COBA 2022 – Customer owned banks looking to take on the big players

Having attended my first Customer Owned Banking Association conference (COBA) with Change Financial, I was hoping for a positive experience after such a long break between in person conferences and my expectations were far exceeded.

The Customer Owned Banking Association put on a wonderful event , one of the best I’ve attended in my career.  Aside from the professionally executed conference, panels, sessions, food, and entertainment, it was the COBA members that had the greatest impact on me.  They were open, positive, engaging, and curious.

Change Financial team at COBA2022

The COBA 2022 conference panels, sessions and workshops centred around three  key themes; Smart. Strong and Sustainable.

Whilst that is  an accurate description of COBA member banks,  I took away a different set of themes from the members in attendance: Enhance,  Compete and Grow.

Enhance: Not surprisingly, COBA members were focused on their customer experience, it was central to almost every conversation I came across. There was an acceptance from members that their products and services needed to be enhanced.  COVID has been a catalyst for greater investment in remote and digital bank services and COBA2022 showcased many of these new capabilities that  banks can  deliver to their customers.

Compete: COBA members are often competing for the same customers as the big 4 and larger tier 2 banks.  Customer owned banks can’t compete with the big guys in terms of budgets, but through partners and SaaS offerings, there is an opportunity to match their services and provide a better customer value proposition. A great comment from one of our customers I spoke to was “I want to own my own destiny for card payments, but I don’t have to do it all on my own”. 

Grow: Nearly every bank I spoke to wanted to grow their customer base. In particular, focus on new, younger customers to drive a sustainable future.  Whilst murmurs of mergers and acquisitions continue, COBA members are keen to enhance their services, compete with the bigger players and ultimately grow their customer base.

The Change team was both encouraged and inspired  by the energy, enthusiasm and positivity from the COBA team and their members.  We’re looking forward to supporting the transformation journey for customer owned banks as they continue to enhance, compete, and grow to better rival the major banks in the future.

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