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Parker Graham:
What people don't talk about is whether it's sports or life, you don't get ahead by showing up to work nine to five. That's not where you get ahead. You get ahead going to work from six to midnight, going to work from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM right? Like that's where you, you gain ground on people.


James Robert Lay:
Greetings and hello, I am James Robert Lay, and welcome to episode 2 88 of the Banking on Digital Growth Podcast. Today's episode is part of the Digital Growth Journey series, and I'm excited to welcome Parker Graham to the show.


Parker is the founder and CEO at Finotta, a platform that helps financial institutions personalize their mobile banking applications to create a new stream of revenue, increase customer engagement, and earn greater share of wallet with their customers. Now, before his work in the banking industry, Parker began his professional career as a tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, and in 2018 he founded Destiny Wealth, which he then pivoted to become Finotta in 2020.


To really help banks to help credit unions personalize their mobile banking experiences to increase engagement and to combat the larger, more challenging aspect around financial health and wellbeing. And so today, dear listener, Parker and I are going to dive into his own story of transformative growth to inspire you, to guide you along your journey of growth at your bank, at your credit union, or at your FinTech. Welcome to the show, Parker. It is good to share time with you today.


Parker Graham:
James, thanks for having me, man. Really excited to dive in and get, uh, get nerdy with you on some bank. It


James Robert Lay:
You know, I, I love, I love that idea of getting nerdy. I, I always self-identify as, as, as a bit of a nerd, have always been one. I love to learn. I think learning leads to growth. I was listening the other day, um, to someone. They said leaders are made in the laps of readers, and so there's this correlation between reading and knowledge and leadership and growth. And you've done a lot of growing over the years. Before we get into that story, I always like to start off on a, on a, on a positive note, what is good in your world right now, personally or professionally?


Parker Graham:
Yeah, I think, uh, well, well personally, uh, my wife and I have a, uh, gonna be a seven month old here at home, so that's probably my, my biggest thing that we're super excited about on a personal. Uh, and professionally, I'm telling you what, we are in the middle of the [00:03:00] season of just rapid, rapid, rapid sprinting every single day.


Like literally we wake up, our feet hit the ground, and I feel like we're just running through brick walls every single day. Um, it's exciting because we are, you know, even though we've been around for, it's gonna be five years in September, um, we're still a very young startup from a product perspective.


Yeah. Um, and we're just basically, I'm in that journey of, of telling our story to, to banks and credit unions and, and trying to bring on sales and bring on funding, and we're just really in the thick of it. So as a former football guy, it's uh, it's, it's kind of that grit, right? That grind, and it's just exciting to wake up every day, to be honest.


James Robert Lay:
And I think that's the most important thing when, when you are on a transformative journey of growth, you, you have to look at the challenging times as. Hopeful and as optimistic as you can when you're in the really good times. And so there's a whole this mindset perspective here. And I wanna, I wanna go back in time just a bit because you've [00:04:00] written.


About being an underdog all your life. Yeah, and I am one who personally loves a good underdog story. Hoosier was one of my favorite movies as a kid growing up. And now I know that you grew up in a, in a household, three kids, small Midwest town, single mom work to make life better for all of you. What was the impact that your mom had on the work that you're doing today?


Parker Graham:
Working out today, this afternoon I, I saw a t-shirt that kind of just like spoke directly to it. The T-shirt basically said, no one cares. Work harder. And if I had one phrase that could define my mom and like the, the person that I saw every day, it would be that one. It's kind of funny. She, she looks short now next to me.


I'm six seven. She's five nine. But when you're little, like she was an imposing figure and just really brought us up in like the absolute most Midwestern way you possibly could. You know, she. Was working as a grocer when I was first [00:05:00] born, and basically her father passed away and she was like, you know what?


Enough's enough. I wanna be a nurse. And so working as a grocer during the day and studying to become a nurse at night. You know, my first memories of her were her at like an old school, um, I don't even know what they call it, like a, like a giant digital typewriter's. Huge. Right? I'm talking, I was five years old.


Those are my first memories of her and, and her working multiple jobs and just trying to put food on the table, trying to find money to be able to put us in camps to get noticed by scouts, to be able to put, to shoot, pay for like simple things like pay for shoes. Your mom's working hard. Like, like you said, no one cares.


Work harder. Yeah. And so she is working hard and she has been a big inspiration on just your own. Underdog story. It it, it sounds like. Yeah. I mean, you know, it's funny, we, we get to, you know, I get to high school and I'm just kind of like a, I would say I wasn't the most, uh, I wasn't the most athletic person, uh, but I wanted to play, uh, football in college.


Yeah. And the only answer is to work harder. Like there is no other answer, uh, for my upbringing. Um, and you, I guarantee you, if you would've had all my buddies back in high school freshman year, make be. On me making it D one and playing really high level college football and then pro football, I'd be one of the bet you would have nobody to take the bet that I was gonna make it like no one would've.


James Robert Lay:
Well, you know, I've got, I've got a lot of appreciation and respect for that because I remember being in eighth grade and I played basketball in my life and my eighth grade coach said, son, you're never gonna play varsity basketball. That lit a fire in. To where, and you might appreciate this first in the gym, last out of the gym weight room, and it was funny because our freshman year, You know, I was on the B team and we go all the way through varsity year, end up being senior captain and got a couple of offers.


One of them was from the Coast Guard and whenever, uh, I, I learned where the Coast Guard Academy was, uh, it was far too cold for this Houston boy. I want to go up there and, and play four years of, of, of basketball. So I said, you know what? I think I'm good. I'm thinking I'm done, I'm done. But. It was that work ethic that I think is just instilled at such a, an early and young age's why I appreciate the underdog story.


So you grew up, you had a short stint in the N nfl and, and that reminds me of inviting Jedediah Collins of the show. We had a conversation going about to episode 2 42 because he also had a stint in the nfl. Uh, think back to your time playing football, the greatest lesson that you've learned along the way. What would that be? Inspiring the work you're doing. Yeah,


Parker Graham:
I mean, I think the, you know, not to just keep using these lovely taglines here, um, but it's something we actually say at our company every single day. Um, it's being undeniable. Mm-hmm. And that word really comes from the fact of, I was at Oklahoma State and I remember it.


To this day, I thought I was better than the [00:08:00] guy in front of me. Yeah. Like, I, in my heart knew I was better than him. He was a senior. We had the, the starter had actually been hurt. So this is the backup. And I'm the backup to the backup. Right, right. And I just was convinced you couldn't convince me otherwise.


And I went into my coach's office at the time, my old line coach, and I was like, why am I not playing? Why? Why are you, why can't I play? You know, you know I'm better than this guy. I know I'm better than this guy. What's the deal? And he is like, You're not putting yourself on film to look like you were undeniably better than him.


And until you do, I cannot play you. And it was at that moment where I was sitting there thinking, okay, so I've gotta basically be no questions asked. I am the starter and act like that. And from that day, I worked on that every day towards the end of the season. And what people don't talk about is whether it.


Sports or life, you don't get ahead by showing up to work nine to five. That's not where you get ahead. You get ahead going to work from six to midnight, no going to work from 4:00 AM to 8:00 AM right? Like that's where you, you gained ground on people. Um, and it was [00:09:00] really at that moment, if I could pinpoint it, where I figured out, okay, like.


Extra works. What I need, extra work's. What I gotta do. And what's incredible was by the end of that season, I started a couple of games and by the next season, that starting job was mine. I never let go of it by being that person and I would be, I would be willing to bet your previous guests would say this as well.


That led directly into the same minds that I had today and what's gotten us really to where we are today, which has kind of fun to think about, even though it's been so long.


James Robert Lay:
Absolutely. And, and that idea of being undeniable, it's this unfailing belief in the self, regardless of what is going on in the external environment.


And, you know, I, I think a lot about change and transformation. It's a big part of book number two that's gonna come out a little bit later this year, banking on Change. And I think about, you know, what it takes to make a change, what it takes to make a transformation. Your habits. You know, 95% run at a subconscious level.


Your habits are informed by just repeated actions, which [00:10:00] are inspired by feelings and emotions that are influenced by your thoughts. But it all comes back to this belief system and structure here. And so you make this transition from the NFL into financial services. How did that happen? Um, what, what, what, what did it take to make that leap there?


Parker Graham:
Yeah, so I got a, I was, I was basically in camp with the, uh, with the Ravens in 2014, and I had an offer to go work at a, uh, at a big high level wealth management firm attached to a bank. So for those of you that know Bank of Oklahoma or B O K F, that was the institution that I ended up going and working at.


And it was kind of funny. I was sitting in, in, uh, in my hotel. Basically deciding between taking this job or playing some more football. And I was like, they're gonna pay me how much to work in air conditioning. That's, that seems like a really good gig. You know, I don't have to be 340 pounds anymore. Like, this is


This is gonna be good for everything. And I truly just seeing what was happening in, in the, in the locker rooms that I was in, both in college and in the. I felt this calling to build something really just for anybody who doesn't have financial awareness, um, that that's, that's really like when I think about my life, watching what my mom did.


Watching what my friends were doing in school, watching what my teammates were doing in the locker room. Um, I've got plenty of stories of just stuff where it's like, whoa, dude, why are you doing it that way? It's so much you could do it this way. And that is actually what led me to becoming a wealth advisor and getting into financial services. And what's so funny is that I got into that job and I literally knew nothing.


James Robert Lay:
But you had a calling and I think that's an. Point to call out. You felt called based upon what you had seen, what you had experienced, and maybe what, what were you seeing? What were you hearing, you know, in some of these locker room conversations that like there's, there has to be a better way forward here for people.


Parker Graham:
There were two wide receivers while I was there. That we're getting [00:12:00] into a car purchasing competition. And so every day they would go purchase a car and bring it to the facility the next day and just trying to one up each other for like six days straight. Right. And one player had a very nice contract and the other player did not.


And it's just like, what are we, what are we doing here? And financial advisors, there's tons of financial, great financial advisors in the league especially, but you know, it's just, it takes a lot to handle certain people's financial behaviors. Right. And so, sure. I wanted to. I wanted to be at the forefront of that.


I wanted to be at the tip of the spear of that. They say the tip of the spear is the bloodiest, right? Yes. Like I wanted to solve those problems. And when I say a calling, um, as a cri, like I'm a Christian, so I felt it was more of a spiritual calling. Of course. Um, and you know, one thing that, that I love to say is that, you know, like.


God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called. And even though I didn't know anything about what that industry was or what it was, what it was gonna be, I knew that I had the background and the, and the work ethic to get to where I needed to go, if that was where I was supposed to be at.


James Robert Lay:
Well, I wanna pause on that point for just a bit because you know, one of the big, we call them the, the four principles for exponential growth here. Number one is to be the light. And with the work that we are doing in financial services, it's because I think.


When you think about financial stress and financial anxiety, it, it, it cast a, a darkness, um, over people and they feel trapped. They don't feel like they can escape that, and they get just stuck. And so a lot of times [00:14:00] when people are trapped it. They just need a light. They need something to guide them.


Beyond that point, that moment in time, which is where, you know, you, you come into this, you're sitting in a presentation, um, about robo advisors. It's your old advisory firm. Yep. And you're sitting there with a bunch of, we'll call them very well experienced people. They had a lot of time in the industry.


Yeah. Veterans and, but, They almost took a bit of a cynical approach to what they were seeing and what they were hearing that this idea of robo-advisors has just a blip. We're not gonna change anything in how, how we do things. And I wanna ask you a question before we get too far ahead. Why do you think it is so hard for some, within this particular vertical in financial services, in banking to transform the.


That they think or put another way, why is it so hard for them to just deal with and manage change?


Parker Graham:
Wow. That is a, that is a very, very [00:15:00] big question, uh, James. Um, which we could probably get into a very deep conversation over, over some old fashioned or something at some point and talk in my language. I think the, uh, if I could pinpoint just one quick one.


I think that just the hu the human nature we're, we're always resistant to change. Doesn't matter what it is. I mean, if you would back up and go 30 years ago, you would say that like no person ever would want to do business online. Yeah. Like everybody wants to be person to person and communicative and, and I think just as a, as.


You know, species, we're just hardwired to resist change. We love comfort. We love going home and watching our Netflix shows with our spouses and hanging out with our kids and stuff. But at the end of the day, innovation never stops. It only in it only increases its output. Right, right. And so sitting in that, in that room, listening to these people, being the, you youngest in the room, probably by 20 years, uh, maybe 15 to 20, uh, I saw the writing on the wall.


Like, wow, those folks are in a position where they've. Millions of dollars, you know, doing what they're doing, [00:16:00] having the status quo be the status quo. They don't want it to change. Yeah. The industry that I will see 30 years from now will not be the same. Of course not. And it was literally at that moment where I thought to myself, I've got to figure out something that I can put my own name on and put a stamp on.


And at the end of the day, I also like was, I just was feeling really weird about making wealthy people wealthier. And I just, I. Especially coming from my background, I thought wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase every day was gonna make me important, make me feel really good. But at the end of the day I realized that like money is, is really just an object and a tool.


It's not fulfillment, it's not happiness. Right. And like That's a great point, purpose, and what you're meant to do and meant to build. I, you know, it, I shouldn't probably say this, but it doesn't matter if I was getting, making money doing my company or not, I'd still be doing it. Yeah. And, and finding that secret was kind of the, the, the catalyst that unlocked a whole lot of innovation in that room.


James Robert Lay:
I've talked about this on the podcast before, but I mean, you know, in 2012, I was at a [00:17:00] crossroads because I came from a family of, of modest means and had early financial success with, with this organization. But it almost cost me my marriage. And my wife came to me one day in 2012 and she said, Hey, it's the business or the family, you've gotta figure stuff out.


And that was, um, it was a dark night of the soul moment. Yeah. Um, and it really made me question why, like, why am I doing what I am doing? And it set me down a whole new path and, and it wasn’t. I wasn't able to do it by myself. I had to call in some outside perspective and, and get an advisor to point me in the right direction.


And I'm forever grateful for, for David C. Baker for, for doing that. Um, because we would not be having this conversation had he not come in and did a little bit of intervention. And my wife were able to, you know, we were able to work through some things and maybe we'll just, I wanna get your take on this because like, I, I think about this example.


You know, getting a, a guide, getting a coach, um, you know, marriage counselor. There's a lot of different ways to look at this. You played sports. I played sports, you played nfl. The idea of a coach, um, and helping guide someone to almost back to the point of, of the conversation about being a red shirt freshman and, and reaching your full potential, someone from the outside to see things that you can't.


How is that playing into this new world of financial services that might be different than what, what things were like a decade, two decades ago? Here's, here's what blows my mind, James. So name your, like, who's the best athlete to ever exist?


James Robert Lay:
For me, I mean, top of my head and once again, perspective's reality. So it's Michael Jordan.


Parker Graham: Michael Jordan, right? Michael Jordan. Literally was gonna walk away from the Bulls in 1997. If Phil Jackson wasn't his coach, why? Because Phil Jackson was the best in his mind, you weren't gonna change it. What's crazy is that you have multi multimillion dollar athletes who are at the peak of their profession, who still need a coach, and there's the rest of us, the, the 99%, if you will, if they're the 1%.


And literally none of us have a financial coach. Mm-hmm. Like there's financial advisors that you can get in contact with, but you have to be able, you have to, you have to qualify to have a financial advisor. Right? Yeah. Financial advisors aren't gonna just work with everybody because they have incentives that they need to go chase down and work with.


Right, right. So in my opinion, I think it's crazy that there's not. There's not software, there's not services, there's not stuff for everyone else, right? Mm-hmm. And so when you think about the new way, the new wave of financial services and what technology's gonna look like, I think that the most important part that we need to solve for is not the folks that are gonna go make money, that are gonna be well off, they're gonna be fine.


I think it's everyone. I think it's people like my mom, you know? Like I want to go find Karen Graham, and if you talk to any of my team, like our. [00:20:00] The reason why it's built the way it's built is because my mom needs to be able to use it and if my mom can use it, then literally everybody can use it.


James Robert Lay:
Right. Absolutely. And, and, and that's where, you know, coming back to this idea of, of change and transformation, you've experienced a lot of this on your own journey of growth and, and so you decided to start a tech company. Yeah. You had no knowledge of how to do so. You didn't know where to start, but then something.


You lost everything, both literally and metaphorically within the first three years. What happened here?


Parker Graham:
So the first thing that happened was, you know, you mentioned having, you know, marital troubles in the, in 2012, um, I got divorced, had to move to a new city, lost time with my children, and started the business all in the same year.


Went from making money to making no money. Mm-hmm. Along the way, uh, and basically had to figure out just how to survive. I worked, uh, odd jobs at a liquor store just to make ends meet, knew, learned a lot about, you know, all the fun things at, uh, that comes with liquor. Um, was a great time. Ended up working for a bank, but at the end of the day, the biggest piece there was that I learned how to survive and how to make ends meet even when you didn't think you could.


Um, what's crazy about that story? Um, within that first three years, I had that going on personally. And then I got my first customer, I got a good amount of capital, like 150,000, and then I lost my two co-founders literally in the same week. Wow. So we, you know, I, I, I, all that, you know, the, the personal stuff happened in that first year, second year we were just kind of, Eeking by.


And in that third year, we finally had some trajectory going up. And at the end of the year, all that stuff happened. But the best part about that is, is that I think you go through those moments of refinement because you're getting prepared for that next level of ascension. Absolutely. And what it ended up doing was it allowed me to really start restart the vision that I originally had.


You know, I worked with two guys who. I basically brought on because I [00:22:00] thought that that was gonna be the best mixture I knew better than anyone else. And I, and it is what's funny is they didn't even wanna work with me. They didn't wanna work with me. For me, all that fun stuff I convinced them to, cuz I have a skillset that can do that.


Right? Um, and it wasn't a fit. And we struggle for, for the three years basically figuring that out. Um, but the moment that I made that decision, Um, one, I, I, I, I feel like I had a transition of like, I'm gonna stop being about me and I'm gonna start living out my purpose, living out what I feel like God had called me to build.


Yeah. The moment that I did that, I wrote four principles. Down of the type of company I wanted to build and the type of people that I wanted to, to bring to that company. What were those four principles? First ones Lead with love. Love for yourself, love for the mission, love for your teammates, and then love for the customer.


You can't have the last one without having the first one. Yeah. Um, and there's myriads of reasons where we live that out every day in our company. Um, the second one is radical transparency. You'd be, you'd be shocked at how much, you know, [00:23:00] lack of transparency there is in financial services, right? From, you know, junk fees all the way to just technology companies not doing a great job of helping institutions do better with their data.


I mean, there's just all kinds of examples there. Um, and we'd much rather be radically transparent, open and honest. Uh, we're gonna tell you stuff that you wanna know, stuff you probably don't because that's just the ethos that we live by. The third one is unapologetic account. And what that basically means is, is when you join this company, we're in a boat together and we're all rowing north to our North star, which is trying to really create, um, financial equality, uh, for all, and not letting there be an excuse as to why it can't exist the last one of the time.


We've since grown since then on the value statements, but the last one is Good times, good vibes. Uh, you can't change the world, uh, without laughing, uh, a lot hard and often. And so we really try to do that, uh, with them in a myriad of different examples. But those were the four that I wrote down at the time.


James Robert Lay:
I appreciate that so much because, you know, I think without knowing, [00:24:00] Why you're doing what you're doing, i e purpose, but then having the values to ensure that you're on course or on track. I think about e o s, the entrepreneurial operating system by Gino Wickman, and he talks about how values you can measure against that with teammates.


And that's something that we're doing here and, and I think about like the, this challenging time period that you went through, Audrey, who is the operations lead? Um, we had a good conversation that goes back to episode 2 45, where we talked through Ryan Holliday's book titled The Obstacle is the Way.


Mm-hmm. And that's inspired by the Stoic Wisdom of Marcus Aurelius. Yep. How did what I think some would call failure in your moment of despair, where, you know, you could feel like you're down 25 points in the fourth quarter. Were you able to pause, [00:25:00] realign your mission, gain a sense of clarity so that you could double down? And continued to write this underdog story on your journey of growth? Yeah.


Parker Graham: I think my wife calls it like the, the week of sadness. Um, basically I just was in this pit feeling sorry for myself, and she basically, okay, we, we have a lot of like, these just, you know, family meetings and stuff and, um, she came to me and said, all right, well it's been a week.


What are you gonna. And that was kind of like my, my her moment to kind of be like, all right, like, yeah, this didn't work the way you wanted it to. It's time to start, stop pounding and it's time to start progressing. And literally from that moment, you know, like I mentioned, I wrote those four principles down, those four values down.


And I went on a LinkedIn spree trying to rebuild my tech team. And what was crazy was one person got on board, led to the next person, directly led to the next person directly. And we literally have a path of that happening through 20. One. So this is [00:26:00] 2020. 2020 into 2020 is when the, the co-founders left, wrote the values, got my first employee.


2021 happens, we hire about three or four people. And then we got our really, we, we got our biggest customer to date. And they also saw this huge vision for what we were trying to build. And basically you wanna talk about doubling down? Doubling down. They put a bunch of money up, completely fulfilled our seed round.


To not only grow the team of what we had, which, which was for at the time, but we grew to 16 people under that fundraise. Wow. And built the platform the way that we wanted to see it built and got to launch, uh, all within that one little microcosm. It's basically like a six month period of, of despair before, before trajectory.


James Robert Lay:
Pithy statements cuz they're just easy for this. A d d. Uh, mine to remember, stop pouting, start progressing. Um, and I think it's important that, you know, as leaders, we surround ourselves with people that they give us a little bit of space to, to pout, throw the pity party, but then they call us to action.


Okay, now what, what are you gonna do about it? It's, it's time to, you know, get some momentum, keep things moving forward. And, and that's where I want to pivot the conversation just a bit and zoom up to the macro because. You are empowering financial brands to generate revenue. Yep. While at the same time increasing the financial health of their account holders.


I'm a big believer in this. This is the whole core ethos of, of what we teach. Yeah. Of what we coach because I, I believe that there is a mindset shift that has to happen for. Type of thinking to become reality, to not just be, that sounds great, but you know what, we can actually do it. There's a technology to actually do this.


What do you think holds financial brands back from making a commitment to be revenue focused, which is the important part of the business? I get it. You get it. As entrepreneurs, But we can do good with that. The, the idea of the [00:28:00] financial health. What, what, where's the disconnect do you think? You know, if we look at a macro level here, so the biggest thing that I think from that perspective is things have been going the way that they've been going for the last 20 years.


Parker Graham:
I mean, digital banking in and of itself is still relatively young. Yes, it is. 20 years trying, trying to figure out, you know, what to do with it. Cuz it's so big now, right, James to mean mm-hmm. There's just so many companies doing so many different things. Which one do you choose? You know, it's gotta be overwhelming to a banker or a credit union.


Yeah. Um, to be completely honest with you, I feel bad most of the time. You've got a finite amount of resources. You're a finite size as a brand, you're probably not gonna be growing tremendously except for the few, you know, edge cases. And you gotta figure out how to serve your customers better before you die.


Yes. That's a scary thing to approach. Um, and so for us, We really tried to look at that problem instead of making it an easy dec, as easy of a decision as possible. Mm-hmm. To have a bank work with us, or have a credit union work with us. And the only way to [00:29:00] do that is to do two things really, really well.


It's to help them ease their concerns on growth, which is revenue, right? Yep. Yep. Finding more, finding better. Easier and make making more sense of your options for getting products that you have and you want to get to customers, getting to the customers that actually want those products. It's a, it's such a, a difficult chasm to cross, but once you figure it out at scale, it works really, really well.


Yes. The other side of that is you've got a customer base who are so busy with everything else in their life. You have a micro. To actively get what you want to them in that space that they have available for you. And so there's just all these different competing things happening at once. And unfortunately, I'm gonna pick on tech companies for a second.


We've done a really crappy job of making our products. Really help everyone, making it make sense for everyone. And what I'm definitely seeing is a huge change there. You're seeing companies move away from, you know what I would call like the transactional relationship where like, Hey, I've got a loan origination system for you.


Okay, well there's 4,000 of those. Yes. Great. What is the difference here? Well, you know, and figuring products that actually can grow a bank in a different way than what's been there before. And that's really, Um, what you're gonna see from, from my company, we have our first product out there. We're gonna keep building products that just don't exist yet because we think that they should be there.


James Robert Lay:
That's where you're approaching this with real empathy. Um, real honesty, thinking about your own story of growth, which it's just truth. Um, and when you think about the potential. Opportunities because you're talking about, you know, crossing this chasm to create revenue by improving the financial health of people.


Because let's just be honest, in financial services like you, you go back to the, like the [00:31:00] hidden junk fees, revenue has been created in some cases by punishing people for the mistakes that they've made. Right, but you're saying no, there's an even better way forward. What can the dear Listener do to facilitate this conversation within their organization? To help other leaders start to see things differently than how they might have ever seen them before.


Parker Graham:
I mean, I think the first part to, to really start is understanding how you can grow your organization. So lemme take a step back. The first thing is, your organization is currently a finite construct.


You either to, to grow, you have to get more branches. Mm-hmm. Or you gotta spend a ton on marketing dollars. That's a really hard ask for most institutions cuz they're strapped for cash in any way that you look at it. What's the next best option? Well, it's to take your assets and make them more profitable.


Guess where the one asset is at a bank or a credit union. That doesn't make any money today. It's the digital one. Yeah. Great place to start is turning sunk cost centers into profit centers. Yes. And that's, that to me, right there is, it's a super easy way, and it doesn't have to be, with our product, you can basically take most of the, most of the digital providers out there, the Q2 s, the alchemy, the back bases, the big names that you've heard.


They have an open architecture infrastructure mm-hmm. Where you can find different vendors to plug into that solution and start churning out little revenue pieces for you to where you're taking. You know, couple of million dollars sunk cost and starting to make it more profitable for the institution.


And when you think about this, there's 10,500 financial institutions out there. If you have half of them start creating revenue in that channel, now you're gonna have conferences going back to digital banking and growth, you're gonna have conferences literally devoted to just that. How do we make this thing as revenue and profitable as revenue, rich and profitable as possible?


Um, and you can take that with little baby steps in all kinds of ways, just in that channel in and of itself.


James Robert Lay:
You know, I, I think. Rev Ops revenue operations here. It is a tremendous growth opportunity and is almost aligning the marketing team with the sales team, with the ops and the servicing team. I mean, that is the whole.


Model of the banker strategy circle that I wrote about in banking, on digital growth. Where B is you build a, an audience or you build a community with data. A, you start to attract them with personalized offers in you nurture them with automation and content. C, you convert them for loans and deposits. E you expand the relationships by delighting accounts.


And the first, you know, first really first day, um, because it is first hour. And then r you repeat the entire process with reviews, with, with ratings and, and with referrals because people still trust people. Yep. In this digital world, just the way that people connect and interact and refer, that's the, [00:34:00] that's the big transformation.


And I think when you look at once again, The idea of revenue operations within financial services, historically, it has been built around the physical world. It has been built around the branch, brick and mortar, the tangible assets that you can touch. You can see you can even sell off. Yep. But now when we're talking about digital, it's transforming that from a cost center into a growth center.


This has been such a, a, a great conversation. Parker, I I thank you for sharing your story of growth. For someone that wants to continue this conversation that we've, we've started here together today, what is the best way for them to reach out and say hello?


Parker Graham:
I mean, the easiest way is, is really through LinkedIn.  Parker CM Graham is my, is my handle on LinkedIn. That's where we're really super active from a company perspective. Obviously the company website's great too. as the company website, and even, and this is something I offered to really just anybody who, who was just trying to take that first step.


At this point, I'm five years in, in s. Um, which just seems crazy to say out loud how long we've been at this, but we're literally one degree of, of Kevin Bacon, right? One degree of separation away from, from really any kind of technology company that you might be thinking about working with. Um, please just ping me.


I mean, we've got great stories, we've got bad stories we could probably help in, in a lot of areas, not just our own, you know, our own interests. Yeah. Uh, the last thing I do want to say though is, This Renaissance. There's a renaissance really happening right now in, in what I would call the, the, you can call it community banking, you can call it just regional banking, whatever you want to call it.


Users need you, like your customers, especially as we go into this recessionary environment. There has not been a better opportunity to come be the guardian angel for your customers or your members than right now in 2023. Um, if we can help, that's amazing, but if not, I just urge you to go do the things, um, to make that customer be your customer [00:36:00] for life.


James Robert Lay:
A great call to action. As we wrap up here, be the guardian angel in the financial lives of the people that you're serving within the communities that you're creating value for. Parker. Thank you so much for joining me for another episode of Banking on Digital Growth. This has been a lot of fun today.


Parker Graham:
Awesome. James. Thanks for having me.


James Robert Lay:
And as always, and until next time, be well. Do good and make your bed.

Brief Summary of Episode #288

Parker Graham always knew he had a gift for playing football, even taking his talent to the pros as a tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.

But he always remembered watching his single mother work backbreaking hours to support Parker and his siblings.

“Those are my first memories of her, working multiple jobs and just trying to put food on the table,” he said.

Parker’s childhood and locker room experiences stoked a burning passion for helping ordinary people with wealth management. So he left football behind and founded Finotta, a mobile banking personalization platform.

“I felt this calling to build something for anybody who doesn’t have financial awareness,” Parker said.

His transformational journey wasn’t easy, both personally and professionally. Yet even after suffering devastating defeats in his first year, he was determined to be the better for it.

“I think you go through those moments of refinement because you’re getting prepared for that next level of ascension,” Parker said.

In this episode of our Digital Growth Journeys series, get an exclusive look into the transformational journey of an NFL player who overcame adversity so he could help give others financial clarity.


Key Insights and Takeaways

  • Pivoting from the NFL to a financial startup (10:10)
  • Transforming the change mindset and personal coaching (18 :06)
  • Losing it all and finding clarity in failure (24:42)

Notable Quotables to Share

How to Connect With Parker Graham