A Message from the Chair – January 2021

On January 21 BAFT’s Board Chair, Mark Garfield, published his monthly communication to the wider BAFT membership.

After eating far too many treats and goodies each holiday season, I tend to make a New Year’s resolve to abstain from sweets for a defined amount of time. No ice cream, candy, cookies for one month. Well, I made it until January 5th this year when a neighbor brought over some chocolate-covered macadamia nuts from Hawaii. Who can resist that?

I have to laugh at my many failed attempts to change. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that change inevitably happens, whether I’ve planned for it or not. My first memories of using a bank as a youth are of standing in very long lines in a bank lobby waiting to deposit cash. The teller would use a typewriter to record the transaction in a passbook. I remember sitting in a non-air-conditioned car on a hot summer day waiting in what seemed like a big traffic jam to finally cash a check at the bank drive-through window. Now I shout hurray for the convenience of making a deposit on my mobile phone and I never ever write a check…hurray! Think of all the changes that have happened in the financial services industry in the past year alone, such as the increase of contactless payments and the shift to remote work.

The next two events in the Around the Globe: The Crystal Ball Series will give us key insight into what the future may hold for the financial services industry. During this month’s event, ‘View From The Top‘, on January 26, three banking CEO’s will share their insight from different geographic perspectives: MENA, Europe, and the U.S. In February, the ‘Revolutionary Banking’ event will address topics that may be…revolutionary, such as central banks’ use of cryptocurrency.

I appreciate how BAFT provides us with webinarsconferences, briefings, industry papers and best practices that give a vision of what the future may become. Through BAFT, we glean insight into how banking is evolving in different geographies. Each year, participants in the BAFT Future Leaders Program review and assess current developments and potential opportunities in the transaction banking industry. We then become prepared to not just react to changes but to become agents of change and innovation.

I expect to celebrate all the future transaction banking innovations (paperless bills of lading!) that have yet to be developed…and if I happen to receive your gift of Turkish Delight next January, I’m certain that once again I’ll break my yearly resolution and eat it (yum)……hurray!

Mark Garfield
BAFT Chair
Head of Global Financial Institutions
Zions Bancorporation