How to Rank Your Digital Banking Team Against the Competition: Defensive Lineup


By Eric Brandt /D3 Banking Technology

Last week at FintekNews we discussed what positions would make up the ultimate digital banking offensive unit. While a skilled offensive team that can put points on the board is crucial for a win, there will be no victory without a strong defensive unit that keeps the competition at bay. Check out our take on what positions are needed to make up a winning digital banking defense.

Defensive Coordinator – Digital Game Plan

The primary role of the defensive coordinator is to develop the defensive game plan designed to neutralize and control the competition’s offense. More often than not, if a defensive coordinator doesn’t have a solid game plan, then the team will end up on the wrong end of the score.

Banks and credit unions must understand how to quickly respond to developments in the marketplace. As with a defensive coordinator, the digital game plan at these institutions must include the ability to rapidly address the offensive plays of the competition and new technologies that unexpectantly emerge. To accomplish this, banks and credit unions must have a digital game plan that reaches across their organization, transforming it to play the game with digital top of mind.

Linebackers – Calling Audibles

Linebackers are often the leaders of the defense and are integral to its success. A great linebacker must have a versatile skillset, such as tackling, playing in coverage and calling audibles to make sure the unit is lined up correctly for the next play.

As with the linebacker, the ability to deliver a wide range of highly configurable notifications such as low balance, purchase, transfer and fraud alerts is essential in defending customers and members against oversights that may have significant negative impacts to their financial situation.

Calling the right audible for the defense just in time to prevent a big gain can be the difference between winning and losing. In the digital banking space, notifications deliver “audibles” to protect consumers from big losses which increases the chances for financial institutions to build the type of loyalty that retains customers and members over generations.

Defensive Secondary – Putting the Players in Control

The defensive secondary is the last line of protection for the end zone. A defensive back must be quick, agile and up to date on the receiver’s tendencies, health, etc. All of these skills must be put in play in order for the defensive secondary to control the receivers and prevent the long pass that scores a touchdown or the short one over the middle that allows the offense to gain a critical first down.

As is the case for the safeties that make up the defensive secondary, consumers must be kept up to date on their financial position. This includes not only credit and debit card activities – especially any that look suspicious – but also information about the customer and member’s own spending patterns in critical areas. Institutions that offer card control capabilities and financial management tools protect themselves and their customers and members by providing information that can be acted on to prevent fraudsters from the big score and help consumers not stumble when it comes to keeping their financial positions stable.

Defensive Line – Blitzing the Offense

The defensive line is the first point of defense against the opposing offense. A good defensive line will put pressure on the opposing team, limit the offensive coordinator’s options and keep the ball from moving up the field.

Banks and credit unions’ fraud protection strategy needs to be strong, like a solid defensive line, to properly protect their customers or members. Combined with active monitoring of cardholder accounts, a comprehensive fraud prevention strategy limits the options of criminals decreasing the points of vulnerability within institutions’ digital channels that are exposed and exploited by criminals.

Special Teams – The Game Changers

While the special teams unit typically sees the least amount of action during a game, many games can be decided by their activity on the field. The special team skills available to financial institutions often manifest in emerging technologies that can change the game for the credit unions and banks that make use of them. For example, voice interfaces are already changing the game when it comes to delivering digital banking services, changing the way consumers think about the user experience and increasing the accuracy of authenticating a consumer without adding friction.

Another example is artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA). These technologies are changing how institutions deal with high volume, repetitive tasks while at the same time unlocking the capabilities of machine learning in areas such as customer service, personalization of interactions and predictive analytics. These form the special teams institutions need to keep the game progressing in their favor.

To win the championship game of digital banking, financial institutions must account for all key positions in their offensive and defensive lineups. If any of these positions are lacking, then they risk becoming irrelevant to consumers. Though competition can be steep, by strategically leveraging their key players and positions, banks and credit unions can ensure they are on the right side of the outcome.


Eric Brandt is the senior marketing specialist for D3 Banking Technology, provider of the industry’s most advanced digital banking platform.