Don't Miss Forum, Says Kearny Bank CTO


Kearny Bank never misses Forum. Since becoming a Fiserv client in 2014, the bank has prioritized the event as the best way to learn about new technologies, delve into the hottest topic and trends, and learn what's next for Fiserv and financial services.

"At this point, the only question is how many of us will go each year," said Tim Swansson, chief technology and innovation officer for Kearny Bank, which will send several representatives to Forum April 17–19 in Las Vegas.

The $4.8 billion bank is in growth mode, bolstered by acquisitions that have expanded its retail branch network to 42 locations in New Jersey and New York. Swansson describes Kearny Bank as focused on leveraging technology to increase efficiency and drive customer adoption.

From the Solutions Center to connecting with Fiserv partners, Forum is a 'one-stop shop' for learning what's next and how to get there.

We asked Swansson how he and his colleagues maximize Forum's opportunities to learn about new technologies, delve into the hottest topics and trends, and connect with peers and Fiserv product experts.

What do you find most valuable about Forum?

It's so important to remove ourselves from day-to-day work to plan and gather information without interruption. From the Solutions Center to connecting with Fiserv partners, Forum is a 'one-stop shop' for learning what's next and how to get there.

With my focus on technology, I'm especially interested in learning about new and existing products and services. In the Solutions Center, I ask a lot of questions: Is the solution available now? How would it work for our bank? It's a good opportunity to be exposed to innovations we might not have thought about for Kearny Bank.

How do you plan your time at Forum?

The Forum app is a lifesaver. When we arrive in Las Vegas, our group meets to plan the sessions we want to attend, make sure there isn't any duplication and cover sessions for someone if we need to. We make sure we can hit the ground running on day one. Sending multiple people from our bank helps us divide and conquer; we can cover every area, such as retail banking and operations, which is a big advantage. But everyone from our bank attends the Solution Session for our platform to learn about product updates, enhancements and road maps.

How does going to Forum benefit Kearny Bank?

The number of sessions, speakers and experts available at Forum is impressive. It's good to be exposed to innovations and trends we should consider, including changes in the industry.

But it's also great to talk to and learn from peers who have implemented the same technology or faced similar challenges. Getting their perspectives gives us a better understanding of whatever we may be facing.

Every year, we come back from Forum with a wish list. As a group, we share what we learned and prioritize what we'd like to implement. For example, we plan to implement NotifiSM for real-time alerts, which we first learned about at Forum.

What would you tell other financial institution professionals who haven't yet attended Forum?

If you want to move your organization forward, you're missing an opportunity to learn what your peers and Fiserv are doing. Your relationship with your financial services provider is one of the most important in any organization. You need to understand what their strategic direction is in tandem with yours.

Otherwise, you could find yourself going in opposite directions. From the first time you attend, you'll find value in Forum.

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