Beyond the Byline with American Banker's Miriam Cross
While we are all eager to bid farewell to what has been a tumultuous year, we’d be remiss not to acknowledge the fact that COVID-19 forced acceleration in digital transformation across industries. One industry that has seen a rapid degree of digital transformation in particular has been that of financial services.
Last month, Miriam Cross, who covers bank technology and fintech at the top banking trade, American Banker, obliged us by responding to some of our burning questions on banking technology, related trends and her path to American Banker. Here’s what the Washington-based reporter shared with us.
Prosek: Could you tell us a little about your journey to your current role at American Banker?
Miriam: I spent seven years at Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, first as a fact-checker and then as a full-time writer. One of my projects was co-writing Kiplinger's annual Best Banks package, where we picked the top traditional banks, online banks and credit unions for consumers. I joined American Banker as a technology reporter in February 2020.
Prosek: What has been your favorite Fintech and/or Banking Technology story to cover so far?
Miriam: A recent favorite was a story about accessible banking. It was fascinating to learn what is actually required of banks for web and mobile accessibility (the answer is, it's murky), what the best practices are and how banks are using technology to creatively serve customers with disabilities. For example, a Chase branch in Washington DC uses remote interpretation services and Bluetooth technology to help staff and customers who are deaf communicate with those who are hearing.
Prosek: Given how COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we will work and conduct business in the future, in your opinion, how are you expecting the banking and related regulatory landscape to change?
Miriam: A greater reliance on digital. Customers have been and will continue to be more comfortable relying on digital banking to complete tasks they normally would have done in the branch -- from depositing checks, to opening accounts, to signing documents online -- and apps and web tools will become more sophisticated to meet these needs. There will be more and better ways for customers to communicate with their banks and bankers, including through chatbots and video.
Prosek: Among all of the emerging technologies – data and analytics, AI, ML, robotics and blockchain – which do you see being the most impactful to the industry?
Miriam: It's been fascinating to see the different ways AI can be applied, from virtual assistants that converse in natural language, to programs that pick up on emotions and nuances in customer communications (in some ways better than humans can), to more-intuitive search tools.
Prosek: Prosek would love to know your preference around how you’d like to be pitched and if there are any specific themes/trends that you are following closely at the moment.
Miriam: Pitches with a niche angle or fresh twist on a broad topic are always welcome. We generally need a bank's voice in a story, so I'm always on the lookout for pitches that include a bank doing something innovative with executives who are willing to speak about it.