by GSBC President Michael Stevens
The pace of change on the technology front is both exciting and frightening. Consumers engage with multiple platforms fueled by data and artificial intelligence. Each experience helps to create an expectation for the service they want to see from the next platform they use. No business is immune to this.
There are many solutions for community banks to utilize but also new sources of competition. To prepare for strategic planning, GSBC set out to understand the latest technological innovations and how they were being used in banking and what is possible in the future. A team of 11 GSBC alumni took on this task as our “Signals Group.” Their job was to learn about specific technologies and the application to financial services, then present it to the other team members. The topics researched included machine learning, artificial intelligence, data visualization, blockchain, cryptocurrency, real-time data flow, voice and image recognition, augmented reality, robo-advisors and chatbots. We learned that every one of these is being used to some extent in banking today!
There are numerous questions a community bank will need to answer to deploy any technology. The central question is: How do we meet the consumers’ expectations for technology solutions and maintain the relationship business model that is a key value of being a community bank? Interestingly, GSBC has the same issue. Our business model thrives off students building connections and becoming part of the GSBC network. Referrals from alumni are a tremendous source of enrollment in our programs.
The work of the Signals Group provided valuable perspective to our Board of Trustees and Alumni Advisory Board as we worked to envision GSBC’s future. We are still working through the process, but the future is bright and exciting. We intend to be thoughtful and deliberate as we chart this course. GSBC is operating from a position of strength and support from the GSBC network. We will create our future building on the legacy we have been entrusted to.