Top 10 Retail Banking Trends & Predictions for 2017 Report

The Digital Banking Report have released their sixth annual survey into Retail Banking Trends & Predictions; removing friction from the customer journey is the no. 1 concern.

The survey, authored by Jim Marous, the co-publisher of The Financial Brand and the Digital Banking Report, gauges the thoughts of over 100 “global financial services leaders” and 900 organisations, crowdsourcing the views of bankers, credit union executives, industry analysts, advisors, authors and fintech followers from Asia, Africa, North America, South and Central America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

The report, sponsored by Kony Inc for the second consecutive year, asked respondents to rank their top 3 trends for the year ahead – which 760 financial institutions duly did – the highest ranking prediction being that the industry would “remove friction from the customer journey” – 54% of respondents listed this as one of their top three – followed by “the use of data and advanced analytics”, also 54%, and “improvements in multichannel delivery”, 45%.

Another trend that emerged that was barely mentioned in the previous year’s report was open banking APIs – mentioned by 32% of respondents. The remaining trends, in order of popularity; partnering with Fintech firms; expansion of digital payments; responding to regulations; exploring advanced technologies; the emergence of “challenger Banks”, and investment innovation.

Marous describes the optimal customer journey thus: “to make every step and touchpoint in the buying cycle streamlined, efficient, consistent and personalized from the consumer perspective”, and warns that “the relatively poor performance by a majority of traditional financial services organisations in delivering a customer-focused digital account opening, onboarding and cross-selling process is an opportunity for those institutions that want to embrace the potential of becoming a ‘Digital Bank’”.

“Banks will be willing to partner with Fintech startups that offer delightful digital experiences that has resulted in a loyal fan base”, says Deva Annamalai, Director of Innovation and Insights at Fiserv.

What is it that makes signing up for financial services such a painful process, and so prone to abandonment at the “shopping cart” stage?

At a basic level, banking is neither a sexy nor a simple process, and customers have had their fingers burned by mis-selling scandals and costly financial collapses. App builders and Fintech disruptors have their work cut out trying to de-mystify and promote financial services as hassle and risk free, as well as a wise and even a “fun” thing to do.

The ones that succeed will be in high demand, indeed.

“2017 will be the year of ‘convergence’ in financial services. There will be more cooperation between financial services and startups, blurring lines between traditional products (retail, payments & insurance in particular), and the acceleration of the convergence of technologies including mobile, distributed ledgers, IoT and cognitive computing.”

Writes Fintech luminary Sebastian Meunier, on his blog.

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