As a former real estate developer and home builder, I’ve had the opportunity to build a variety of homes to accommodate different needs. Generally, home builds can be broken into one of two categories—a cookie-cutter track house or a uniquely designed custom build. A track house is a standardized blueprint- slight adjustments could be made, but ultimately most track houses have similar layouts and designs, with small customizations that the homeowner could make like colors and finishes. A custom build on the other hand, allows a home builder to design to the needs of their specific lifestyle. A large family can design a home that fit the needs of each family member, a car enthusiast can build a larger garage, and a chef can build a kitchen built to their needs. While a custom build can be more costly and require a much longer timeline, the homeowner can get a home that perfectly accommodates their living needs.

Today, as I look at the banking industry and the way business models are shifting, I see that our blueprint and infrastructure – has to evolve with it.

Five years ago, if you had looked under the hood of every bank in America, we’d see the banking version of a track house – same type of systems, same type of capabilities, with the same type of people working in them. This was particularly the case with community and regional banks – many have been reliant on technology providers who standardized products and services in order to provide thousands of smaller banks access to competitive technology. Fast forward to today, two years after a global pandemic that catapulted us into a digitized future, it’s fair to say standardization in banking no longer exists.

A survey by McKinsey & Co. highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic sped up the adoption of new technologies by several years – and changed business forever. Like many sectors, banks and financial institutions had to adapt and accelerate their digital transformation strategy amid pandemic-driven disruption.

Take geographical footprints for example – while banks used to be limited to their specific area or region, digital capabilities have eliminated that limit. Banks can now tap into wider markets and offer services at a digital capacity. And while there will always be a place for in-person financial services technologies are making client experiences even better in some cases.

Additionally, with the implementation of digitized systems and processes, banking is becoming a very niche play, and a specialized business model is becoming more apparent across the sector. We’re shifting to custom builds. The fact is, by specializing, it allows banks to have fewer competitors and create additional revenues of income.

Whether a bank is hyper local, specifically for fintech, or small business focused like us, the idea that you can now pick and choose your financial institution (FI) based on your needs, interests and lifestyle is far more appealing to the customer and can help banks at the same time focus on profitability within their specialty.

The world of technology in banking has also seen a dramatic change over the years. While there used to be three-five major technology providers that offered products to banks of all sizes – that’s no longer the case. There are now hundreds of technology providers that banks can choose from, all of which banks offer the ability to build solutions for their unique audiences. From end-to-end solutions and core technologies to tech that handles mobile app development and various types of wires and loan services – the possibilities really are endless.