Net.Finance reflections

Net.Finance 2008This year’s Net.Finance conference was the best yet. This was my third annual Net.Finance (not including their Online Innovations conference this past January).

The first year, I was new to financial services, and it was a great opportunity to learn about the industry from some of our leading thinkers and doers. The second year was great for networking, but the presentations were somewhat hit and miss. This year many of the presentations were strong, and the people I met were incredible. It was a great experience, professionally and socially.

The main takeaway I have from this year is that the online part of the financial services sector is at a healthy, natural plateau. Many of the things we’ve been exploring are now in place, and it’s time to execute, learn and improve. This includes metrics and analytics, optimization (A/B testing and multivariate), search engine marketing & optimization, website usability and core online banking functionality. We’ve gone from a period of doubt and experimentation to a period of adoption and execution.

I sense many of my peers are getting the respect they deserve within their organizations, and have roadmaps in front of them to follow. All the while they’re keeping an eye on some of the upcoming innovations, including social lending, personal financial management and mobile banking. I was amazed and heartened by how many more people were open to the Prosper and Wesabe models. A year ago, it was all so foreign, and many people I met at other FIs just didn’t have it on their radar. Not any more.

If you want to catch up on great blog coverage of the conference, my peer at Westminster Savings Credit Union, Ed Brett, captured it all on his new and valuable blog, Small FI Blog. Check it out.

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