The Evolving Digital Financial Institution

The customer experience for financial institutions, and customers’ perceptions of banks and credit unions, are changing. In a constantly evolving industry (and one that is evolving quicker than it ever has in the past), it’s important to take a step back and understand the current state of financial services. At a high level, customers want more and less interaction with their financial institution simultaneously. 2019 will see increased interaction and monitoring of their financial life, but will experience more of this activity through digital, rather than in-depth and in-person interactions. They will have higher expectations of their financial institution, and think of their FI as a strategic partner in their overall financial health. Going into the future, consumers will expect their data to be better utilized, but to be even better protected as it’s being accessed.

More Frequent Touchpoints

Consumers will conduct more transactions and interact with their financial institutions than ever before, looking for features and capabilities that help them be nimble with their finances. Higher numbers and increasingly specified savings accounts, more flexiblity with retirement accounts and regular monitoring of their financial health all play into this dynamic.

Branding Through Digital

Customers will have more interactions through digital than ever before. Increasing amounts of self-service, confident movement past buggy apps and increasing digital parity among big banks and smaller financial institutions all make the digital playing field more accessible than ever before. As such, organizations need to make sure their personality, brand values and differentiators are communicated through this channel, especially mobile. However, this doesn’t affect the relevance of branches and bank associates. It simply puts more pressure on branch experiences to excel in their delivery. Utilizing the capabilities of a universal banker, bank associates must be familiar with the digital landscape their customers regularly function within as well, able to explain and troubleshoot digital issues in person.

Growing Through New Value

One of the ways customers are increasingly expecting more from their financial institutions is through consulting and advice. For the traditional retail banking customer, they’re looking toward their financial institutions to help them manage and optimize their finances, rather than simply oversee them. More readily available information about personal finance and a consumer base that more readily shares data and information has given rise to this increase in expectation, and financial institutions can make themselves invaluable partners along the way.

The Future is Sophisticated Security

Perhaps most notably, the direction banking is moving toward in the future includes the unique challenge and opportunity of guaranteeing security while utilizing/sharing more consumer data than ever before. Open banking, the pioneering of blockchain for financial institutions and the capabilities of FinTech all create audacious and meaningful opportunities. While FinTech partnerships with traditional financial institutions are already moving ahead full steam, open banking and blockchain are still being defined. This creates an opportunity for executives and directors to get on board with these innovations before they enter the mainstream in order to position their organizations for long-term success and timely evolution.
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