A lot has been hitting the web lately about coming tectonic upheavals in core banking. Finsider put in a nice plug for the recent Economist Intelligence Unit research report on how mobile access is rapidly becoming a generational choice in how to access banking and other financial services. And Chris Skinner has contributed an extremely thoughtful piece to SAP’s Banking View detailing how the mobile banking sea change is combining (colliding?) with the emergence of cryptocurrencies to lay out a vastly different future banking landscape.

The aspect of these pieces that strikes me the most is how they are describing transformative changes and not incremental ones. When Chris Skinner can so easily cite visionaries from Mark Zuckerberg to Bill Gates to Richard Branson all espousing philosophies that will fundamentally change the nature of “banking” as we know it, it’s time to start thinking about where to place our future bets. Letting stakes ride on the status quo is the one sure thing—and that’s a losing bet no matter which way you see the future.

One approach is to put feet in all the boats. Nicole Kealey’s latest on omnichannel platforms does a good job of laying out that possible landscape. It’s an indispensable first step, and any bank who isn’t already investing in a true omnichannel platform is going to find out the cost of losing ground to their competitors very soon. But even this doesn’t necessary enable the kind of “first mover” strategic focus that’s needed to succeed at the right things when the customers show up expecting excellence, as they always do.

In January, I had opportunity to connect the dots between Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century) and the worldwide trend towards Financial Inclusion. (SAP’s white paper on Financial Inclusion can be found here). (Financial Inclusion in the 21st Century). It occurs to me that the agents of the sea change are right here in front of us today: Mobile banking and cryptocurrencies deliver the ubiquitous access and the infinitesimal transaction costs that deliver the building blocks of a very exciting future.

Forget the color of your parachute. It’s the color of optimism that will define success in this new world.

For more on the evolution of digital banking, check out the “Agenda Builder” section on the SAPPHIRE event site. Session 21000 should be an extremely interesting panel discussion on the possibilities.

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