Three Take-Aways for Community Banks from the VenCent Summit

By Charles E. Potts

Sep. 13, 2022

The Venture Center, ICBA’s leadership bankers, and our ThinkTECH Accelerator cohorts demonstrated the importance of community bank-fintech collaborations at last month’s VenCent Summit. It was an opportunity to showcase the evolution of our Accelerator alumni and reiterate the value of our ThinkTECH initiatives in helping tailor future offerings to support the needs of community banks and their customers.

In the span of three days, more than 500 attendees experienced 70 live demonstrations, dozens of speakers, and the crowning of the first-ever Finny Award by one of ICBA ThinkTech Accelerator’s most recent alumni, DocFox.

Beyond that, what was on full display was the evolution of community banking, bolstered by the supporting role of fintech providers in helping to meet the diverse needs of consumers. Perhaps most memorable, however, are the messages that were reiterated throughout the session, three of which resonated with me and are encapsulated below:

1. Digital solutions are table stakes.

It comes as no surprise that digital channels are growing in customer preference, but speakers emphasized that the speed of adoption continues to accelerate.

“Gartner believes that by 2023, 60 percent of customer interactions will occur through a digital channel,” said Tina Giorgio, ICBA Bancard president and CEO. “That’s a pretty significant number when you think about what we spend on brick and mortar versus what we’re spending on digital solutions in community banks today.”

Giorgio cautioned that while digital continues to climb in preference, community banks need to offer a range of options for their customer base.

“Digital is not for everybody. Some people are going to want to call. Some people are going to want to come in,” she said. “It’s about choice, and if you take that digital choice away, you have lost that customer.”

2. Solutions must meet a defined need.

The availability of fintech solutions means that community banks can now target a specific product to meet a specific need.

Not every solution is for every bank,” noted Damon Moorer, president and CEO of TCM Bank, N.A., ICBA Bancard’s credit card subsidiary. “I’m looking for solutions that actually are aligned to my unique strategy, that provide real and perceived value on three different dimensions: customer, community, and then value to the bank.”

“The key is to know yourself, listen to the 40 or 50 presentations [at the VenCent Summit], and then prioritize those for what you need,” said presenter Eric Sprink, president and CEO of Coastal Community Bank, a $2.1 billion-asset bank in Everett, Wash.

3. The ThinkTECH Accelerator provides a pathway to collaboration.

ICBA’s ThinkTECH Accelerator, gearing up now for its fifth year, has produced fintech solutions that support both established and emerging community bank needs.

“You’ve got to lean into this,” said Sprink. “We are adopters, which is why we believe in it so much. Each of these organizations’ sole purpose is to help you. Each one of you has opportunity to leave with one or two companies in your back pocket.”

ICBA was proud to serve as a presenting sponsor for the first ever VenCent Summit, which drew out the trends influencing technology planning at community banks. As you contemplate what’s next, let us know what you need. Our goal is to identify technology solutions and partners that will support your success now and into the future, so as we solicit fintech applications for the 2023 ThinkTECH Accelerator cohort, your input is essential.