How banking is changing at lightning speed

Rapid innovation is transforming the way you interact with your bank – for the better

Remember when you had to go to a bank to do your banking?

The customer experience at leading banks is undergoing a revolution, with technology and innovation bringing change at lightning speed, making things faster, simpler, and safer. Today’s banking experience looks nothing like it did 10 years ago – and the ongoing digital disruption promises to make today look like, well, just a good start.

While the evolving world of technology creates untold possibilities for the banking industry, much more is involved in keeping up with the dizzying pace of change.

Increasingly digitally driven customers have come to expect getting the financial services they want, when and where they want them. While yesteryear’s bricks-and-mortar bank built trust with customers through personal relationships, today’s bank builds customer trust on fulfilled expectations. Banking must be as easy and convenient as anything else you can do on a mobile phone.

Yet studies such as the FIS Consumer Banking PACE study show the basic foundational aspects of banking are still the most important to customers – with safety, security and fairness topping the list of customer expectations.

“What’s changed with recent advances in technology and data science is that now we are able to use that data much more effectively, to understand our customers better, to serve them better, and help them achieve their financial aspirations and goals,” says Shameek Kundu, our Chief Data Officer.

Smart friend

Banks now have the ability to better know their customers, anticipate their needs, and offer products and services most relevant to their individual requirements.

“It’s as if you’re sitting with an extremely smart and empathetic friend who knows you very well, who understands you, the stage of life you’re in, and can help you to meet your requirements – sometimes perhaps anticipating them, but respectful of your privacy,” Shameek says.

The paradigm shift has driven banks to innovate from the outside in, become more user-centric, and invest heavily in design and technology.

All aspects of banking are under transformation. They include:

Safety and security. Financial crime — from fraud to electronic crime, money laundering to bribery and corruption — is an ever-present threat for organisations. New technologies and solutions have made it easier for banks to interpret vast amounts of data, generating useful insights to help prevent and detect financial crime.

The forgotten password. Voice biometrics, fingerprints, iris scans, and other authentication options are beginning to replace passwords as a means to verify a user’s identity and simplify the login process.

The mobile wallet. Initiating and receiving payments by a mobile phone, without the need for a traditional bank account, is another groundbreaking development. That goes for the traditionally unbanked who live far away from a walk-in branch, and businesses and NGOs operating in remote regions where carrying cash is now a needless burden.

Global reach in real time. Blockchain and digital ledger technology are revolutionising the speed and efficiency of global payments. For example, companies could gain anytime, anywhere, near-instant global access to their funds; cash could be in continual motion to meet a company’s working capital and liquidity needs.

Big data. Financial institutions are making use of big data in big ways, from boosting cybersecurity to cultivating customer loyalty, and more through innovative and personalised offerings that make modern banking a highly individualised experience.

These innovations, and all that they promise, are in keeping with consumer expectations. Today a majority of bank customers regularly access online banking services, and a fast-growing segment uses mobile banking services, particularly younger consumers.

The great financial revolution

So the great finance revolution isn’t about innovation for innovation’s sake. It’s about meeting people’s needs, making lives better, and promoting growth in communities around the world.

“If we understand our customers better, it also helps us design our propositions to them, what services we offer, what products we offer, and hopefully in a much more targeted fashion,” Shameek says. “For the businesses we serve, that means understanding their entire ecosystem, their partners, their sellers, their distributors, their logistics partners. If we can help them transact across their ecosystem, that is another area where innovation can add value.”

This article was created by BBC StoryWorks, the commercial content division within BBC Worldwide, and was originally published here (please note this link is not accessible from the UK).