2020 Vision: What role for banking professionals?
The Financial crisis, back in 2008, changed how a traditional banking environment operates and brought additional regulations and compliance controls to ensure financial institutions are run properly, keep customers’ funds safe, remain sustainable and avoid a repeat of another market disaster with inestimable consequences. Over the last 3-4 years, banking customers’ behaviour has highlighted the need for traditional banking transformation in something, which will allow them to change how they manage their funds differently. Some new entrants accepted the challenge and tried with baby steps to provide new products and services, in a modern and digital way. This revolution was just the beginning, with a few banks and financial service providers, such as Monzo, Starling Bank or Revolut allowing customers to apply electronically for a personal current account or credit card, and to use their cards immediately via electronic wallets and transfer money with no fees internationally.
The game has moved on even further, where banks have started focusing on customer experience versus the traditional business case and Profit and Loss (P&L). Customer satisfaction is the key driver of new product/service delivery practices while the customer plays an important role in key decision making and prioritisation. Challenger banks have been more competitive year by year, trying to close the gap with customers and offer more features and solutions to make the daily interactions with banks easier. It has been globally accepted that if you don’t follow the customer rule, then you will soon lose your power in the market. Even high street banks have invested millions of pounds to establish technology hubs around the world, allowing them to compete, not only with challenger banks but also to provide another service flavour to their loyal customers.
So, what is expected to happen next? Non-banking giants are predicted to enter the game and rock the boat; combining retail experience, extremely large customer volumes, solutions based on hi-tech solutions and simplified banking products/services, which could satisfy even the most difficult but loyal customers. Amazon, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft and others could take their turn and change banking environment operations. Consequently, this will force changes in banking regulations, requiring these tech giants to comply with additional controls and customer security safety nets, but even then, this could side-line traditional banks where products are too complex for customers’ daily needs.
If this prediction comes true, it will require leaders and professional bankers to emphasise the new changes, be open minded and trained on customer experience and customer facing techniques. They should also improve their skills to communicate differently, manage risks and issues efficiently and overlap banking and non-banking regulations. One important area which should remain stable is professional ethics. Even if the banking environment changes, professional ethics will still play a very important role among leaders and professionals; in particular, how they work and respect each other and how they protect customers and colleagues.
Throughout, the Chartered Banker Institute will continue to play a very important role by providing and accrediting revised and enhanced training modules/courses, executive MBA programmes or Diplomas, training and certificates focusing on digital banking, customer experience, risk management, green finance and other key aspects of banking. Being an Institute member gives you the opportunity to expand your network, share common practice, increase and improve your knowledge, apply professional ethics in such a way that the banking environment remains a sustainable and appropriate sector for professionals to work in. Being a member, you make a difference and are making a personal commitment and contribution to in a highly competitive and responsible future banking environment.