2015 may well be remembered as the year that retail banking finally began to fully embrace the possibilities of modern mobile technology. At this point the idea of a bank existing as something other than a network of branches is well established in the mind of the public – it took the long route through telephone banking and online banking but now that we’ve arrived at mobile, app-based banking, the electronic, always-on bank is an accepted and understood reality.
There’s been a lot of excited talk in the industry about how this new world of mobile banking allows the bank to involve their brand in the everyday life of their customers, in a wide variety of ways never possible before. They can offer a wide variety of financial services and seamlessly deliver information and options on them to customers in easily accessible ways across multiple digital devices. We’ve seen this approach being taken by NatWest and Santander, who, through their apps, will offer customers checking their bank balance ISAs and credit cards.
But what’s perhaps more exciting to customers, or potential customers, is the approach being taken by some new entries to the field like Starling Bank, who are offering a “current account only” banking experience entirely via an app. It’s modern retail banking cut down to its absolute bare essential core element and with no need to visit a branch at any point. For younger customers who’ve always found high street banking old fashioned, this could be the ideal solution – they don’t necessarily have any immediate need for savings account or mortgages and if they do later on they can seek out a dedicated specialist provider.
Current FinTech is opening up new horizons for retail banking, and it’ll be very interesting to see if either one of these two distinct approaches turns out to be the definitive model going forward, or if we should get used to an ever more diverse marketplace with more and more different approaches to banking built to suit different demographics.
For those of you who work in retail banking, what are you hearing from customers? What do you think people really want?
[For any recruitment or career advancement enquiries within Retail Banking, contact the Kind office on 01216432100 or info at KindConsultancy dot com]