If there is one thing that frustrates bankers the most, it’s core issues, said Trey Maust, Lewis & Clark Bank, Oregon City, Ore. Maust is former chair of the American Bankers Association’s Community Bankers Council, where he and fellow bankers helped establish a Core Platform Committee, which has been meeting with large and small processors in an effort to help both sides work better together and eliminate some of the pinch points.
The committee, chaired by Julie Thurlow, president and CEO of Reading Cooperative Bank in Reading, Mass., is one year into a two-plus year process, focusing on three primary areas: Contract revisions, access to data and its derivatives, and mechanisms to allow for smoother interfacing with third parties to work on innovation and the free flow of data.
Bankers are just like small business owners, Maust said. They take on several roles to run their bank successfully. That leaves little time to tackle a bigger project such as this on their own.
“We don’t have a lot of bandwidth to take on big existential threats or opportunities,” Maust said. “I think that’s one of the reasons we find ourselves in this situation: Because we’re so small. We don’t have that market or purchasing power impact or ability to influence, but working together, that’s obviously changed dramatically,” Maust said.
The committee has already met with the industry’s largest core processors. The second phase got underway in early 2019, with the ABA now working with more than 20 small- to mid-tier cores.
“Each of us knows about maybe one or two other cores, but we don’t have good visibility to the landscape of what are all the cores that are out there,” Maust said.
“I didn’t get involved in this to be incremental,” Maust added. “I got involved in this to be transformational, and if it’s not transformational, then we have failed as a committee. And I firmly believe that, because I don’t think incremental progress is sufficient right now.”