This week's tech news, filtered for financial services execs

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August 8

We’ve just hit our one-year anniversary! Thank you for reading and being part of our community.  

This week’s edition is dedicated to insights from our just-published State of Enterprise Tech report, which is packed with exclusive data about enterprise leaders’ top priorities.  

Readers have told us that deep dives like this – and our previous features on GenAI and building successful fintech relationships – drive real value, so we’ll be delivering more of what you’ve asked for, moving forward: We’re transitioning from the weekly format to longer-form reports and exclusive research that will land in your inbox periodically.   

If you want a more hands-on relationship in the meantime, we recommend Insight’s IGNITE network, which offers enterprise executives unparalleled access to next-gen tech, investment perspectives, and a network of peers driving digital change. Learn more or reach out to financial services liaison Zak Sheer at for more information. 

Finally, to stay at the cutting-edge of the artificial intelligence revolution, attend our ScaleUp:AI conference this fall. We’re hosting luminary speakers like Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti, PayPal exec Hui Wang, the co-authors of the seminal “Attention Is All You Need” paper, and so many more – and we’re offering Distilled readers free digital tickets. 

If you’re interested in attending in-person in New York City, reach out to Jennifer Jordan at 

Now, let’s dive into the key findings from our State of Enterprise Tech report, which gives you insight into how your peers are thinking about their tech stacks. More than 70% of our 319 survey respondents are VP-level or above, with 52% representing C-Suite execs, and 35% specifically working in financial services. 

August 1

This week’s edition includes three stories that highlight the power of partnerships and why they’re crucial for driving innovation for big FinServs, especially around artificial intelligence.  

“Maintaining a ‘wait and see’ approach to AI innovation looks increasingly risky given the pace at which the leaders are accelerating away from the rest of the field,” according to the cofounder of Evident AI, Annabel Ayles. “While AI innovation comes at a cost, it is cheap if measured as the cost for survival.” 

Want more artificial intelligence advice? We’re offering Distilled readers 50% off digital tickets to ScaleUp:AI, our premier event in October, which will feature speakers like Goldman Sachs’ CIO and PayPal’s VP of data science, among many other execs. 

Let’s dive in:  

July 25

This week’s edition deals with the past, present, and future.

We’re bringing you advice and predictions as we dive into the history of Deutsche Bank’s fumbled tech integration, the latest news from Q2 earnings calls, an analysis of FedNow’s potential, and more.  

Let’s dive in:

July 18

This week’s edition highlights several examples of FinServs pushing forward on a promising new technology, despite uncertainty, to avoid being left behind.  

Afterall, it’s easier to execute experiments and build knowledge early, before you’re sprinting for results. 

Citi’s CEO succinctly summed the idea up when describing the bank’s approach to this year’s hottest technology: “Overall, the risks of not embracing generative AI far outweigh the risks of engaging with it.” 

Let’s dive in:

June 13

Our latest edition highlights both the power and limitations of artificial intelligence.  

While the technology has enormous potential to reshape financial services – including by boosting employee productivity, as our piece on Bank of America’s internal tool shows – it’s not a perfect fit for every problem. That’s why determining which issues to prioritize and tackle with AI is such a key skill for technology leaders to develop.  

Let’s dive in:

June 6

This week’s edition covers a wide range of technology topics, from the cutting-edge – including generative AI and virtual reality – to the simple-yet-effective, like operational transformation and poker as a means for persona. growth.  

Let’s dive in: 

May 31

We hope that all our US readers enjoyed a relaxing long weekend with loved ones – we decided to send out the briefing a bit later in the week than usual to give you time to dig out your inbox.  

After all, we didn’t want you to miss this jam-packed edition, which features our exclusive report about generative artificial intelligence, as well as several key dispatches from Finovate Spring, a fintech conference in San Francisco where banking execs and startup leaders shared three days of tech strategy and socializing. We tuned into the action to bring you the key takeaways for FinServ execs. 

Let’s dive in: 

May 23

As with most things in life, there’s no single right answer when it comes to approaching artificial intelligence, quantum computing, or preventing fraud. Ultimately, the biggest risk for FinServs is not experimenting at all. 

We hope that the tactics laid out in this week’s features will accelerate and inspire your thinking as you fine-tune your own perspectives, playbooks, and strategies.  

Let’s dive in:

May 16

This week’s edition features two stories that highlight how technology can supercharge workers, whether through enhanced social networking or generative AI.  

In both cases, the goal is to break down information silos and help people be more productive.  

As Goldman Sachs’ CIO put it: “What if you could codify the knowledge of a company into a model that you can query and it would give you relevant answers, the same way the greatest expert of the company would give you?” 

More on those stories and more below. Let’s dive in: 

May 9

Everyone’s talking about generative AI these days, with many firms investing “aggressively,” as two features in this week’s edition demonstrate.  

But for all the interesting use cases both within and alongside financial services, many questions still swirl around GenAI’s implementation, including its costs.  

Running with the latest technology can quickly rack up costs, as enterprises have learned through swelling cloud computing bills. Complex and fragmented cloud billing can cause frustration – which is why a former Citigroup exec is leading a new initiative to make costs easier to understand.  

More on that story, and others, below – now let’s dive in:  

May 2

Artificial intelligence continues to be a central topic for financial firms (and thus this newsletter).

This week’s edition includes stories on how AI is currently being deployed for market predictions or customer service, as well as research into how it could affect the future of lending.  

Let’s dive in:

April 25

This week’s edition includes features on funding rounds, the ways that artificial intelligence is reshaping wealth management, and the “why” behind bank-fintech partnerships.  

“As much talk as there is of banks and fintechs partnering with one another, the trend is still new,” an exec from DailyPay told Insights Distilled, adding that it “will only continue to grow” in the coming years. 

Now let’s dive in: 

April 18

This week’s edition highlights a handful of blockbuster funding rounds, totaling more than $450 million in investment and showing how the overall funding drought can be broken for the right companies.  

Each featured firm’s fundraising includes at least one strategic financial services investor: Vanguard for Altruist, IMC Financial for Clear Street, and Goldman Sachs for AlphaSense.  

These kinds of investments are often a launchpad for deeper partnerships or synergies. (For more ways that FinServs and ScaleUps can work together more efficiently, check out our advice-packed report here.)

Let’s dive in: 

April 4

This week’s edition highlights the power of collaboration. 

We bring you features about big banks working together, making strategic investments in cutting-edge technology, and partnering with fintechs to improve their products.  

We’re also launching a special report that explores key tactics for creating efficient, effective partnerships. We tapped our network of industry experts to speak with leaders from top financial firms and innovative ScaleUps to deliver tactical advice and insightful guidance on how to build better relationships between FinServs and fintechs.  

Let us know what you think, and what topics you think we should tackle in-depth next.  

Now, let’s dive in: 

March 28

This week’s edition centers on experimentation. Several of our stories dive into ways that large financial institutions are using pilot projects or test trials to start experimenting with technology like blockchain, biometric identification, or generative AI.  

While each example is different, they all demonstrate the benefits of getting off the sidelines to start trying things out, while using tests or soft launches to gather data and solidify strategies.  

Let’s dive in: 

March 21

It’s been a tumultuous few weeks for the financial industry, with UBS’ takeover of Credit Suisse the latest news event that’s sure to have aftershocks for weeks and months to come.  

Within all the chaos, though, we’re also hearing a throughline of assurance that one thing is not in flux: FinServs’ dedication to digital innovation. In fact, the recent turmoil has, in many ways, underscored the need for swift and decisive technology leadership.  

Let’s dive in: 

March 14

This week’s edition comes in a moment of tumult and uncertainty for the finance and technology sectors, as the side effects from Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse continue to unfold.  

While most of the narratives around SVB’s fallout don’t directly relate to financial firms’ technology strategies, the themes of resilience and adaptability certainly apply. Accordingly, several stories in this edition highlight how the best stopgaps against tech troubles are backup plans, robust data, experimentation, and trust. 

Let’s dive in:

March 7

This week’s edition dives into several different ways that banks are combining digital innovation and the human touch.  

This week’s edition dives into the ways that banks combine digital innovation and the human touch.  

Afterall, financial firms often struggle to balance tech sophistication with a lack of friction: For example, banks often ask themselves, “How do I bring together all of my consumer data and build intelligent applications on top that are consumer friendly?” according to the president of Washington Federal spinoff Archway. More on that story, and four more, below.   

Let’s dive in:  

February 28

This week’s edition delves into the different ways that banks are threading the needle: Between catching fraudsters and offering seamless customer experiences. Between digital interfaces and human-to-human connection. Between compliance risk and cutting-edge technology. 

“Banks are extremely allergic to risks (as they should be),” a principal at tech consultancy Capco told Insights Distilled for our story on ChatGPT. Still, they need to find a way to “encourage innovation while also prioritizing data privacy and security.”   

Let’s dive in:

February 21

For US readers coming back from a long weekend, we hope it was restful.  

Our latest edition includes several stories of digital transformation in progress, from US Bank’s plan to upskill thousands of its employees to a new solution for banks’ fintech integration woes.  

Let’s dive in:

February 7

This week’s edition provides several perspectives on the power of combining tech innovation with human insights.

In one feature, people provided a crucial backstop to preventing calamity after a trading software company got hacked. In another, an exec explains how her firm is trying to turn investors into “cyborgs” by equipping them with the latest AI tools to guide their decision-making.  

“We believe very strongly that it’s not that algorithms and machines will replace human beings: It’s just that human beings with algorithms, we think, will outcompete humans who don’t have them,” she said. 

Let’s dive in:

January 31

This week’s edition centers on acquisitions of all kinds.  

We bring you features on how big banks are roping in (and keeping) talent, why a tech firm just bought ING’s homegrown compliance tools, and how a payroll startup is winning bank evangelists, among other stories.  

Let’s dive in: 

January 24

This week’s edition centers on giving credit where it’s due.  

We highlight how innovative startups are helping incumbents super-charge their ability to offer loans, whether to immigrants or SMBs. And in another sense of the phrase, we spotlight how banks have continued to reap results from their digital transformation efforts.  

Let’s dive in: 

January 17

Upwards of 75% of banking leaders say they feel “pressured” to collaborate more with fintechs to meet consumer demand, according to a new survey of 800 execs, but many are still “wrestling with the challenges of doing so. 

To that end, this week’s edition features stories about the ways in which incumbents are finding success with digital upstarts, whether through investments, acquisitions, or partnerships. 

While fintech tie-ups can certainly go wrong – for example, JPMorgan is currently embroiled in a messy legal battle with a startup it purchased that it says falsified its userbase – there’s greater risk in not pursuing these relationships at all.  

Let’s dive in: 

January 10

January is financial wellness month, and the stories in this week’s edition approach that theme from several different angles, from the literal – like how financial upstarts are wooing young people by making it fun to build their money skills – to the figurative – like how recent headlines highlight a need for upgraded fraud protections. 

Let’s dive in:

January 3

Happy 2023!  

We look forward to another year of helping you cut through the noise by highlighting the most important technology stories every week, with context on why they matter. 

It’s fitting that the features in this edition focus on technology topics that will help shape the financial services industry in the upcoming year – from new policies and cyber-resiliency to virtual reality and DEI-focused data. 

Let’s dive in: 

December 27

As the end of the year draws near and we prepare to launch into 2023, we’re feeling reflective – both on the top features and trends of the past six months and on our gratefulness for subscribers like you. 

Thank you for being a reader in 2022. Since launching this newsletter in August, we’ve brought you fascinating case studies, actionable advice, exclusive executive interviews, need-to-know product news, and more.  

We hope that our insights have been valuable to you – if so, please consider sharing this newsletter with a colleague or friend. And if you have advice on ways we could improve in the new year, please let us know (you can simply reply to this email with your thoughts).   

Now, on to our review of the themes and stories that shaped the year – let’s dive in:  

December 20

With the holidays upon us, this week’s stories spotlight gifts – namely, those that startups use to win customers and market share from incumbents, including speed, focus, and infrastructure that’s free of technical debt. 

Big financial institutions aren’t typically blessed with those abilities. As one exec we spoke to bluntly put it: They’re “not structured for rapid innovation” like fintechs. 

That’s why the financial institutions highlighted in this edition are finding ways to share in those benefits, whether through investments, partnerships, or revamping their own organizational structure. 

Let’s dive in: 

December 13

This week’s edition features several stories that highlight how financial services firms are making concrete inroads as they build towards the tech innovations that will shape the future. 

For example, Deutsche Bank is deploying digital avatars that will eventually be used in the metaverse, Mastercard is expanding its partnerships to ultimately improve cross-border money movement, and big banks are beginning to embrace open source software with gusto.  

These features spotlight forward momentum or milestones, even as the full promise of a given technology has not yet been reached. As the executive director of open source group FINOS put it: “We know there is still a lot of work to do to reach full maturity.” But the progress, of course, is important. 

Let’s dive in:

December 6

This week’s edition is all about getting personal.  

One of the promises of artificial intelligence and automation is that they make it easier to enable customized user experiences, at a lower cost. That framework is on display in several of this week’s stories, including features on Wells Fargo’s new business banking tool or National Australia Bank’s customer service solution.  

Each of these pieces demonstrates how big financial institutions can use technology to become more customer-centric. After all, as JPMorgan’s chief information officer put it earlier this year, “The future of banking really is personalization.”  

Let’s dive in: 

November 29

The holidays tend to bring good food, time with loved ones, special moments – and financial fraud. ‘Tis the season for scams, spoofs, and swindles.  

Several stories in this week’s edition highlight tales of how bad actors may try to wreak havoc, as well as the tech-enabled preventative measures that financial institutions can take to block them.  

Let’s dive in: 

November 22

With Thanksgiving on the horizon for our US readers, this week’s edition spotlights giving, abundance, and relationships.

From the story of how a freshly-funded neobank is serving its target audience with tailored features, to an overview on the bounty of fintechs ripe for M&A, and a perspective on the shifting interconnection between banks and merchants, we have a feast of interesting pieces for you.  

Let’s dive in.

November 15

Several of this week’s stories spotlight how banks are making big investments to earn goodwill with customers and stand out from their competitors.

From Capital One’s travel spending or Standard Chartered’s fresh fintech partnership, to JPMorgan’s commitment to “accept any payment, anytime, anywhere,” the features in this week’s edition spotlight the ways financial firms are willing to work to create “win-win” situations.  

Let’s dive in.  

November 8

Happy election day to our US readers. Make sure to get out there and vote, if you haven’t already! 

Fittingly, several stories in this week’s edition focus on the power of people: Even in this age of digital disruption, there’s huge value in adding a human touch to new products and services. People and technology are both more powerful when they work in tandem, whether for portfolio management, financial advice, or data wrangling.   

Let’s dive in: 

November 1

This week’s edition highlights how important external partnerships can be for launching new features or maintaining the highest technology standards within a legacy financial institution. From BNY Mellon’s cybersecurity stance to NatWest’s embrace of new payments options, the most innovative offerings often require teamwork between firms.  

October 25

This week’s edition underscores the role that company culture plays in building innovative products.  

Two of our featured stories touch on talent – with tips from a Visa exec on hiring underrepresented engineers and advice from Goldman Sachs’ CIO on keeping developers excited about their work – while another spotlights a tech-enabled workaround for easier partnerships between fintechs and incumbent banks. 

Diverse, motivated, and collaborative teams: A recipe for inventive products.  

Let’s dive in.

October 18

This week’s edition highlights how tech-enabled cost savings can drive other investments across a firm.  

As Brian Moynihan put it during Bank of America’s third quarter earnings, “operational process improvements” are paying for its other initiatives: 

“Continued digitization allows us to continue to be efficient and effective and, frankly, plow the money saved back into marketing, back into more technology to make us even more effective, and then back into the people where we need them,” Moynihan said. 

The stories below demonstrate how BofA and other financial institutions have leveraged efficiencies to propel other investments, like increased hiring or more capital for business customers.  

Let’s dive in. 

October 11

This week’s edition highlights examples of big banks thinking like fintechs as they fight to keep their customers satisfied. Whether through rolling out new, value-add tools or by making it easier to access their services, the banks featured in these stories are trying to strengthen their relationships with customers to avoid being replaced.   

“PayTech providers have set the pace, implementing composable technologies, essentially allowing them to personalize their offerings,” Capgemini’s global industry head, Nilesh Vaidya, told Insights Distilled. Legacy banks need to find ways to keep up by customizing their products, too.  

Let’s dive in.  

October 4

This week’s edition highlights several examples of what a Mastercard engineer describes as a technological “butterfly effect,” where a small change (or issue) has ripple effects through a platform or ecosystem.  

Whether it’s a rogue database query that could wreak havoc on a complex IT system or integrated international credit data that can help immigrants live healthier financial lives, the stories in this edition highlight the power of a tech-enabled shift.  

Let’s dive in.

September 27

This edition spotlights the varied ways that big financial institutions use technology to serve distinct stakeholders, including their consumer users, their corporate clients, and themselves.  

The banks’ use cases on display range from banishing passwords or launching fraud-flagging AI to automating their own trade settlement operations, and involve internal innovation, partnerships, or investments.

Let’s dive in.  

September 20

Hello from the Bank Automation Summit happening this week in Seattle.  

As fintech founders rub shoulders with banking execs, it’s no surprise that one of the big themes is how to build successful, strategic technology relationships.  

For any given launch – whether it involves overdue modernization or a cutting-edge new product – execs need to weigh whether to build products internally, buy from a vendor, or form deeper, substantial partnerships with providers.  

And if you choose the latter, what does that look like? “For a true partnership, the relationship must be a win-win: It has to work for both parties and be a marriage of equals,” Citi’s Mohit Narula said during a panel session on Monday. “Those are the partnerships that usually succeed.” 

This week’s edition highlights the dynamic, wide-ranging nature of tech relationships and spotlights a variety of different models, from partnerships to acquisitions. Let’s dive in: