Executive Profile: Walt Granville, Digiliti Money
By Loraine DeBonis, Editor-in-Chief
Walt Granville approaches payments with the competitive spirit and stamina that befits the former professional runner.
Although he discovered running in high school, it was at home that he learned to compete. “My entire family is in a constant competition, from golf to ping pong to cooking,” he says of his parents and three siblings. “The Thanksgiving pie contents are legendary, with some victories still under protest,” he laughs.
Granville ran in college for Virginia Tech and then moved to Atlanta to train and compete as a professional runner. When he decided to shift his professional career away from sports, he found a path similar to his father’s quite by accident. The elder Granville spent nearly 30 years in the banking industry, but it was a classified ad that led his son to a career in financial services technology.
“The Atlanta Journal Constitution had an ad for a position at FFMC [First Financial Management Company], which ultimately merged with First Data, and I applied. The rest is history,” says Granville. “In late 2007, I began to recognize the potential of mobile and decided to redirect my career into that market.” He took a chance on a mobile startup and after seeing the early functionality of smartphones, Granville says it was obvious that there was great potential for mobile in the financial services marketplace.
Mobile, of Course
“It’s no secret that mobile has changed the playing field and it has unleashed more creativity and potential than nearly anything else in the last 10 years,” he says. “The energy and velocity of the industry is amazing. I am really excited about the change taking place in financial services as a result of mobile technologies. Every section of the industry, which was once slow and inflexible, is becoming dynamic and robust.”
|In His Own Words
Trends I’m watching in 2017 … I think the expanded use of artificial intelligence is going to be one of the big trends of 2017. AI can be applied to many aspects of mobile, but its ability to guide consumers through complex transactions holds a ton of potential—especially since consumers typically steer away from doing more complicated transactions through traditional mobile applications.
In five years, prepaid will be … A mainstream financial product with consumers who retain their accounts for long periods of time similar to a DDA.
My gotta-have apps are … Wow … it’s too hard to choose! I use and rely on so many. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Maps, American, Marriott, Uber, Amazon and Sonos get used daily. My favorite app is The Masters app—it stands out to me for quality, usability and innovation.
When I’m not in the office, I’m … at the gym, on the golf course or trying to get home from a work trip.
Something about me not many people know. I was born in Philadelphia, but I developed a southern drawl as a child in Virginia. Spending nearly 10 years in Atlanta after college further “enhanced” it.
From his current role as senior vice president of mobile innovations at Digiliti Money, Granville has the perfect vantage point to see the transformative power of mobile. Digiliti Money is the Minnesota-based company formerly known as Cachet Financial Solutions. The company recently went public and changed its name. But its focus remains constant: helping financial services providers, particularly prepaid issuers and program managers, to use feature-rich mobile apps to engage customers and increase long-term card usage.
“At Digiliti Money, we believe that consumer education, engagement and creating convenience are the keys to creating retention,” Granville says. “While mobile is not the only opportunity to drive these types of activities, it certainly is one of the best. A mobile app with the right tools and features can address consumer pain points—complicated and expensive reloading, for example—and create value for the cardholder that helps them in their everyday lives.”
At the core of its mobile mission, Digiliti Money has built a Pay Award-winning Select Mobile Money platform. At the end of last year, the company announced upgrades to the platform to further drive client value, including flexibility, control and speed to market, Granville says.
As he explained in a recent Paybefore Q&A, the platform enhancements include administrative portals that enable clients to customize their mobile apps and acquisition websites. “By operating off of a single common code base that serves multiple apps, we don’t have to do a separate build, release and deployment for each and every one of our clients’ app releases or updates,” he said. “In other words, as a program manager you’re able to go in through the administrative portal and set up applications for the customer, turn features on and off and customize the branding to configure a new app within 10 to 20 minutes, tops.”
As clients migrate to the new platform and Digiliti Money adjusts to its status as a public company, there’s plenty of work to keep Granville occupied for the foreseeable future.
“What I love about my position is the variety,” Granville says. “I could be in a sales presentation, a product design meeting, on an investor call and then learning about new technologies—all in the span of a few hours.”