Apr 06 2009

Trends and Future Directions in Consumer Financial Services: A Colloquium at Rochester Institute of Technology

Report  
Number  
180

This colloquium examined the impending changes to the retail banking sector brought on by the subprime lending crisis, the arrival of a new political reality in Washington, DC, and the current economic environment.

Report Number 180

Executive Summary

Dramatic changes in the world of finance and politics caused our agenda to shift up until the very moment we opened the colloquium in late November 2008 in snowy Rochester, New York. What follows is a summary of the “Trends and Future Directions in Consumer Financial Services” colloquium, held at RIT’s Saunders School of Business. In its final iteration, the colloquium examined the impending changes to the retail banking sector brought on the subprime lending crisis, the arrival of a new political reality in Washington, DC, and the current economic environment.

What is the research about?

The report focuses on three key areas:

  • How we got here. This section examines regulatory, consumer behavior, and banking practices that landed us in our current economic predicament.
  • Wal-Mart as a financial services provider. Not wanting to ignore an important competitive question, this section weighs in on the likelihood of Wal-Mart’s entry into the U.S. financial services marketplace. We rightly frame this question in the realities of today’s marketplace.
  • A new banking reality? Given where we are today and where we are going, this section lays out the potential regulatory, competitive, and consumer demands of a new banking paradigm.

What are the credit union implications?

The goal of a colloquium is to hear a variety of viewpoints and proposals. As you read through this report, you will likely conclude that we more than achieved this goal; however, the audience, the presenters, and the observers did come to one clear and unequivocal consensus: Tomorrow’s financial services world will look monumentally different from today’s. While this implores us to be comfortable with ambiguity and eschew certainty less we look ridiculous, in this circumstance we can feel comfortable knowing that the only certainty is that tomorrow will look materially different from today. This report should be helpful in guiding your credit union through these difficult times.