Do you ever stop and think, “wow . . . we really have it easy these days?” Yes, the stay-at-home orders, lack of travel, and COVID-19 doesn’t make life a walk-in-the-park now. The uncertain economy and the pending election creates a higher state of anxiety, but it could be a lot worse.
I had one of those “it could be a lot worse” moments during the summer.
It was movie night and for those who think that’s a breeze, they clearly have never brokered a movie selection peace deal between two teenagers with completely opposite movie taste. Apparently my desire to watch another Star Wars movie or any of the 15 Die Hard movies didn’t reach their pernickety Gene Shalit-esque film acceptance level. This is a challenge that would try the patience of James Baker and Madeleine Albright. I’m not trying to take anything away from previous Nobel Peace Prize winners, but I’ll offer my services to any of them who would like some additional expert tutelage in negotiation tactics.
During their exchanges and brokering, I decided to take a moment complete some mobile banking tasks that were on my to-do list. I opened my mobile banking app (facial recognition for the password) and deposited a check. Then, I reviewed my checking account to make sure my paycheck was automatically deposited and the appropriate funds were automatically moved to investment accounts. After completing those daunting tasks that consumed (at least) 90 seconds, I mustered enough strength to move some funds from my checking to a savings account and pay some bills. This may have taken a dozen or so taps on my iPhone. Let’s not trivialize these mobile banking accomplishments. I’m balancing a box of Junior Mints in one hand, my financial security in another, and half of my brain is focusing on the endless “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie” debate between my children.
Mobile Banking Then and Now
I’m making light of the situation, but the ease of use and the power of mobile banking today can’t be denied. It could be worse – 27 years ago, those tasks would have taken hours to complete at numerous banks and in countless lines. I also would have only been able to see a financial representative during “banking hours” – this is usually only on days divisible by 3 and between the hours of 10am and 4:00pm. Today I was able to finish these tasks while prepping for movie night.
Mobile banking usage continues to climb during the pandemic and likely will not slow down once this is over. “Whether through a bank or a third-party finance app, like Zelle or Venmo, online banking has become a necessity for most during lockdowns.”* In a study by Civic Science, 64% of people are using a mobile device to interact with their bank funds.
In February, 22% said they completed 75% or more of their banking on a mobile device. By March, more than 27% said they were doing 75% or more of their banking on a mobile device. Like other sectors of the economy, the pandemic is resulting in less foot traffic to the physical banks.** I probably could have applied to refinance my home from the couch while my kids were selecting a movie. Rocket Mortgage, SoFi, and a few others are making the loan process so much easier to do from a mobile device.
Like author Daniel Rowles discusses in “Mobile Marketing,” e-commerce is still about selling. The mobile world and connectivity we have with mobile today isn’t taking away a desire or a need to use banks and financial institutions, the innovations made in mobile is changing the way we interact with this industry.
What Would A.Ham Think?
Alexander Hamilton was our first Secretary of the Treasury. George Washington asked Hamilton to essentially fix the economy after the Revolutionary War. Hamilton’s plan had 3 parts:
- Absorbing the state’s debts.
- Aiding infant industries.
- Creating a central bank.
Of course this wasn’t met without great criticism during that time. One of his greatest rivals, Thomas Jefferson, was strongly opposed to this in favor of state’s rights. Alexander Hamilton is widely considered the Father of American banking. His vision for our economy and the ability for individuals to invest their own funds into their financial future can’t be understated.
I’ve previously blogged here about my love of history, the trip I took with my kids to see the Hamilton musical in Chicago, and also about the lessons that Alexander Hamilton has taught us 200+ years after his duel with Aaron Burr. So I wondered, “what would Alexander Hamilton think of today’s banking system?” I began online searching for descendants of Alexander Hamilton. I found Doug Hamilton – the 5x great grandson of Alexander Hamilton! Doug Hamilton is retired from IBM and (get this) lives about 30 minutes from me in Central Ohio. His grandkids go to the same school district as my kids, we like the same small pizza place in nearby Galena (Cheshire Market Pizza), and after connecting on LinkedIn and becoming friends on Facebook, he agreed to a couple of Zoom calls so we could talk about Alexander Hamilton.
The recording below is with Doug Hamilton’s approval.
Today, Doug Hamilton spends a great deal of time as a 3rd grade tutor for one of his grandchildren during the pandemic. He still takes calls from the History Channel (like this week) to talk about Alexander Hamilton’s legacy. Doug is also a member of The Society of the Cincinnati – an organization that is “dedicated to the memory of the heroes who secured the independence of the United States.”
I can’t thank Doug enough for accepting a super cold LinkedIn request and friending on Facebook. Talking to Doug is like reading a history book. He was gracious and more than happy to discuss his Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather, Alexander Hamilton. Thank you Doug – I owe you a cup of coffee when the pandemic is over!