Banks are cornered between FinTech startups and tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. No longer loyal to traditional financial institutions, Internet-savvy consumers are already used to adopting new financial services from third parties. Consequently, banks are now faced with an inevitable choice: drive their stake into the FinTech arena, or die.
“Let’s not pretend that things will change if we keep doing the same things. A crisis can be a real blessing to any organisation, because creativity is born from distress. It is in crisis that invention, discovery and large strategies are born.”-Albert Einstein
BRAVE NEW WORLDThe global financial crisis brought on a great deal of social, political, economic and technological changes. On one hand, banks with certain investment practices encouraged consumers to invest in assets of questionable value or offered them high-risk credits. On the other, irresponsible consumers invested and spent beyond the scope of their real possibilities. Consequently, financial institutions lost reputation and trust among consumers. In turn, consumers are increasingly bewildered by the myriad choices of ways they can manage their day-to-day finances and plan for the long term.
Enter FinTech, bursting into the scene as the financial sector’s silver bullet. According to Silicon Valley Bank, 12 billion USD was poured into 728 FinTech companies in 2014 alone, 3 times more than in 2013. A growing number of tech giants and startups alike are manoeuvring to take a big bite of the sandwich by developing innovative technologies to provide access to credit and funding, easy payment for services, mobility at work and labor conciliation, etc.
So where do traditional banks fit in this brave new FinTech world? What can established financial organisations do to prevent further deterioration, regain broken trust and consumer loyalty, and continue to grow?
FINTECH TO THE RESCUEFinTech can offer a wide range of solutions for banks to innovate and help consumers feel that financial institutions are allies in their daily lives. Opportunities abound for banks to implement new tools and technologies to provide:
- Intelligent management of customers’ money, enabling them to understand how and why to save, get alerts to avoid overspending in their everyday purchases, learn to plan for the future, make better investments, et cetera. Through these smart digital banking tools, customers become more engaged with their institutions and maintain healthier financial statements.
- Intelligent recommendation of products and services that consumers actually want. Even beyond financial products or services, banks can gain new revenue streams by partnering with third party retail merchants such as shops, supermarkets and restaurants.
- Card-linked offers which apply discounts to third party offers and facilitate access and payment, making life easier and cheaper for customers, while simultaneously keeping the bank’s brand at top of mind.
- Mobile money management for commerce and payments. For individuals juggling busy lives, this means saving time and effort. For banks, it means boosted engagement by increasing daily interactions with customers on their favourite devices.
- Big data analysis to know customers better, personalise offerings and user experience, optimise offers and cross-selling, reduce credit risks, prevent fraud, learn new trends and enable continuous and more agile improvement.
- Better user experience to attract and retain users, increase user engagement and satisfaction, increase referrals and boost transactions and purchases.
- Gamification to make the user experience more fun, rewarding, sticky and viral. As a result, users spend more time per visit, accelerate the learning curve, influence other users’ actions, and become brand evangelists through social networks, direct online contact and word of mouth.
BANKS BITE BACKImagine a world where consumers feel fully supported in managing their finances, planning their futures and improving their quality of life. A world in which banks have regained their reputation as trustworthy partners, able to engage more customers, maintain loyalty and open up new avenues for business.
This is the world FinTech is already building. In order to create a win-win-win scenario and maximise benefits for all, banks could take their respective bite of the banking sandwich by:
- Offering holistic and intuitive digital money management tools that meet the needs and wants of banks’ individual customer groups
- Engaging and empowering customers through omni-channel, personalised experiences
- Appealing to millennials and digital natives with seamless and gamified UX
- Leveraging Big Data to gain deeper insights into customer wants and needs, develop customized offers and generate new revenue streams
- Accelerating product innovation to become more agile in a sector that is undergoing disruption
- Partnering with an experienced FinTech vendor to custom-build all of the above
- Innovating and co-creating with customers – one of the most effective ways to fine-tune current offers and unlock new opportunities