazon be the next threat? It’s no longer just the bank down the street that we’re competing with or the bank and the other side of the county. The competition is at our door. And so I think that intense curiosity and not being afraid to try something new fail fast, but, you know, be be adventurous and look for new ways to serve the customer while at the same time managing the risk of doing that.
Jacob: Love it. Well, Nicole, this has been a blast and very informative for those listening who might want to learn more about First Internet Bank or who might want to follow you in your journey, where would be the best place for them to go to do so?
Nicole: Well, I would love for them to come to FirstIB.com, and I would love for you to come to Firstib.com and check out our Do more business checking account as well as our personal offerings. But you can also find us on Twitter. You can find us on Instagram. You can find us on Facebook. You probably won’t see me out there posting an awful lot, but also on LinkedIn, that’s a great way to connect with our teams.
Jacob: Wonderful. Well, of course, link to all of those in the show notes for listeners. And I can say yes, it was part of my research earlier, that savings account that I mentioned. But that research may have been passed along to the spouse in consideration. So certainly go check out those offerings, all the offerings for First Internet Bank has for you. Nicole, thanks so much for the time. It’s been an absolute blast. I hope to speak again sometime soon.
Nicole: Thank you. Have a great day.
Jacob: If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more, head on over to.com/podcast to subscribe on your podcast listening platform of choice. That’s s o a r p a y .com/podcast.