8 FinTech Leaders You Need to Follow

Alan Jackson September 10th, 2014

It’s possible you’re not entirely sure what it means when someone in your bank’s IT or marketing department refers to “FinTech,” but you almost certainly make use of it. FinTech is a combination of Financial and Technology and has become ubiquitous for any technology applied to financial services, it’s the technology financial institutions use to facilitate transactions and customer interaction. It’s a massive concept to grasp, and like every other aspect of technology,

FinTech keeps evolving at a phenomenal rate. Just last week, 15 new FinTech startups raised a total of $265 million in equity, Finovate reports. And more than 6,500 attendees from 50-plus countries are expected to converge in Las Vegas this November for Money 20/20, a conference where FinTech is sure to be a hot topic.

How’s an everyday banker supposed to keep up?

Fortunately, you can stay abreast of what’s happening with FinTech, and better understand how it impacts your organization, by following some key thought leaders:

JP Nicols, founder/CEO of Clientific

“Innovating new ways to increase revenues and reduce expenses will require some amount of short-term investment one way or the other, but the challenge is investing in the things that will drive long-term value.”

With more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, Nicols’ insights have been published in some of the industry’s top media outlets, including American Banker, Investment News and Bank Innovation. Nicols tracks, predicts and provides perspective on industry innovations and FinTech trends. He is also co-founder of Bank Innovators’ Council and on the advisory board of NextBankUSA.

Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or through his blog. Nicols is also an active blogger on Forward Banker so you can follow him here as well.

Brad Leimer, vice president of online/mobile strategy for Mechanics Bank

“We’re living in a transformational era for financial services. Our children will look back at these past decades and laugh at how we banked”

Leading digital channel strategy for Mechanics Bank, Leimer focuses on developing and integrating technology to improve the client experience and enhance profitability of digital channels. A respected writer and speaker on banking technology trends, he blogs about FinTech, web development, marketing and more.

You can also follow Leimer on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Editors note: We were just made aware that Mr. Leimer is now with Santander Bank as the Head of Innovation as of September 2014. Congrats Brad on the new role!

Ron Shevlin, senior analyst, Aite Group

“Why don’t banks innovate? It is because a) they’re too stupid to innovate, b) they don’t know how to innovate, c) they’re too risk adverse to innovate, or d) there’s been no need to innovate. I think the answer is D”

Shevlin is the author of several books including Snarketing 2.0 which spawned his highly regarded blog of the same name. He’s a frequent keynote and breakout speaker at events such as BAI Retail Delivery, Forrester Finance Forum, and even Deluxe Exchange 2015. While he’ll present it with his patented snarky take, his insights are usually spot on…especially when in the marketing arena.

You can follow Shevlin on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Jim Marous, publisher of The Financial Brand

“The good news for financial institutions is that, while they may be late to the party, no one is better suited than they are to provide digital wallets. Our research shows that consumers trust banks with their data more than they trust retailers, technology companies or alternative payment providers.”

Marous is an acclaimed FI strategist and author. Companies around the world turn to him for guidance on how to use data to drive results, including acquisition, engagement, building greater share of wallet and customer retention. He’s been in the industry as long as I can remember and has really grown into one of the great minds in the industry.

He began teaming with The Financial Brand in 2013 to create Retail Banking Strategies by Jim Marous. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Brett King, founder and CEO of Moven

“Banking has to work when and where you need it. The best advice and the best service in financial services happens in real time and is based on customer behavior, using principles of Big Data, mobility, and gamification.”

The innovator behind the world’s first downloadable bank account, King is also a bestselling author and radio show host. In 2012, American Banker named him Innovator of the Year. He’s behind the popular book and now internet radio show, Breaking Banks where he talks with some of the best and brightest in the industry.

Catch his edgy insights on Twitter, LinkedIn, or on his blog Banking4Tomorrow.

Jim Bruene, founder, Finovate and Online Banking Report

“Mobile is, and will be, a huge driver for specialty PFM apps. App stores help consumers find the services, and mobile makes them less daunting to use.”

Bruene has been on the leading edge of FinTech since 1994, when the online banking industry was just beginning to take off. His company launched the Finovate conference series in 2007 to highlight emerging technologies, products and innovative companies. Bruene continues to be a leading voice in FinTech.

Editors Note: The Online Banking Report is now part of The Financial Brand and has been rebranded as the Digital Banking Report.

You can follow his insights on NetBanker, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Chris Skinner, chair, Financial Services Club

“…the hardest part is to build the vision because often we will be hampered by the thinking of where we are today. We have branches, we have contact centers, [and] we have an online bank. You have to just dump that thinking from the start, when building your vision, or you will fail. That means bringing in fresh thinking, which will not be ‘dogmaed’ by internal constraints or history.”

Chief executive of Balatro Ltd., and co-founder of www.shapingtomorrow.com, Skinner has built a reputation for forward-thinking in the financial services industry. He’s a regular commentator on banking trends on media ranging from the BBC to Bloomberg, and has delivered keynote presentations at a variety of industry forums.

Blogging on the Financial Services Club site, Skinner provides insight into digital banking and FinTech trends. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Sam Maule, manager, Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting

“Banks should reach out to their customers, find the great storytellers and let the customers be their voices whenever possible. Listen closely to what customers have to say: it’s surprising what they find of value.”

Maule brings a no-nonsense edge to FinTech, and adroitly uses social media to preach his message of practical innovation. On his blog, you’ll find a refreshing blend of trend information, as well as insight into the latest technologies and how FIs are using them.

You can also follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Keeping an eye on key influencers can help you gain the insight you need without a second career in market trends analysis. Find a few you like and follow their insights in a few channels to stay on top of things and help your financial institution keep an eye on new opportunities.

The industry is filled with great voices. This blog would be unreasonably long if I tried to cover all the influencers which is why I tried to cover the ones that I think are the best out there. I’d love to hear those you think I missed though and why you love their insights or you can stop by our listly list to rank them or add to the list:


This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.