FS Special Edition 2017 - 20

20

COST CUTTING: A
BALANCING ACT
When I joined Ally Financial four years ago,
we were still digging our way out of the aftereffects of the economic downturn. Ally has its
roots in the former GMAC, the General Motors
subsidiary that for more than 80 years provided
car buyers with financing through GM dealers.
GMAC started a banking business in 2000,
and in 2010 both the banking and financing
businesses were rebranded as Ally Financial. In
2014, Ally became a publicly traded company.
Along the way, the business was battered by
the 2008 economic downturn, which forced us
to cut costs and become more efficient in order
to survive.

But this test also provided us a tremendous
opportunity to review our business model and
find new sources of competitive advantage.
While we continued our historical business of
auto financing, we also reinvented ourselves
as a digital, branchless bank. Even with bareboned budgets focused on cost cutting and
reducing corporate overhead, we continued to
reimagine our business technologies to make
the company nimbler and lighter.
As we increased efficiency, we made sure
that a sizeable portion of the cost savings
were invested in digital technologies to create
innovative offerings and user experiences. We
hired mobile and web developers to ensure
our client-facing apps were world-class and
invested in a flexible architecture to position
ourselves for future growth.

As an online-only bank, we needed to be in the
forefront of digital interfaces and were early
adopters of biometric fingerprint recognition
technologies like Touch ID and mobile payment
solutions like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

SEEK INNOVATION
WHERE IT IS
Our unrelenting focus on digital innovation
continues as we experiment with emerging
technologies, including voice assist, blockchain,
cloud, and data analytics. We have set up an
in-house lab to build new digital products, and
we also scout for partners across a range of
strategic areas.
Our recent acquisition of TradeKing is a good
example. We had been evaluating the rapidly
evolving digital wealth management space
for a while via an informal cross-functional
study group. People from Ally's core banking,
corporate strategy, and technology functions
went to the whiteboard to identify what kind
of digital offerings would work best for our
customers. In our evaluation of promising
solutions, we were also considering whether
we wanted to build in-house, partner with
someone, or acquire.

We seek digital innovation
wherever we can find it and then
act as an evaluator and catalyst
for the rest of the organization.
The learning of our cross-functional team came
in handy when the TradeKing opportunity
appeared on our radar. We were already
prepared with our research, moved quickly
into due diligence and closed the deal swiftly.
And this is typical of how we partner with our
businesses. Our IT team is involved in every



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of FS Special Edition 2017

Contents
FS Special Edition 2017 - Cover1
FS Special Edition 2017 - Cover2
FS Special Edition 2017 - 1
FS Special Edition 2017 - Contents
FS Special Edition 2017 - 3
FS Special Edition 2017 - 4
FS Special Edition 2017 - 5
FS Special Edition 2017 - 6
FS Special Edition 2017 - 7
FS Special Edition 2017 - 8
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FS Special Edition 2017 - Cover3
FS Special Edition 2017 - Cover4
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