Kevin McGuire
Chief Information Officer and Chief Customer Officer, Cambridge Savings Bank
Industry experience: 27

In just two years, Cambridge Savings Bank’s new digital-only brand Ivy Bank had hauled in over $500 million in deposits. Kevin McGuire is the executive responsible for the technology that made it happen. Key to that success, McGuire said, was keeping the initial Ivy Bank offering simple so that it could be brought to market quickly – its 2021 launch coincided with Americans’ fervid search for high-yield deposit products. Now, the bank is seeing that investment pay dividends for its Cambridge Savings customers and staff as it looks to improve Ivy Bank. McGuire joined Cambridge Savings after roles at John Hancock and MassMutual.

Q: What are the major tech components that enable Ivy Bank?
You needed good, strong Know Your Customer capability and good, strong fraud detection and management. Associated with that, we’re doing a national digital account-opening process that was different from our community banking process. In association with that, we also partnered with some fintechs to bring augmented experiences outside of banking. We offered money-movement abilities, and we offered the ability to do credit scoring, analysis and spending analysis. So, companies like Savvy Money and MX were two fintech partners for us.

There is an evolution product strategy that comes with it now. Credit scoring was important for people at that point in time when we launched, and understanding spending was also really important at that time. Those were two easy integrations that we could offer without diluting our value proposition or what the bank was.

[Keeping an initial product offering simple] also lets you get to market quickly, right? There’s a ton of other competitors in this space, but we needed to get to market and you needed to have something that was secure and stable. I think our ability to focus there, run it off of a very established banking business with all of our operational controls and risk management behind that, it just positioned it uniquely.

Q: How did the Ivy Bank experience inform what Cambridge Savings Bank is doing today?
Ivy was launched definitely as a service product to our customers, it was also very much an ability for us to test and learn experiences for the broader Cambridge Savings Bank customer base. Savvy Money and MX are two products now that have a very strong adoption among Ivy customers. There’s, like, a 40 percent adoption of our credit score tool, there’s about a 35 percent adoption for money management tool against a benchmark of 20 percent in the industry. CSB is 20 percent, 21 percent adoption of our credit score tool, but that would have been zero had we not built Ivy.

So those are just two minute examples of things we’ve put on the market that we quickly offered back to our customers. We have so many more customers engaging with us digitally now, and, all of those learnings that we get from our customer surveys, our drop-off patterns as we analyze flow, our partner landscapes that we go out and speak to on a more regular basis now – all of those learnings feed right back into serving CSB customers. Whether you’re an Ivy customer or a traditional core CSB customer, we’re bringing all those learnings and putting them back into our platforms.

Q: How is the Cambridge Savings Bank organization different from the organization you joined, before Ivy Bank started?
It’s been two years, but people will say it feels longer. We look to digitize everything, now. Front to back, as much as you can, lead with that focus because that really is the demand from consumers – to have a choice. That’s the pivot, to digitization and automation, of where do we meet customers and make sure that we are as easy to do business with, with the same level of customer care, engagement and support. We’ve always have a great competitive edge in our relationships with or customers. It’s just the brand of CSB.

But that doesn’t scale linearly, right? So, where we can have the power behind that is the investments in technology, digitization, robotics process automation, and AI as that continues to grow. The biggest pivot here is our commensurate investment to digitize behind that customer experience at a higher rate than we probably have invested in our history. It’s not so much that we’re supplanting our people, but we’re really investing in how we can let our people work their value proposition – a personal interaction with a customer – and digitizing the stuff behind them.

Q: What’s next for Ivy Bank? And how does the tech flow in to support that?
It’s still growing. We’re definitely going to continue to invest in fraud [prevention]. We’re going to look at additional products, services and offerings that our customers would need, we’re going to do a good amount of research on that to make sure we’re not just putting products that don’t make sense to our customers. Building on the Savvy and MX success, what are the other capabilities out there that we can more easily integrate with? I don’t have specifics I could give about what’s coming to market, but that’s how we’re looking at it: What are the gaps, potentially in product and definitely in any kind of experience layers we could have? We’ll also look at upgrading the business itself, in terms of the online economy and experiences, the digital experiences, we’re going to have a hard look at that. There is also a lot of evolution in the core banking space that’s coming, that’s more platform-based, there’s more connections to fintech. We’re going to take a look at that.

The one other big thing we’re investing in is AI. There’s real great potential there for “guided journey” experiences for call center reps, where AI is listening to a conversation. A theme could come up and we can immediately put information directly to the client or to our agents to solve that issue. There’s going to be a lot coming up around self-service capabilities and one-call resolution. Because right now the ability to mine information, if you can organize it well – there’s real power coming out of that. Take the mystification of AI out of it, and ask “Where can we help customers right now?” That’s where we’re leaning.

The Five Quotes that Guide McGuire

  1. Listen to learn.
  2. Do what is right, not what is easy.
  3. In order to get, you have to give.
  4. Use adversity as an opportunity.
  5. You can’t do what’s next now.

A Digital Bank Unlocks Transformation

by James Sanna time to read: 5 min