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:

Season 1, 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!

Season 1, 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!

Season 1, 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.

Season 1, 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!

Season 1, 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!

Season 1, 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!

Season 1, 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!

Season 1, 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!

Season 1, Episode 9: Rethinking Customer Experience Tracking and Performance Metrics for FIs

In this podcast, we speak with our colleague from SRM Europe, Pete Bainbridge. Pete is one of our Senior Consultants based in the UK. He brings 2+ decades of experience in customer and business insights for financial services clients, having previously provided similar services at Grant Thornton UK. Pete has been the lead advocate and consultant for the SRM global customer loyalty tracking and insights offering called CLIX, which first debuted in 2021. In this conversation, we talk to Pete about the current state of customer experience in retail banking, the differences in attitudes between US and European banking customers, and how the SRM offering can help build a robust database of customer insights and analysis. Additionally, Pete debunks a few myths about typical KPIs related to customer experience/satisfaction and how financial institutions can set better performance standards based on their unique goals.

Season 1, Episode 10: The State of Community Banking with Gary Findley

In this podcast, we speak with one of the preeminent voices in California Banking, Gary Steven Findley. Born into a banking family and now with 50+ years of hands-on experience in the banking industry, Gary shares his insights with us on the current state of banking after a tumultuous 2023 and what he believes are the challenges and opportunities for the road ahead. Gary also breaks down his role with the California Community Banking Network and the organization’s mission. Join us for this in-depth discussion on the ever-evolving dynamics of community banking.

Season 1, Episode 11: Power Dynamics in the Financial Services Industry with Teresa Freeborn

In this podcast, we speak with author, keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and former Credit Union executive Teresa Freeborn about her background in financial services, the continuing challenges women leaders face in the workplace, and the motivation for her book Suits and Skirts: Game On! The Battle for Corporate Power. We also discuss Teresa’s new role on the SRM International Advisory Board. With equal parts tenacity and compassion, Teresa covers a lot of ground in this discussion with our host Neil Dougherty, SRM’s Managing Director of Global Marketing. Enjoy!

Season 2, Episode 1: The State of Fintech with Charles Potts of the ICBA

In this podcast, we discuss technology and innovation with a fintech veteran, Charles Potts with the Independent Community Bankers of America. In addition to serving as the ICBA’s Chief Innovation Officer, Charles oversees the association’s ThinkTECH accelerator program. The podcast reflects on the emergence of AI in financial services, discusses the importance of supporting early-stage fintechs, and covers innovation in the financial services industry in 2024.

Season 2, Episode 2: 2024 Commercial Payments Overview and Trends

In this episode, we speak with Dean Nolan, SRM’s Managing Director of Commercial Payments. Dean brings 25+ years of experience in payments and financial services to SRM, having held leadership positions in payments strategy, innovation, product management, and product sales at Fifth Third Bank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, First Data, and MasterCard. He is a frequent speaker on Instant Payments and Fintech and API workgroup chair at the US Faster Payments Council. The topic of the day is commercial payments, and specifically what headwinds in 2024 are transforming the landscape. This includes the impact of fraud, instant payments, infrastructure upgrades, Banking as a Service, and overall transformation initiatives.

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