Book review: Bankruption – How community banking can survive fintech

Credit unions are 'a model the average consumer doesn’t know or care about, with a belief system that outstrips capability'

Bankruption, by John Waupsh (Wiley, 2017)

Bankruption argues that community banking should reinvent itself in order to overcome the challenges posed by emerging market entrants.

John Waupsh, who has a background in fintech, believes that community banking is broken. He highlights some inefficiencies within the credit union sector, describing it as “a model the average consumer doesn’t know or care about, with a belief system that outstrips capability”.

He also criticises credit union boards lacking people with experience in banking or technology.

In an increasingly competitive and regulated market, community banks and credit unions will have to work together with entrepreneurs and fintech companies to provide the digital services their members need.

Can credit unions learn from other sectors? Waupsh thinks that when it comes to omnichannel approaches, big retailers have some useful lessons for community banking. He provides tips for credit unions to eliminate the worst practices, network and expand contacts.

From investing in new research and technologies, to supporting with fintech start-ups and partnering with other businesses, community banks will have to be proactive as well as find new niche markets not served by the big banks.

What does the future hold for credit unions? Bankruption makes the case for shifting to a digital community. “The branch of the future is a mobile device,” he writes.

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