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PCBB Banc Investment Daily October 12, 2017
Banc Investment Daily
October 12, 2017

Testing Your Tech Investment

Using something known as paper spray mass spectrometry, researchers from the University of Surrey have developed a new fingerprint test that will accurately detect cocaine usage and identify the user within seconds. It even works after handwashing, which makes the test even more robust and effective.
Technology breakthroughs are happening everywhere and the banking industry often seems like ground zero. Interestingly though, a study finds this may not be the case with many banks.
When it comes to data analytics, for example, many banks are sorely missing the mark. Just 13% of senior executives and independent directors responding to Bank Director's 2017 Technology Survey believe that their institution effectively uses data to serve the needs of existing customers or identify new ones. Yet, 65% say data analytics will impact their institution over the next 5Ys.
Certainly, analytics is critical in banking for many reasons. These include such things as fraud identification, risk management, customer acquisition and operations optimization to name a few. As we've said before, it's not just a matter of collecting data, but rather the ability to slice and dice the information that makes such data usable for your bank.
As data analytics become increasingly important in every aspect of banking, community banks need to take a proactive approach. The results of the survey paint a picture of an industry that's falling behind in some areas. Consider that 61% of responding executives say data analytics doesn't represent a sufficient portion of their technology budget and 21% say the bank hasn't designated any money for analytics or data management.
Another concerning finding from the survey is the frequency of which technology is discussed at board meetings. While 47% say technology is discussed at every meeting, more than a third (38%) say technology is only discussed 1x per quarter and a disturbing 9% say it's only discussed during annual strategic planning.
Given such huge changes going on around banking, the need to address cybersecurity alone makes it incumbent upon boards to discuss technology of all types more frequently, in our view. This is especially true considering that 94% of respondents named cybersecurity as a technology issue their board currently focuses on.
The study also indicates banks may not be doing enough to protect themselves in the event a 3rd party vendor suffers a cyberattack. Consider that 44% believe the bank would be vulnerable if one of the vendors experienced a cyberattack or data breach. Just 21% believe the bank would not be at risk in such an event. The recent Equifax breach is a potent reminder of what can go wrong on the cybersecurity front and a call to action to be even more vigilant with vendors.
Keeping up with technology trends and issues facing the industry is everyone's job at the bank. Whether you are in management, the front lines or on the board, share what you find and stay curious throughout. Doing so can help keep your team better informed, as you map out a plan and budget to support growth in the technology arena. After all, you never know when that next breakthrough may be coming.