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Top 6 Fintech Priorities for Banks in 2020

This article presents the key findings of PwC experts in Retail Banking by exploring top Fintech trends for banks in 2020. The global banking sector is facing disruptive changes. Thus, the survival of most players depends on how well they can adapt to the new business landscape and new customer preferences. Understanding the customer is key to success, as well as reaching out to clientele with omni-channel communication and sensitively customized products. The importance of data analytics is expected to grow in 2020. Banks also expect some growing pressures for in-depth, cross-sectional operational simplification and innovation in banking operations.

The landscape in which banks operate across the globe is evolving at an unprecedented pace. This requires each financial institution to develop strategic responses to these changes and trends to survive. Analysis of consumer preferences reveals the pain points of banking services and suggests that sustainable growth and stability of market positions are possible only through radical improvement of customer experience. This change is in part possible with advancement of banks’ technological capacity enabled by innovation across the entire business model.

Six Priorities: Significant gap between preparedness and importance

Six priorities for banks

The 2020 report of PwC experts in Retail Banking identified six most pressing priorities for banks, highlighting the emerging role and power of Fintech in the banking sector. Macro-trends that analysts observe in banking today, relevant both for incumbent banks and for smaller players in the industry, include: 

  • Radical optimization of distribution channels 
  • Development of a genuine customer focus 
  • Simplification of business and operating models 
  • Gaining a competitive advantage through data management and analytics 
  • Prioritization of innovation with allocation of sufficient financing 
  • New ways of risk, capital, and regulative management 

Optimization of distribution channels

Banking is one of the most conservative sectors in terms of distribution. But conventional distribution channels are approaching disruption. More customers wish to access all services of their bank in a practical, intuitive app rather than travel to one of the branch offices and wait for a consultation. 

Physical buildings are far from obsolete, but they should evolve in response to clients’ requirements. Modern forms of distribution points include flagship branches, community centers, and expanded ATMs. Each of them performs their community outreach, education, support, and/or engagement roles. With these changes in mind, banks design well-thought mixes of branch models, invest in the design of optimized distribution networks, and move towards an intuitive, user-friendly visual design of branches. These measures allow improving user experience and delivering banking services on demand. 

Areas of significant effort over next 5 years

Areas of effort

Customer focus 

Though a customer-centric business model has been a priority in most sectors for the past decade, it is still largely absent in banking. The most pressing problem of banks is a strong product focus coupled with a lack of insight into their customer profiles. Numerous product offerings sent out to clients automatically fail most of the time because of their poor customization. 

Complex product lines and unclear fee structures alienate banks from their clients, leaving a critical gap in customer experience and service quality. PwC experts suggest addressing the problem with radical product line simplification and customer-friendly and clear fees. Establishment of omni-channel digital communication, which modern tech-savvy customers appreciate so much, may also help. That’s what Artkai achieved in a Fintech project for Pro Credit Bank , creating a positive, satisfying customer journey with the help of an innovative, usable app. Its primary benefits were enhanced with an appealing, functional UI design. 

Simpler business and operating models

PwC analysts pointed out that in many instances, only 5% of banks’ products generate around 80% of revenue. User experience research helps gain insight into the nature of this phenomenon. Banking products, channels, and prices are too complex for customers to comprehend their benefits and make use of them in full. A practical solution here is radical, in-depth simplification. Staff reduction and operational re-engineering are not enough. Changes should go deeper to enable solution-oriented, integrated, operations. If such radical changes are achieved, the positive impact will go far beyond service and profitability improvements. They will bring about customer base expansions, shorter time to market, and cost cuts. 

Bankers believe simplification will...

Simplification Fintech

Innovative data management 

Amid masses of information circulating online, it’s more imperative than ever for banks to collect relevant user data and analyze it to create a better customer experience. The potential of data analytics is enormous, enabling more precise credit and risk assessments, sensitive adjustment of pricing models, and timely reputation scoring. 

There are tons of banking applications for user data, ranging from card sorting to data aggregation through social media. Each of them offers useful insights into the real-time needs of clients. But data management is a costly and challenging endeavor that only leaders in the banking sector may embrace fully. A workable alternative for smaller banks is to collaborate with third-party Fintech and data analytics providers. 

PwC's Integrated SocialMind Platform

PwC Social Mind Platform

Financing the innovation  

As the past efforts of banks showed, improving the experiences of clients stagnates if there is no dedication to the project inside the company. To create a genuinely customer-focused, innovative solution, the bank needs to understand its clients and deliver the services and products they need. Today not only the “what,” but also the “how” matters much. 

Banks that will thrive in 2020 focus on mapping the customer preferences, identifying popular interfaces and channels , and reaching their clients through them. As with the Artkai digital banking ecosystem, Pro Credit Bank captured the opportunity of greater client outreach with a fundamental redesign of its five core products. The resulting user experience design was effortless and relevant to the technology use trends, helping the bank increase customer loyalty. 

Open Innovation - Importance and preparedness

PWC Open Innovation Fintech

Managing risk, capital, and regulations 

Despite the innovation pressure, concerns inherent in banking operations remain the same – managing risk, capital, and regulations. But innovations outlined in the PwC report promise to improve management operations at all levels, optimizing capital and liquidity. As a result of integrative, comprehensive changes in the structure and operations banks forgo in 2020, they can establish a robust, integrated enterprise risk framework. Such improvement help achieve effective management of their core operational aspects. 

Conclusion

As the PwC report showed, banks are at the threshold of disruptive innovations, and embracing the change will determine the survival of many actors in the banking sector. But even in the turbulent times, banks can advance their performance through Fintech-enabled changes to the operational structure, data, and customer-focused service delivery. Partnerships with third-party providers are emerging even in banking, highlighting the benefits of remote teams, especially topical amid the modern global quarantine crisis. Thus, by using this 2020 survival kit for banks, forward-looking and innovation-focused businesses may achieve visible performance improvements.

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