In truth, the “who” of banking innovation might matter more. People, more than ideas, are the drivers of innovation, implementation, and strategic force. For this feature, Bank Innovation has taken a long, hard look at the who of banking innovation to unveil our first-ever list of Innovators to Watch.
These 44 innovators come from a wide cross-section of the industry — there are both bankers and entrepreneurs, both senior executives and newbies, both those who you may know and those whom you have never heard of. We believe that innovation in the financial services industry is driven not by the top dogs or the most senior executives, but by people who have dynamism, who look at banking innovation as anything but an oxymoron, for whom banking is not a staid industry, but a vibrant opportunity yet to be fully realized.
These are the 44 banking innovators who will shape the industry’s tomorrow.
1. Joshua Greenough, senior director of technology innovation, Capital One Labs
Don’t call him a banker — Greenough was pulled into Capital One through the bank’s BankOns acquisition last year. With BankOns, he won a Finovate Best in Show award and worked in the mobile offers space. Now he focuses on Hackathons, APIs, 3rd party partner integration, start-up engagement and some “Strategery.”
2. Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO, Square
To say that he is somewhat overhyped is perhaps an understatement. But despite being on the cover of Inc magazine (nice leather jacket, by the way), Dorsey has come up with arguably the most revolutionary startup of the last five years — a real “how did I not think of that?” kind of startup. Rumor now has him eyeing the office of mayor of New York City. Now that’s ambitious.
3. Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for payment services, US Bank
The Minneapolis-based bank has an unfair reputation for being a stodgy, boring, Midwestern bank. Venturo is a big reason why that reputation is undeserved. US Bank is leading the field in important ways — It’s the first big bank to launch mobile photo bill pay, and is now joining USAA in offering voice control technology in its mobile app. Add to that GoMobile digital wallet functionality for the iPhone and that’s enough buzz to keep US Bank warm during those long Minnesota winters. Did you know it snowed there in May?
4. Shawn Budde, co-founder and COO, ZestFinance
Shawn Budde stole the show with his Big Data presentation at Bank Innovation 2013. All data is credit data, ZestFinance says. Standard credit models use 500 data elements — ZestFinance’s model uses 3,500. The result is a 40% improvement in underwriting scores, according to the company. There are more customers out there for lenders, and ZestFinance can help find them and score them, and Budde is leading that charge.
5. Neff Hudson, assistant vice president of emerging channels at USAA
USAA is a byword for innovation in financial services and the man at the wheel is Neff Hudson. Under Hudson, USAA has moved hard into mobile, making online banking a legacy channel. The company of course has no branches. USAA was first to market with voice commands. mobile account opening, mobile check deposit, and using smartphone photos of drivers licenses to determine customer eligibility for auto insurance products. Hudson also led the San Antonio-based company in building community among its members — an early use of what we now call social media.