The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Technology shifts banks have missed that present bank dis-intermediation opportunities

with 17 comments

I’ve always been in banking and finance, working in UK, Canada, and US.

I am happily with Equitable Bank in Toronto, Canada (pardon the site – more to come).  My role is Digital Channel Strategy & Management.  Also more to come on that.

Previously I co-founded CommunityLend that offered P2P lending  in Canada.  The P2P business line was too constrained by Canadian government regulation so that company has successfully moved on to other and greener pastures in retail financing through

Before that I spent many good years with BMO including the launch of mbanx, the first North American digital only bank.

I am focussed on creating the optimal experience for payments, online and mobile banking.

The views, opinions, and information within this blog are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer.  I see this blog as an extension of my own daily learning, by working with the internet community.

I believe in the power of the internet, because it empowers customers, like nothing that has ever come before it. Its easy to underestimate this change, because its beyond the experience of all of us to date. Internet provides choice, seamless information, seamless communication, and constant simple access. Nothing in human experience has brought those attributes together before.

I believe that Bank channel efforts ought to be first and foremost focussed on internet, and then levered across the other channels.  This is the reverse of how many (still most) Banks operate.

This final paragraph is leftover from earlier version of this page, but I am leaving here because I remain unconvinced that all banks have absorbed this.

I also believe the business strategy has to be re-considered taking internet into account. To pretend internet is just “another channel” is a grave error, that most banks encounter. Internet is a highly disruptive technology, and presents a fundamental shift in how we offer banking to our customers.


Some earlier speaking engagements:

Digital Money Forum 2008 – April 23rd/ 24th London.

Forrester Research Financial Forum, New York – June 2007

Apr 19th 2007: Scottsdale, Az    web-2_0-and-why-banks-should-care.ppt

Feb 07th, 2007: Geneva, Switzerland

Mar 07th, 2007: Private Webinar, US
Private Webinar for several US Banks, in conjunction with Saber & Associates

Written by Colin Henderson

January 28, 2006 at 18:18

17 Responses

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  1. Hello Colin,

    I agree, and we are in good company with for example M.E. Porter who some years ago convincingly described that Internet is a disruptive “technology”.

    I work for a bank/insurance company too and although we have built a successful online banking model it clearly fulfills online needs of an old generation.

    Pushing traditional products through a “new” online channel might have an expiration date not too far ahead.

    We see already that Paypal can successfully take over the payment function of banks. Zopa, Prosper, Kiva and such are now on their way to prove that lending and financing can also be done without banks.

    These are models that take into account the (perceived) finance needs of the generation that is becoming increasingly more and more the larger portion of bank clients.

    Perhaps the best banking internet model will not emerge from banks …

    david garceran nieuwenburg

    October 25, 2006 at 22:25

  2. RE: “Perhaps the best banking internet model will not emerge from banks … ”

    This statement sums up why I am so keen on this blog, and perhaps in some small way ideas will emerge to change that.


    October 25, 2006 at 22:31

  3. 100% in agreement. However, there is extreme vulnerability and risk for the customer as well as the institution. You might want to check out Passfaces.


    October 26, 2006 at 18:35

  4. The bank is becoming less important in its role of middleman between demand and supply of money – at least, in the medieval bank model as set up by some rich Italian families hundreds of years ago.

    A newer middleman function for a bank could be modelled after the eBay model. Let the expertise and decision making of demand and supply reside with these parties themselves.

    This would apply to retail banking but also to corporate banking. Toyota could lend money to IBM as could Vodafone to Singapore Airlines. These companies have as much financial expertise for their specific needs as any bank – a new bank role could be to connect these people.

    Again, in the retail space we can follow and to see if a model like this works. As of now I would be surprised if it would not.

    david garceran nieuwenburg

    October 26, 2006 at 22:07

  5. […] Which banks understand the web lifestyle? ← – One in three read blogs: Environics […]

  6. […] On bankwatch a discussion is taking place on banks and their understanding of the current web lifestyle. No doubt that ING Direct is one of the most successful business models for a bank built around the Internet. Yet, it has its roots in the time before the “Web 2.0 paradigm”. It is a best practice of providing traditional bank services via (non traditional – although, how non-traditional is a phone?) direct channels. […]

  7. […] Nog even terug naar het buitenland, naar enkele andere serieuze internationale blogs over banking. De Belgische KBC-bank koos er voor om zelf in dit gat te springen en begon haar eigen Analistenblog (onderdeel van het businessportal van de krantentitel De Standaard Online). In datzelfde portal ook vergelijkbare blogs van Dexia, Fortis en ING. In Canada kwam ik PaymentsNews tegen, een blog van consultancy- en researchbureau Glenbrook Payments Professionals. Interessant zijn ook Bankwatch, een persoonlijke blog van de blog Bankervision van James Gardner, Director for Retail Banking bij Getronics, Digital Money Blog van strategist Jane Adams voor IT-consultancybureau Consult Hyperion en The Better Banking Blog van de Australische Charis Palmer, zij is managing director van het Australische analistenbureau Online Banking Review. In Zwitserland vond ik tot slot nog […]

  8. […] Colin Henderson at BankWatch writes: I had considered microformats might be a method of managing these interactions. Could the consumer requirement I have outlined be brokered by a Microformat? That’s the open question I have. […]

  9. Hi,

    I am interested in purchasing textlink advertising at some specific pages of . let me know if interested so that we can discuss it further. I can make a good offer to make it worth your time.

    Let me know!


    David Krase

    September 7, 2007 at 06:51

  10. @David … This blog is intended to be independent and objective. I don’t believe in blog advertising for that reason. Thanks for the offer.


    September 7, 2007 at 10:41

  11. Let me assur you that banking is going to become banking2.0 sooner than people think. It is coming to central banks too. As a first central bank board member in the world I started my won blog a year ago ( and we are now working at the NBP to launch Intranet that will have social networking functions.
    Krzysztof Rybinski
    Deputy Governor
    National Bank of Poland

    Krzysztof Rybinski

    October 5, 2007 at 14:30

  12. @Krzysztof … many thanks for your comment. I have to admit to doing some checking first when I saw your sig, so pardon my delay in responding.
    I think its fantastic you are encouraging internal social networking, because thats a core element of the ‘Cluetrain Manifesto” vision – networked employees, + networked customers.


    October 6, 2007 at 10:10

  13. Hello Collin

    I am student (Master information System ) in Stevens institute International. I have been worked in a banking sector for 18 years and now I have selected my thesis topic “the techonological future in the banking sector”.

    I am telling you this because maybe you can help me to get websites or another sources that can provide good information about that.



    April 10, 2008 at 12:17

  14. […] The Bankwatch by Colin Henderson […]

  15. […] Which banks understand the web lifestyle? ← Microsoft buys Powerset, and introduces new things for Bank web sites to consider […]

  16. Hello,
    I am emailing to see if you have any advertising opportunities currently. I am looking to promote a car insurance comparison site that is about to relaunch next month. If you could send me details of any text link placements you can offer along with pricing information, I can make an immediate decision and pay by Paypal today. Ideally we would be looking for a link within a sentence of text, placed on your homepage only.



    June 4, 2012 at 18:52

  17. […] Service Authority. And a special thanks to my blogpals: Chris Skinner (UK), Scott Loftesness (USA), Colin Henderson (Canada) and Aneace Haddad (Singapore). It was a pleasure to sit on a panel with them today on the […]

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