Once upon a time, traditional banks could depend on customer loyalty, no matter what. A bank was the one-stop-shop for all things related to consumer finance. Not anymore. Not now that neobanks and fintechs are competing for the same consumers. Although bank customers are reluctant to move their financial business, banks are being increasingly challenged to address their needs first, which is all working out to their advantage.
Why would anyone choose to work for a bank in the Digital Age? For several reasons. According to one chief innovation officer, if you enjoy challenge, energy, innovation, agility then the right bank is the right place for you. As banks face a pivotal moment, warding off inventive challengers on every side, the secret to their longevity resides in customer-centricity. Product value is still important, but so is consumer gratification.
The word revolution isn’t used lightly, so when we are told that we are in the midst of Industrial Revolution 4.0, we can expect to see major changes—especially in that most fundamental of industries, banking. Providing guidance to their 33,000 strong membership, in the midst of the upheaval, is the UK’s Chartered Banker Institute, which through multiple avenues is preparing bank professionals, current and future, to serve their customers well during the transformation.
Banks are a mixed bag when it comes to utilising technology’s full potential: some are taking full advantage while some are trying, and often struggling, to apply technology to their existing businesses.
International banks are rapidly evolving to cater to the digital world. With pen and paper signatures nearly obsolete, banks are investing in electronic signatures as a more secure, trustworthy replacement. But questions remain: How secure are the systems that consumers and businesses use and what happens if a transaction is disputed?
In any transaction, especially when money is involved, it’s important to know with whom you are transacting. The internet has brought to banking efficiencies and cost-savings but also potential for identity fraud and theft. Fortunately, banks can make their online dealings with customers safe and secure through digital identity-authentication methods. A unified, across-the-board banking system that is designed well and worthy of customer trust could become the model for all industries.
The hold traditional banking once exerted over consumer finances has seriously eroded in the Digital Age, with fintech presenting a formidable challenge to banking’s sovereignty. Customers are shrugging off any loyalty they may have had to their main banks and are opting for the providers with the most convenient, efficient, secure and, above all, speedy financial solutions. Can banks survive in the fintech world, and if so, how?
Societies face a stark reality: their 65-plus members are claiming a rapidly increasing population share. Japan may be the guinea pig in this predicament; in the Land of the Rising Sun, the death rate already eclipses the birthrate. How the innovation-savvy Japanese respond will be a model for other countries that will follow in their footsteps. Will Japan’s empathy for its elders be duplicated elsewhere, especially in financial industries?
Belgium’s KBC has since its inception 20 years ago been committed to meeting its customers’ multiple needs, helping them realize their dreams and protecting them as they achieved them. In the process, it grew into one of Europe’s top bank-insurers, today serving 11 million customers. But that enviable success is not enough. KBC is in the midst of a Digital First metamorphosis that is pushing through the known boundaries of customer service.
Open banking is an emerging global trend and is expected to drive increased choice for how individuals and businesses consume financial services, is driving significant change as the financial services industry adjusts to a digitally-enabled economy, and is working to appropriately manage the risk of a new digital ecosystem.