Digital Banking – the New Now

Friday 18th, December 2015

Banking  photoBanking is not somewhere you go. It is something you do.

Accenture reports that by 2020 as much as 35 percent of traditional banks’ market share in North America could be at stake thanks to new digital players. They also say that up to 25 percent of today’s roughly 7,000 North American financial institutions could be gone as a result of consolidation before 2020!

Every traditional Bank tries to come up with strategies to keep its head above water. Some think of increasing fees they charge on products. Or charge more interests on loans. Do they let go of a lot of people? Or shut down brick and mortar branches and move their activities online? Should they outsource their business to another country where it is cheaper to run it?

The Banking industry is seeing a whole gamut of new trends spanning delivery and payments, competition and operations, customer experience and marketing.

Armed with smartphones and other mobile devices, the customer of today can research, purchase and manage his financial portfolio from wherever he is. The “drive-to-digital” is already competing with the “Drive-to-Branch” approach. The silos of traditional retail delivery channels are starting to crumble and a more holistic approach to digital banking is taking hold. The world is going mobile and banks are starting to offer features and transactions that can be done on it as well – anything from new kinds of authentication for security and ease, to more relevant and contextual information that can be sent to customers as alerts, push notifications and other forms of messaging.

Customer data and business intelligence helps the bank learn about the customer’s personal financial habits. The extent of digitisation is so great that, in time, some banks might only have IP addresses! There is already a growth in the presence of wearables, thumb print and biometrics readers that aid banking transactions facilitating easier payments and quicker sales processes. The payment disruption process is seeing a huge change as well. Merchants have their own apps. Like Starbucks for instance. Apple, Paypal, Square and Google already offer technologies like iBeacon, Beacon, Real-time P2P and HCE emulation. Mobile Wallets from Apple and Amazon are slowly taking transactions to mobiles and away from cards.

More and more, non-traditional players and new financial organisations like neo-banks, hardware providers, third party payment processors, and mobile app developers that merchants and consumers use are taking away from banks and credit unions, their erstwhile trusted role of being the collector of funds, provider of loans, processor of payments and advisor of financial relationships. Banks are starting to offer video-based services for higher value, complex sales such as mortgages and investment products.

 

On the one hand, customers want real time access and simplicity in banking interactions. And on the other, increasingly, the present branch-based models are not sustainable. And so they “smart-size” their operations – branches are closed, footprints shrunk, and new technology is incorporated to digitize transactions while trying to retaining the human touch.

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