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Digital Banking with a Human Touch: Three Trends

The rush to digital is forcing banks to rethink when, where and how to bring the human factor into the customer’s journey. 

The tech revolution flipped the traditional business model in many industries. In the financial industry, an EY report revealed that the global adoption of fintech services – which brought a lot of convenience to users, like remote account openings and instant payments – moved steadily upward, from 16% in 2015 to 64% in 20191. 

Customers have switched to mobile banking and payment apps in great numbers in the past years, and the trend is expected to rise. Experts quoted by Global Banking & Finance believe that 72% of adults in the UK will use mobile apps for payments and transactions by 20232 

The pandemic accelerated the rush to digital. In March 2020, when the coronavirus outbreak was labelled a pandemic, 25% of bank branches worldwide were closed, and 15% remained shuttered by the end of spring. However, even ahead of the pandemic, branch contribution to core banking unit sales had dropped from 75% in 2015 to 55% in 2019, according to McKinsey3. 

More than 4,000 bank branches in the UK have closed in the past six years as digital services have been expanding, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, quoted by Forbes4. Bank branches are also rapidly declining in the U.S., with some research predicting they may become extinct by 20345. 

But what happens when a customer needs a more sophisticated product – such as a mortgage – and specific guidance for more complex financial transactions? What communication channels does he or she prefer when distress comes up?  

Digital banking is fast and frictionless, that’s true. However, are these capabilities enough for a bank to build trust and attract new customers in strategic business areas? How can the human touch be embedded into digital banking in a way that is convenient for both the bank and the customer? 

A recent FintechOS webinar, “Personalized Digital Banking with a Human Touch” addressed that topic, and the major takeaway was that even the most digital-savvy users still want guidance from a human being, as well as trust in their bank. And these two elements are just as important as a customer’s desire to have a friction-free customer journey. 

You can find below three major trends in personalized digital banking with a human touch spotted by the two speakers of the webinar, Ionuț Encescu, Head of Products & Digital Innovation Hub at First Bank and Vitor Barros, Head of Platform Evangelism at FintechOS. 

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