Placing limitations on physical interaction, covid-19 left banks with little choice but to rapidly adopt digital solutions to fulfill customer needs. Though the transition was far from seamless, digital banking stats are up across the board. McKinsey, a consultancy, conservatively estimates that covid-19 accelerated the move to digital banking by at least two years, while Canadian firm Scotiabank claims 60% of their customers will not return to physical branches after the coronavirus recedes. From mobile banking to digital consultations, robo-advisors to automated customer-service platforms, there is little need for a customer to rely on physical branches the way they once did. A return to traditional, in-person banking is improbable.
Financial institutions have learned much from the coronavirus pandemic—about their own capabilities and how better to serve their customers. Looking ahead, they must now consider where next to place emphasis and investment to improve the digital experience and personalise their services.
Automation will free up time for specialists to focus on strategic tasks instead of mundane and monotonous ones, while AI platforms and predictive analytics can enhance human decision-making and increase profitability. Blockchain remains a promising tool to improve transparency and security in all sorts of transactions, if implemented correctly. And, as more customers take to smartphones and apps to do their banking, banks will need to invest in improving the digital experience and provide personalised services to retain loyal customers.
The list is long, and can be daunting even for the most forward-looking firms that already had a well-functioning digital banking ecosystem in place before the pandemic. Where to start?
Join The Economist Events for Digital banking amid covid-19, a new virtual roundtable discussion, to predict how financial services will evolve, the role that digitisation must play in financial services beyond covid 19, and how financial firms should prioritise limited budgets and resources. Participants will discuss:
Past, progress: As economies reopen in earnest, how will financial institutions incorporate lessons learned from the pandemic as they look to the future?
Vigilant vision: What role can technology play in improving resiliency and business-continuity plans for the next systemic shock?
Customer first: How have customer preferences for digital banking changed? How can we build a future-focused bank using these insights?
What’s on the menu: Between AI, robo-advisors and blockchain, there’s no shortage of appealing options in which to invest. Where to start?
Safe and sound: With new technologies come new risks. How do banks ensure they are securing critical information, customer data and staying on the right side of regulations?
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