The banking industry experienced a strong recovery after one of the worst financial crisis. In the evolving banking landscape in emerging economies, the industry is quickly transforming.
Some of the top priorities for 2014 include focusing on digital convergence, and tackling competition from non-banks. Needless to say, a number of technology investments and changes are being made in order to keep up with the ever-changing field of social media, and leveraging customer data.
What are the top banking trends for 2014? Let’s take a look.
As previously mentioned, digital is impacting industries everywhere and no trend has impacted the business world as quickly as the drive-to-digital. In fact, according to two recent reports from Accenture, 35 percent of banks’ market share in North America could be in play by 2020 as traditional branch banking gives way to new digital players. What’s causing this? The rapid expansion in ownership of smartphones and tablet devices that make today’s consumer want to research financial services on demand. This is truly adjusting the financial services purchase funnel, the way people conduct daily banking, and the interaction between channels.
Digital allows for increased competition and accessibility. The trusted role of banks and credit unions as the collector of funds, provider of loans, and advisor of financial relationships is now met with offerings from less traditional players such as financial organizations (neobanks), hardware providers, and mobile app developers. These neo financial services allow the consumers to chip away at the traditional financial services model. Let’s also not forget crowdsourcing investment options that have been gaining much attention. According to experts, debt crowdfunding will become mainstream with Lending Club going public in potentially the biggest fintech startup IPO.
The New Branch
The current branch-based distribution models are no longer sustainable. They are simply not able to meet evolving customer needs for real time access. Customers want banks to provide them service on the go and instantaneously. Even though the branchless future may be out of the question for 2014, there is no arguing that ‘banking is no longer somewhere you go, but something you do’, altering the traditional model. This results in focusing on the integrating new technological breakthroughs to digitize transactions without dehumanizing interactions. Some other ideas include increased innovative use of technology to transform the branch into a more collaborative centres, enhance tablet technology, greater use of mobile, sophisticated targeting, geo-fencing and augmented reality to prompt sales.
The New Customer
The customer 3.0 is digitally connected, highly informed and demands a highly personalized approach in their communications, their products and the service they receive. This customer begins their bank and credit union product shopping experience at their desk, in their car or on their couch, relying on friends and family reviews and published reviews across social media channels. Instead of walking into a local branch office and sitting down to open an account during banking hours, these customers purchase their banking services online. The customer 3.0 changing the purchasing models with banks and it is important to stay up to date. Implementing a mobile first strategy is necessary and effectively migrating customers is no longer just an option.
Activity based marketing is on the rise. It truly changes the point of interaction yet again integrating social media and big data into the decision making process. In 2014, new location-based merchant-funded reward platforms will emerge integrating social media channel insight. The banks will continue to improve real-time alerts and strengthening loyalty and engagement. The banks will also use analytics to identify needs and take actions to improve customer experience, evolving models to more accurately detect fraud. The most successful credit unions and banks preparing for business in a digital economy will begin to focus on optimizing their digital user experiences built upon a marketing automation platform to target, capture, nurture and convert leads.
As you are adapting to these changes, it is important to note that your employees are your biggest assets. While boards and senior management align staff behaviour with new strategies and risks, the focus must be placed on the proper training and communication of bank staff. In scenarios like this where there is a great deal of change taking place, communication is crucial. In explaining the practical effects of changes, staff must be encouraged to report and escalate issues early instead of burying them. It is also necessary to resolve potential conflicts between the sales-driven front office culture and the risk culture. How can this be accomplished? Engaging and empowering staff during these major changes will increase efficiency and overall employee satisfaction.
Marina Arnaout comes from a marketing communications background with expertise in variety of mediums ranging from TV to out-of-home advertising. Finding her niche in the social realm, she is a frequent contributor to industry publications often covering social marketing and media trends. For more, follow Marina on Twitter @marinarn.