It’s that time of the year, folks! In true W.UP fashion, in the coming weeks we’ll be looking back on 2020 – and forward to 2021 – in digitalisation, banking, personalisation and more. Admittedly, this year has been anything but routine. On the plus side, we had the chance to sit down (virtually, of course) with some pretty big brains and talk about the challenges banks, old and new, and their customers have faced amidst all the turbulence. We’ve handpicked our favourite takeaways from these discussions to inspire your 2021 digital banking strategies. Dive in!
The most dangerous thing to do right now is to think about the future in a linear way. Think in scenarios instead.
Frankfurt FinTech Forum co-founder Frank Schwab doesn’t believe in “going back to normal” and doesn’t think that anyone else should, either. Especially because the coronavirus crisis is not going away anytime soon. And even if it does, the changes it has brought about are here to stay. “Even my children spend half of their days in video conferences now. If this situation keeps up for the next 12-24 months, by the time the crisis is over, every single person will have figured out how to live without physical branches,” he pointed out during our webinar on digital banking in the time of COVID-19. “We will see major changes in people’s behaviours, whether it’s about travelling or attending meetings or using office spaces. My advice is to start thinking about scenarios. Look at your worst-case scenario and take it from there.”
Can traditional banks deliver on the digital front and stay close to customers in need? Listen now.
In the face of uncertainty, most people stick to what’s safe and familiar. But what does safety mean now?
“If you’re older, it might mean something that you’ve known for your whole life. But if you’re under 40 – and a lot of fintechs and neobanks appeal to that age group – it might mean a company you can communicate easily with,” pointed out Kevin Albrecht, co-founder and CEO of Swedish neobank P.F.C. on what’s next for challenger banks.
If the latter is the case, financial service providers where customers’ needs are at the core of business are bound to be in pole position. No matter if they’ve been in the business for 10 or 100 years.
But what’s a trusted brand or company these days? Is it something that’s traditional or something that you interact with every single day and knows you well?JEROEN DE BEL, FOUNDER OF FINCOG
Fincog founder Jeroen de Bel added: “Whenever a financial shock hits, it spurs a risk-off mood. Ten years ago, most people sought safety with traditional banks. But what’s a trusted brand or company these days? Is it something that’s traditional or something that you interact with every single day and knows you well?”
More expert opinions on the post-pandemic industry landscape this way.
Invisible banking is a competitive edge rather than a way to commoditise banks.
During our webinar on invisible banking, much of the debate focused on whether it’s something industry players, established ones in particular, should be afraid of. The answer strongly depends on how you define invisible banking. According to Bruno Macedo, fintech evangelist and head of delivery implementations at five°degrees, invisibility doesn’t necessarily mean that customer interactions have to disappear.
It’s more about creating meaningful, personalised experiences and eliminating the mundane, time-consuming aspects of banking. We don’t wake up thinking “I can’t wait to sit down at my computer and do some banking,” reminded Macedo. People don’t want banking to be the goal but a means to an end, like taking out a mortgage to buy their first home. And of course, they want it all wrapped in the same cushy digital experiences they’ve grown accustomed to, courtesy of GAFA.
Is becoming invisible the next step in banks’ evolution? Hear the experts.
Banks now have a blueprint for partnerships with fintechs. It’s time they used it to build long-term success.
“Fintechs were first viewed as competitors – and small ones at that. No large bank thought of them as a real threat on a 3-5-year horizon,” recalled Michael Anyfantakis, platform lead at Amsterdam Trade Bank, during our panel discussion on bank-fintech collaborations. The tables have turned when, with the rise of challenger banks, a new breed of banking consumers has also emerged. One that will settle for nothing less than the best of both worlds.
“Instead of just going after customers, financial technology firms started going to banks with ideas on how to build better customer experiences,” explained Anyfantakis. “That’s when banks started to look at them as collaborators instead of competitors.” These partnerships, however, were off to a rocky start. Although at the cutting edge of technology innovation, challengers were in the early stages of building their value proposition, client base and security protocols.
By now, however, many of them have built compelling track records of project delivery and impact. They’re much more credible and mature, with years of experience in driving digital transformation across an industry hindered by robust regulation, legacy systems, branch-centred culture and product-first thinking. And they might just be traditional players’ best bet to win in an ever-so-competitive market.