Small businesses are the heart and soul of commerce, despite the achievements of Big Tech giants. And any bank that wants to succeed will need to work successfully with them. Small businesses, arguably banking’s most regular customers, have a few challenges regarding their everyday dealings with their banks. What tools, such as automation, can banks employ to meet these important customers where they are at, making their experiences more satisfying?
Financial services, as we enter 2020, have never been more open to innovation, collaboration and transformation, as established banks are challenged to adapt, like it or not. Worldwide, and especially in countries in which access to financial services was previously limited or nonexistent, financial technology is offering a bold and exciting new world to those financial firms that will employ it. What are the probable trends in the coming months?
Occasionally, an anomaly becomes the new normal, and this seems to be true of negative interest rates in many regions of the world. Used as a tool of expansionary monetary policy in the aftermath of the global recession, negative rates may be wearing out their welcome, especially in some countries in Europe. But can they be scrapped entirely, or are they a natural part of the global economy’s cyclical trends?
Europe’s banks deserve a lot of credit for weathering less than ideal conditions, such as ultra-low interest rates and profitability in conjunction with high levels of fintech competition and toxic debt. But while conditions haven’t improved much lately on the interest-rate side, the bad-debt situation is considerably brighter. Astute regulators and governments deserve much of the credit, but so do the banks themselves for revamping their management of nonperforming loans.
On December 15, US bank Goldman Sachs announced what many believe to be the strongest restrictions on fossil-fuel activity by any major bank in the United States. Most notably, the bank has become the first big American lender to restrict financing on any part of the oil-and-gas sector, with a particular focus on protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Despite being mooted more than a decade ago, widespread regulation mandating banks to adopt real-time cash-balance liquidity reporting has not materialised. With the exception of a handful of the world’s largest banks, few have taken it upon themselves to adopt these processes.
Taking on the mantle of governorship of a central bank is challenging, but for Andrew Bailey, the new governor of the Bank of England, the role couldn’t be more formidable. With the United Kingdom’s long-awaited divorce from the European Union around the corner, the country’s financial system will need all the help it can get to survive the inevitable turbulence. Bailey’s new job won’t be a walk in the park!
It is hard to believe that we just wrapped up another year. The beginning of a new year is one of the best times to both reflect on the previous years successes, while looking ahead at what the biggest challenges, priorities and opportunities will be for companies as they enter the new year.
Interest rates have been depressed for so long in Europe, it’s hard to remember when they actually soared into the teens. In fact, today, the natural interest rate is flirting with negative values. Due to a number of factors, such as an ageing population and sluggish trend growth, the natural interest rate is not likely to rise anytime soon. The remedy may not lie with central banks but with governments.
In the old days, banks could work independently of others providing financial services, but not anymore. As the world becomes more interconnected, banks are being drawn into emerging ecosystems comprised of old and new players. Cooperation and integration are the names of the game for both incumbents and newcomers such as fintechs and virtual banks, but putting the blocks in place to build the infrastructure is easier said than done.