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The new Ikea catalog arrived at our house yesterday. I haven’t thumbed through it yet, but I doubt anything in it will grab my attention the way the cover did.

It wasn’t the photo that got my attention, with its predictable assortment of ultra-hipster types looking uber-cool around a Norråker dining table. It was the tagline above:“Designed for people, not consumers.”

And that’s about all you need to know about the retail ethos in 2016. Plus maybe one more thing: It’s as fitting for a financial institution as it is for a Swedish seller of you-build-it furniture. Possibly more. Bank customers today expect their FI to provide a full set of tools to serve their banking needs. Ikea customers expect a cartoon-illustrated instruction sheet and a throw-away Allen wrench.

Banking for consumers is a commodity business. Banking for people is a relationship-building enterprise. It’s harder, but more rewarding and much more durable.

If your business is about banking for people, here are several excellent reasons why you should register immediately to attend the Bank Customer Experience Summit, an event dedicated to exploring next-gen self-service, the reinvented branch, digital banking, mobile payments — and the people who use them:

1) Customer relationships

Brian Read, head of retail banking at Umpqua Bank, will deliver the opening keynote, “Capturing the Hearts and Minds of Next-Generation Consumers.”

Brian will draw from Umpqua’s experience to explain the art of attracting millennials through an emphasis on community, empathy, environment and innovation.

Our closing keynote will feature advice for winning millennials, presented by the leading authority on this much-analyzed demographic, actual millennials.

In “The Last Word on BCX: Millennials Speak for Themselves,” students from the University of Chicago will put away their smartphones for an entire hour to share their banking preferences and peeves in a frank and informal conversation.

In information-rich sessions between the keynotes, we’ll discuss how to walk the loyalty tight-wire between two important, but not always aligned, groups — digital natives who live and breathe fintech and older baby boomers who are sometimes baffled by it.

2) Competitive advantage

In BCX breakouts, you’ll learn from digital-only challenger banks and new nontraditional providers who are making inroads with underserved populations and young adults who mistrust established FIs.

We’ll separate the up-and-comers from the come-ons to help you refine your competitive strategy and sharpen your focus on the things that mean the most to your target audience.


3) Fintech leadership

Online banking reigns as the No. 1 channel among 32 percent of customers. But the branch, ATM and mobile, closely ranked at 17, 13 and 12 percent, respectively, represent an increasingly symbiotic — and therefore, arguably more powerful — retail banking coalition.

The Bank Customer Experience Summit is your opportunity to learn more about leading-edge technologies that can link your delivery channels for unbeatable service and functionality — and elevate your financial institution above both traditional and non-traditional challengers.


4) Industry experts

Our speaker lineup is populated with well-respected executives representing the full range of financial services-related disciplines. They’ve been there, done that, and have the knowledge and insight to help others get there and do it, too. We could name-drop, but to see the full breadth of expertise, you really should check out our speaker page.

5) Networking time

Our speakers won’t do all the talking. You’ll have plenty of time to talk to them and other executive-level attendees, as well, in the intimate summit setting. Take advantage of opportunities to make new contacts and connections at the opening night cocktail and hors d’oeuvres hour; breakfast, luncheon and dinner breaks; and at our reception and awards dinner party at The Art Institute of Chicago.

6) Chicago in September

Chicago is a hot time, anytime. When the weather cools in September it’s perfect for a walk down the Magnificent Mile. Or to Lake Michigan; Water Tower Place; Shedd Aquarium; Millennium Park; Navy Pier; Lincoln Park (and zoo); “Tilt,” the new attraction at Hancock Tower (you do it; I’ll wait over at the bar); The Art Institute (see above); and the Field Museum. Want more? Go here.

7) Limited-time discount!

Through Aug. 19, you’ll receive a $100 discount (no code required) when you register for the Bank Customer Experience Summit. Reserve your place now — we’ll see you next month in Chicago!

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