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AiThority Interview with Marc Butterfield, SVP of Innovation and Disruption at First National Bank of Omaha

Marc Butterfield Qcard

Know My Company

Hi, Marc. Tell us about your journey in technology and how you started at FNBO.

I’ve been with First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) for over 18 years and held various roles handling consumer payments and lending, lifecycle management, product strategy and market R&D. I now hold a role as Senior Vice President of digital and payment solutions.

From my perspective, it’s important to be cautious when we evaluate new technology in the financial space, yet we must embrace it rather than fear or try to deter it, as emerging technology has the power to enable greater accuracy and automation, and improved customer experiences in the banking sector.

What is the foundation of your relationship with Upstart? What kind of expectations you had before leveraging Powered by Upstart?

On the Marketing side, it’s crucial for FNBO to create a brand that develops intimacy with our customers. We put them first, and work to develop long-term relationships with existing and new customers. The first thought that came to mind after hearing about Upstart’s approach to consumer lending is how beneficial it would be to our customers, as well as to FNBO.

With Upstart’s AI-based model and a fully digital customer experience, we’d be able to approve and fund more loans and increase the lifetime value of our customers. The decision to partner with them was an easy one.

AI-as-a-service is a shiny attraction for most companies in the lending marketplace. Do you think Upstart’s AI solution will help you scale your own Digital Transformation journey?

We believe that AI is capable of increasing access to credit, reducing loss rates and pricing more accurately to a customer’s risk profile. Banking institutions have realized that it’s not just a shiny attraction – the reality is, banks who fear AI run the risk of sliding into obsolescence. This is the future of banking, and we have the case studies to prove it.

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FICO Credit score was developed in 1989 and is the way that most lenders assess risk. How is AI disrupting the FICO score?

The FICO score is a backward-looking metric that primarily takes past behavior into account, and, in some cases, provides an inaccurate representation of a borrower’s creditworthiness. Our partnership with Upstart indicates an effort to move towards a more accurate model that benefits both FNBO and borrowers.

The model uses data science to determine an individual’s future potential, which allows us to approve a line of credit for a much larger group of people. It’s time for us as an industry to consider the mass adoption of alternative lending data to supplement the age-old FICO score.

Banking and lending marketplaces are heavily disrupted by Big Data, AI, Blockchain, and Predictive Intelligence technologies. What kind of future are you building do you foresee working with at FNBO and other institutions?

Consumer banks are embracing digital transformation in order to acquire and retain customers and adapt to a changing landscape and new behaviors. In turn, customer expectations are also higher than ever before, requiring adoption of intelligent technologies that enable an effortless digital experience. This is our premise for the adoption of Upstart’s technology. We’re listening to our customers who give us feedback each day and incorporating solutions that fit their needs.

Data leakages and phishing assaults are very common in your industry. How do you leverage technology to combat against these risks. What kind of support do you get from Upstart?

Technology has flooded the financial space, and while most organizations are reaping the benefits, the reality is that we are bound to see more news around consumer and company data being breached and exploited. This makes it critical for every player in the industry to take a proactive approach to securing their data and to also have a solution in place in case they are a victim of a breach.

Upstart prioritizes privacy for each institution that uses its platform and has its privacy policy published online for everyone to see exactly what information is collected, how the information is used and how the information is protected.

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The Crystal Gaze

What digital technology start-ups and labs are you keenly following?

I like to explore outside the banking industry to identify trends. I’m especially curious about the travel and entertainment industries to see how digital and technology is disrupting those business models. From a banking perspective, the team and I focus on startup accelerators (like The Startup Collaborative in Omaha) and we partner with other banks and organizations to expand our Fintech network.

What other emerging technologies within your industry are you interested in?

Blockchain and the benefits it will provide will be valuable to our industry. Further out, I am excited to see the impact AR/MR (augmented reality/mixed reality) will have within the banking sector.

Do you think AI-enabled Fintech will become ubiquitous to every Lending/Retail banking operation? What are the new emerging markets for these technology markets?

In order to remain competitive and to acquire new customers and retain current ones, banking institutions must adopt AI and other emerging technologies and incorporate them into the services they offer.

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

In my work calendar, I block off 1 hour “office time meetings” with myself that allows me to refocus, check emails, or just unwind a bit.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

David Brear

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Thank you, Marc! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.

Marc is responsible for leading the Bank’s Innovation & Disruption team and the Bank’s digital transformation initiatives. He is accountable for accelerating innovation throughout the enterprise, identifying disruptive threats to the Bank’s business models and leading change management and strategic thought leadership to drive process and cultural evolution necessary for effective innovation practices.

Marc began his career at First National Bank in 2001, joining First National from Nexterna, a wireless technology company owned by Union Pacific Railroad. In his tenure at First National Bank, Marc has served in leadership positions in Marketing, Credit Risk and Product Development.

Marc completed his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a Marketing specialization from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska and its affiliates have more than $23 billion in assets and nearly 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.

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