The 11 Commandments of Digital Banking for Your Business

Darryl Knopp, senior director for portfolio marketing at FICO, provides guidance based on experience

The trouble with following conventional wisdom is that it is always changing. Proximity to the branch matters. Branches are closing. Multi-channel. Omni-channel. Digital first. Digital only. Mobile first. Mobile only. Friction is bad for customer experience (CX). Friction is good for risk management. Trust is critical. Trust is overrated. Customers want automation. Customers want control.

Blindly following conventional wisdom never produces a straight path and rarely results in you arriving at your desired destination, which explains the billions of dollars that companies sink into failed digital transformation initiatives each year. Conventional wisdom can’t reliably get you where you need to go. Earned wisdom can. This is the wisdom that comes from trying and failing; from discovering, first-hand, what works and what doesn’t work. It takes time. And it can be painful.

Fortunately, FICO has had the opportunity to partner with hundreds of leading financial institutions across the globe in their ambitious, often messy, highly educational digital transformation initiatives. Through this experience, we have gained a deep understanding of what works and what doesn’t in the aggregate.

We have distilled this earned wisdom down into our Digital Banking Commandments — practical, specific, often unconventional rules for digital transformation in the financial services industry. We trust these commandments will be valuable in shaping your digital strategies because, to paraphrase a favourite movie quote of ours, these go to 11.

On your journey to the right platform, start by looking for these crucial 11 commandments:

  1. Digital lift-and-shift is not a strategy: Digital is an opportunity to build something fundamentally new. Do not carry over analogue assumptions or digitize a legacy, paper-based process.
  2. Friction — not inherently good or evil: Unintentional friction in the customer experience is always bad. However, thoughtfully designed points of friction can be extremely valuable for managing risk and even making customers feel safe.
  3. Be personable in this impersonal channel: Personalization isn’t about selling products. It’s about making customers feel comfortable and valued during every interaction they have with you.
  4. Respect the data: The data that customers share with you, explicitly and implicitly, is an asset. Demonstrate to customers that you value it and are using it to provide them with value in exchange.
  5. Engage me, teach me — feed my TikTok obsession: Customers want to master their financial lives. They want content that will teach them how, but they have very high standards. The usual financial literacy webpages will not cut it.
  6. Use your branch wisely: Branches can be a differentiator, but only if they are used in the service of your customers’ goals rather than your own.
  7. Respect my time and match my effort: Digital is not about streamlining interactions to the maximum extent possible. It’s about optimizing each interaction so the value the customer gets is commensurate with the time and effort they invest.
  8. Pester me…but only when I want it: When it comes to money, people want to know what’s happening. This is especially true in a faceless channel. Timely communication, through the right channels, makes customers feel in control.
  9. Be fascinated by your customers, not your technology: The most sophisticated digital technology cannot replace an obsessive focus on and knowledge of your target customers. Do not let that muscle get flabby.
  10. Make me feel safe: Trust in financial services, at a foundational level, is about safety. There’s a reason bank branches have vaults with big metal doors. Find ways to replicate that feeling of safety, digitally.
  11. Come together like a symphony orchestra: It’s painfully obvious to customers when a digital experience is disjointed. They can see the seams. Invest in integration and orchestration.

The above 11 commandments should equip you to get ready to get started.

Digital transformation never stops. Customer expectations evolve. New competitors emerge. And legacy systems and processes age. Success requires continual reinvention. Adaptation. A willingness to experiment. FICO has helped the largest financial institutions in the world successfully navigate the challenges of digital transformation. Are you ready to join them?

Prior to joining FICO in 2017, Darryl Knopp held key roles at financial institutions through North America and Asia, including Chief Risk Officer of Grow Financial, a Canadian Fintech specializing in online lending and building software for financial institutions.

For information on FICO’s digital banking solutions, visit

About FICO                                                                                                                                             

FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956 and based in Silicon Valley, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO’s South African offices are headquartered in Illovo, Sandton.

FICO and Decision Central are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

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