Firmer Ground, an SRM Podcast

Welcome to the SRM Podcast, Firmer Ground, where we explore key topics and actionable takeaways for leaders in the financial services industry.  Every episode features experts from the world of banking and financial services, including SRM thought leaders, executives at future-thinking financial institutions, and other experts from all corners of the industry.

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Listen to the Latest Episode:

Episode #1: Sidecar Core Strategy 101

In this episode, we speak with SRM’s core expert, Jeff Ostheimer, to understand what he means when talking about sidecar core strategies and why this approach has become popular among banks and credit unions. Jeff will discuss how the emergence of fintech players, consolidation of core banking vendors, and more rapid digital transformation goals inside financial institutions have created the need for sidecar core investments and applications. This episode is a great starter for those interested in this topic, as Jeff provides valuable insights in his straightforward, casual style. Don’t miss this one!

Episode #2: ChatGPT and Large Language Model Use Cases for Financial Institutions

In this episode, our AI subject matter expert Connor Heaton discusses the topic everyone’s talking about – OpenAI’s ChatGPT and similar AI large language models. Following a surge of investment and interest in AI tech and startups, Connor explains why the financial services industry is taking notice and onboarding these tools for internal and external functions. He covers a variety of active use cases. Even if you’re new to the world of AI large language models, you’ll enjoy the information and depth Connor provides on this topic. Give it a listen!

Episode #3: The Tokenization of Everything

In this episode, Paul Davis speaks with SRM’s digital assets expert Larry Pruss about the digitization of money, how financial institutions and other industries continue to innovate on blockchain, and how the tokenization of everything is inevitable going forward. Our guest explains how real-world assets – including deposits, bonds, real estate, and securities – are becoming tokenized through a variety of blockchain applications. Whether you’re new to the world of blockchain or an expert looking for different perspective, this episode offers useful insights into the state of digital assets in May 2023.

Episode #4: Adopting a Security-First Mindset for Credit Unions

In this episode, we speak with Cynthia Schroeder of Sievewright & Associates, an SRM Company, about a topic she knows very well as both a credit union executive and a university professor. Cynthia shares her insights on the latest cybersecurity threats facing credit unions and how the adoption of a security first mindset is key to successful operations in a period of quickly evolving technology and the emergence of AI.  She breaks down the various types of sophisticated cyber attacks out there today, the concept of zero trust architecture, and a whole lot more. It’s a great episode for anyone looking to learn more about both the threats and the strategies that credit unions should be aware of!

Episode 5: Credit Union Trends, Milestones & Innovation Chat with Travis Frey

In this episode, we chat with our friend and client, Travis Frey, Chief Technology and Security Officer at Dover Federal Credit Union in Dover, Delaware. Mr. Frey has spent more than 20 years in the credit union industry and brings a unique perspective to innovation and IT strategy and execution. Topics discussed include Dover Federal Credit Union’s 65th anniversary, how they tackle tech and cybersecurity initiatives, where the future will lead the credit union, and the many challenges facing credit unions in general. Enjoy the conversation with Travis!

Episode 6: Balancing Risk & Innovation

In this episode, we chat with our colleague, Josh Herman. Josh is a Director in our Digital Assets Advisory team and works with our clients to prepare their institutions for the future of banking. He brings a unique perspective as a former NCUA examiner and credit union insider (having led strategy initiatives at Frankenmuth Credit Union in Michigan). We discuss several topics in this one, including the shifting role of credit unions and community banks, Josh’s experience weighing risk and reward scenarios in the context of innovation, the continued evolution of data analytics in banking, and much more. Enjoy this conversation with Josh!

Episode 7: Assessing the Maturity Scale in Today's Banking Environment

In this podcast, we speak with our colleague Simon Rose. Simon is SRM Europe’s Consulting Director based in Durham, England. He works directly with bank and credit union clients on matters of organizational design and technology strategy. Simon brings a unique understanding of the global financial services industry to the table. In this conversation, we speak to him about the challenges of scaling and maturing a financial institution in the United States and how the international banking community has faced and overcome similar challenges. We hope you enjoy this episode with our colleague Simon!

Episode 8: Responsibility, Growth & Innovation in the Credit Union Movement with NCUA’s Rodney E. Hood

In this podcast, we speak with the Honorable Rodney E. Hood, the 11th Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (from 2019 to 2021), NCUA board member, and now Board Chair of NeighborWorks America, a non-profit focused on affordable housing across American cities and rural communities. Rodney takes a break from his busy schedule to talk to us about several topics, including his unique background and career, his work related to affordable housing and DE&I, how regulators and credit unions work together today, some key fintech opportunities for credit unions, and his overall take on the ongoing digital transformation of the industry (including AI’s potential). It’s one of our most interesting episodes yet and we hope you enjoy the conversation with Rodney!

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