Retail Bankers Not Ready For The Future

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 09, 2015


Innovation and adoption of new technologies will be the most important factors in determining the success of retail banking, as experts believe that the face of retail banking is expected to change globally over the next 5 years. While CIOs in the retail banking sector agree that a transformation of the banking landscape is inevitable and are aware of the priorities that are integral to its success in 2020, fewer than 20 percent feel equipped to address these priorities.

In a survey of 560 executives from leading financial institutions across 17 markets titled, “Retail Banking 2020: Evolution or Revolution,” PwC found that 90 percent of financial services executives agree on the priorities that lead to success in 2020, like Online and mobile banking that are already changing rules in banking, yet only a fifth feel well-prepared to address these priorities despite the fact that nearly all believe that a fundamental transformation of the banking industry is inevitable.

 “Growth remains elusive, costs are proving hard to contain, returns remain stubbornly low and regulation is impacting business models and economics,” said John Garvey, U.S. banking and capital markets leader at PwC. “Simultaneously, the evolution of technology and heightened customer expectations combined with the emergence of disruptive competitors creates new pressure to deliver higher levels of service at a time when value and trust in the sector is at an all-time low. Surviving and succeeding in this environment may require a fundamental rethink in approach.”

Challenges and priorities

The impact of growing and changing regulations is the primary challenge for retail banks in the US and UK, where banks are trying to stop seeing regulations as a burden and hoping to weave compliance into the fabric of their operations.

For example, in the U.S., attracting new customers (35 percent) and increasing profitability (33 percent) ranked second and third respectively, aligning with the hierarchy of investment priorities (56 percent regulatory compliance, 46 percent enhancing customer service and 30 percent implementing new technology).

Nearly all respondents (97 percent) view innovation as a critical driver of growth – with companies who consider themselves innovative predicting 62 percent growth over the next five years, nearly double the market average of 35 percent and triple the 21 percent for the least innovative companies.

Despite understanding the importance, only 10 percent of CEOs view their organizations as innovation leaders. Further, 64 percent of CEOs agree that neither innovation nor operational effectiveness are dominant – and are looking to succeed at both.

 PwC believes executives recognize they need to do things differently. According to the study, over 50 percent are planning to enhance their internal capabilities to foster innovation, and to create innovation management teams across business units. There is also a recognition that partnerships and third-party relationships may be the best way for banks to reap the benefits of innovation.

Finally, nearly three quarters (71 percent) of banking executives consider non-traditional competitors a threat, significantly higher than executives in Asia (42 percent), where more view them as an opportunity for partnering.

Priorities For Success

According to the research, 90 percent of the executives agree that the 5 key priorities for success in 2020:

1. Developing a customer centric business model

2. Optimizing distribution by evolving multichannel capabilities and reshaping the traditional branch model

3. Simplifying business and operating models

4. Harnessing data to deliver customer, risk management and financial advantages

5. Fostering agility and innovation.

According to PwC, each bank needs to develop a clear strategy to deal with the industry’s transforming landscape. They need to decide whether to lead, to follow fast, or to manage defensively, putting off change. They need to create agility and flexibility, to adapt to rapid change and future uncertainty. Yet, whatever the chosen strategy, success will come from successfully executing the right balance across the six priorities identified.

“Banks universally agree that they are hindered from addressing top priorities such as innovation by financial, talent, technology and organizational constraints, said Dave Hoffman, U.S. financial services management consulting leader at PwC. “Banks should take aggressive action to overcome these constraints to enable innovation and transformation, while preserving their ability to capitalize on market opportunities and address unexpected challenges.”

 PwC researchers believe whether this a revolution, evolution or both is yet to be seen. Many players globally are innovating and experimenting with new products, delivery channels and analytics. The industry has historically changed very slowly – yet the pace of change is increasing rapidly.

In conclusion it can be said that the challenges in the future are clear, but each institution’s response will be unique based on their current capabilities, markets, capital strength and aspirations. The key therefore is to leverage knowledge from the industry and from outside the industry to succeed.