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COR.SPARK Interview

Fintech’s leading voice Chris Skinner headlines COR.SPARK 2019

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Symcor October 24, 2019

From news stations, the TED Talk stage, to respected global forums, Chris Skinner is regarded as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. An independent commentator on fintech through his blog thefinanser.com and a bestselling author of books like Digital Bank, Value Web, Digital Human, among others, Chris is passionate about tracing the rapid pace of digital innovation in the banking industry and the thriving parallel economy of fintech disruptors. Chris Skinner is this year’s keynote at COR.SPARK Innovation Summit hosted by Symcor. We caught up with Chris about his upcoming address and why he feels Canada’s banking sector is better prepared for digital disruption than other markets.

Symcor: What changes should banks implement to transform into tomorrow’s banks, and be digital, open and human?

Chris Skinner: Canadian banks are fairly unique in that they are part of the North Americas but not part of the USA. It’s a market that can innovate far faster than the USA, but in a managed way. Canada introduced Chip and PIN first, and the Canadian banking system has been far more resilient during the financial crisis than most other markets.

What Canadian banks should now be doing is looking at developments overseas and see if they can leverage them, such as the success of mobile wallets in China or the developments of digital identity in the Nordic region.

Symcor: How should bank executives strategize digital transformation?

Chris Skinner: By asking the question: do you feel digital? Does your organization feel digital? Is ‘digital’ seeping through your organization? If you answer ‘no’ to any one of those, then change is needed.  

Digital transformation should trickle all the way down to the fundamental structure and culture of the institution. It’s not something you run as an independent project.

Symcor: Financial fraud is a globally integrated industry today. Fraudsters are able to take advantage of the grey areas in our processes, policies, and people. Why do financial institutions remain so vulnerable to financial crime?

Chris Skinner: Cybersecurity, of course, is something we all need to remain vigilant about, in Canada and around the world. It’s a big area of focus, but it’s not coordinated across borders, whereas criminals are.

The estimated amount of money laundered globally through the international banking system in one year is $2 trillion USD. We need far better global authentication and identification systems to combat cyber crime, and we need stronger KYC norms.

Symcor: How can FinTechs and Financial Institutions foster partnerships to create better customer experiences? 

Chris Skinner: I view fintech like the parent-child relationship. Financial services is the parent that wants safety and stability. Technology is the child that wants to change the world and challenge the conventional way.

In this new world of partnering, co-creation, collaboration and co-operation, banks have an important role to play as a mentor. They have the history, the capital and the experience to support the passion, vision and ideas of fintech companies.

Want to hear more from Chris Skinner and other fintech thought leaders? Join us on November 14 for COR.SPARK Innovation Summit 2019 in Toronto. Register today to secure your spot.

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