Blowing Up the Bank

Traditional financial institutions struggling in a digital world, Taylor says at SOI

Mitch Morrison, Vice President of Retailer Relations

Gray Taylor  PCATS Petroleum and Convenience (Store) Alliance for Technology Standards

Gray Taylor

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- "The banking system today is going to be totally blown up in the next 10 years."

Gray Taylor is part petroleum historian, part modern technologist and part futurist. At the turn of the 21st century, Taylor was overseeing commerce systems at Tokheim Corp., a fuel equipment company that would eventually be acquired during a wave of consolidation in petroleum hardware. But his fascination with technology and consumer engagement has propelled him into a position where he interfaces with his two passions.

Today, Taylor is executive director of PCATS--the Petroleum and Convenience Alliance for Technology Standards--that operates under the NACS umbrella. Against a legacy of closed financial systems, PCATS advocates for open, transparent standards around payment and mobile commerce.

Closing the 2014 NACS State of the Industry (SOI) Summit, Taylor presented an engaging picture of what the future could hold pending the potholed present of anachronistic systems and bifurcated solutions.

One such example, he said, is the banking system. Bank branches are dying, a bloated system of brick and mortar moving at an elephantine pace toward digital. And that's a real problem.

"You're going to see growth of the virtual bank," Taylor said, asking rhetorically when was the last time members of the audience went to a bank other than perhaps tap its ATM machine.

These new banks will not be the Banks of America or Citi. Instead, they could be major retail brands with extensive platforms.

"Walmart is probably the biggest bank you never heard of," he said.

In fall 2012, the world's largest retailer launched Bluebird, a new financial product that offers an alternative for consumers with traditional bank accounts. The program offers secure depositing services but does not lend and as such is not governed by traditional banking regulations.

Walmart's is but one example of a future in which new currencies and alternative banking vehicles, coupled with more open standards, will "take down monopolies," Taylor predicted.

For more coverage of Taylor's presentation, look for CSPmagazine's special SOI edition this spring. For more from the National Association of Convenience Stores' 2014 SOI Summit in Rosemont, Ill., look for additional coverage on and in CSP Daily News. CSP Business Media is the exclusive media partner of the event.

Mitch Morrison Winsight CSP By Mitch Morrison, Vice President of Retailer Relations
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