2018 will bring exciting change in the banking sector. This will be a year in which new regulations and new ideologies will cement their presence in finance, and the customer will continue to rule the roost. A year of optimizing experiences, revamping our digital offering and taking banking to the underserved segments of the world.
Not for the faint of heart, but banks would be wise to add a few of these to their resolution list!
A for Anticipatory Design
We’re all about personalization, and are firm believers in creating the ultimate user experience based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, understanding the customer from behind the scenes.
2018 will see us asking far fewer questions of our customers, based on an in-depth knowledge of their preferences. When we remove excessive customer input, based on past activity and habits, we streamline processes and make for more efficient decision-making. We still want the customer to be central to our operations, to allow us generate targeted service and product suggestions, but the need for it is infinitely reduced. Retailers, travel agents and of course banks now know what you want, and can offer you a service that is tailor-made to suit you. A step on from Big Data and analytics, this is a new era of user-centric UX.
b FOR (OPEN) BANKING
A fortnight into 2018 and Open Banking is well underway. Depending on the bank, adoption of this new system is more or less complete, with only a small handful given permission until the end of the year to implement the final stages of their strategy.
A half-hearted approach to this change is not a luxury banks can afford.
Fintech expert Chris Skinner rightly points out that “Banking-as-usual (BAU) is not an option. It’s similar to standing in the middle of the road. If you stand there for long enough, you’ll get run over. This is as true in banking: if you stop changing, you die”.
Banks, despite contrary belief, are well-accustomed to change; their survival is testament to their ability to move with the times. The latest advances in banking regulation will put this resilience to the ultimate test.
c FOR custromer-centric focus
At the heart of it all: the customer. The focal point for banks has shifted to meet the changing expectations of a new breed of user. One that now has control and ultimate power of veto over their personal financial data, one that expects a bank to solve their issues and understand them. The customer wants experience, efficiency and everything at the touch of a button. UX and UI are at the heart of the matter, and ‘invisible’ PFM solutions the way forward to fully integrate everything into existing banking platforms.
D FOR DIGITAL, DIGITAL, DIGITAL
This one goes without saying. More than just a mobile app, a responsive website and a virtual bank card, true digitalization requires a complete change of mentality, leaving the branch-visiting, savings book days of the past, well in the past. Digital needs to be a fundamental part of back office, front office, the core banking proposition and a commitment to offering the most user-friendly banking experience.
E FOR ENGAGEMENT
To engage users, you need to be more engaging, and this means creating strong content and adding value. Offering content and services which reach the user at the right time, in the right way takes dedication and knowledge. Invest in content strategy, analytics, and go mobile above all, so you are where you need to be, when you need to be there. A bank that treats its customers as individuals, offering personalized services and solutions, is a bank for life.
f FOR financial inclusion
The future is without doubt, one of banking for all. Whether SMEs, freelancers, women or the unbanked, mobile banking and changes in regulation will mean the needs of those for whom banking had failed to meet requirements, or was simply unattainable. Mobile banking app use reached an all-time high of 61% in 2017 (according to Mobile Ecosystem Forum’s Mobile Money Report) and in many cultures, this is the step into financial education and literacy that they had been in such desperate need of for so long.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aoife is an experienced copywriter and translator in English, Spanish and Catalan across several sectors. Passionate about all things language-related and a whiz with words, she gives voice to the Strands values through all manner of articles, blog posts and whitepapers.