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Q&A with Jack Henry | Bank Automation News

Technology provider Jack Henry leans into its financial health training and offerings during April — Financial Literacy Month.

Jack Henry’s financial institution clients can tap into the tech provider’s direct API connection to benefit from data aggregation, personal financial management and fraud detection tools, Nicole Harper, director of corporate strategy at Jack Henry, told Bank Automation News.

BAN sat down with Harper to discuss how to approach financial literacy with strategy, technology and data in mind. What follows is an edited version of that conversation.

Bank Automation News: How does Jack Henry prioritize financial literacy education during April?

Nicole Harper: Financial health is really a part of Jack Henry’s DNA but it is emphasized during April. Jack Henry aims to strengthen the connections between people and financial institutions through all the technology services and solutions we deliver.

To achieve that, throughout the month Jack Henry offers internal financial health training for its more than 7,000 employees. Training includes:

  • LinkedIn Learning courses;
  • Internal training through “Jack Tracks;”
  • Access to a financial counselor;
  • The ability to update 401K contributions; and
  • Help updating personal budgets.

As Jack Henry prioritizes financial literacy training internally, it has also announced its latest award program, which spotlights clients and fintechs that are doing amazing things rooted in improving financial health. Winners of the award will be announced at Jack Henry Connect in the fall.

BAN: What challenges might FIs face when implementing a comprehensive financial strategy?

NH: There are three challenges financial institutions should consider.

1. Understanding and defining financial health. According to the Financial Health Network, financial health is defined as being able to spend, save, borrow and plan in ways that improve your ability to be resilient and pursue new opportunities for yourself.

In the Financial Health Network’s latest study, it found 71% of Americans are financially vulnerable, which is both a challenge and an opportunity for financial institutions.

If you think about all the ways that consumers are managing their finances, with between 15 and 20 financial relationships, how can people get a holistic view of their finances and make better decisions? That’s where FIs can come in, using secure financial data aggregation to solve that fragmentation.

2. Identifying a business case for prioritizing financial health. According to Jack Henry’s annual Strategy Benchmark study, banks are prioritizing growing deposits, growing loans and improving efficiencies.

Those are strong priorities, so when you consider resources, where does financial health come into the fold?

It might feel like a challenge to come up with a business use case for financial health, but in reality, banks and credit unions that prioritize the financial health of their account holders can see measurable impacts to their bottom line, including stronger deposit growth and a more resilient loan portfolio.

3. Achieving enterprise commitments to financial health. It’s easy to launch an initiative, but it’s harder to sustain. Having commitment from the top down and laterally is a necessity.

BAN: How should banks approach financial fragmentation? What role can data aggregation play here?

NH: We think about all the ways that consumers and businesses are trying to manage their finances. Aggregation positions FIs to be the central or primary financial hub and presents account holders with data within their digital banking experience that’s not only related to their relationships with their bank but also with outside partners.

That provides huge benefits because it allows account holders to connect external accounts, see everything in one place and manage their money a bit better.

The best way to do that is having direct API connectivity into the data aggregators, to avoid the risks of screen scraping. At Jack Henry, we have direct API connections that allow us to leverage tokenization that provides secure financial data exchange and aggregation.

As consumers benefit from data aggregation, FIs, too, can look at this data and analyze it to deliver value. It helps them understand where the money flows and what insights would be useful to provide to account holders. This improves the overall experience when making recommendations or providing offers to account holders.



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