Financial services is arguably the backbone of our economy. As most industries, during these times, transformation has accelerated. To get a glimpse of the future, on June 26, 2020 I moderated a panel to discuss how leaders, during this unprecedented time, think about and shape their strategy of this highly regulated sector of the economy.The panelists were:
– John Schlifske, Chairman, President and CEO, Northwestern Mutual
– Roger C. Hochschild, CEO and President, Discover Financial Services
– Kevin McMahon, Chief Information Officer of BBVA USA
– Salene Hitchcock-Gear, President of Prudential Individual Life Insurance
– Dino Trevisani, General Manager, IBM Financial Services USA
While the pandemic may have accelerated digital transformation, technology will change the industry for a long time to come. A common theme among the leaders was the need to adapt to the acceleration of the digital world.
John Schlifske, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwestern Mutual discussed how this acceleration has already impacted how their business and his team operates. He shared, “For some time now, our focus has been on building out our digital capabilities and client experience, and the pandemic simply accelerated the path we were already on. For example, we moved from traditional ways of underwriting insurance with a paramedical exam to online medical health questionnaires for some clients. We’ve moved to this digital capability not just because of the pandemic, but because it’s what customers want and provides a better experience. Another example of this is our focus on building digital tools to help simplify and personalize financial planning for our clients. This allows them to be constantly connected to their financial plan, so they can understand the decisions they’re making financially and how it affects their goals. At Northwestern Mutual, our holistic approach includes insurance and investment strategies – so integrating these digitally in one place creates not only better outcomes, but a better experience for customers overall. This acceleration to everything virtual, everything digital, is exactly the path we’ve been on.
Roger C. Hochschild, CEO and President of Discover Financial Services, talked about putting the company in a position to take advantage of recent technology trends while still prioritizing the customer experience. He shared, “One clear shift we’ve seen is from cash to cards or digital payments. Even for a two dollar purchase. Most don’t want to take cash anymore. We’ve also seen accelerated growth in contactless payments, the tap and go, which are viewed as cleaner. So for us, we already planned on having our whole…