The changing face of banking: the urgency of going digital

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a lexicon of new words and phrases to explain and sugar-coat the reality of the ever-virulent virus. ‘Bubble,’ ‘Lockdown.’ ‘Social Distancing’ have all become a daily inclusion into the language of contemporary life. However, this linguistic iteration is not the only relative societal construct to have changed.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digitization have all become reconstituted additions to how society conducts itself in the altered world stage. Adjustments have been implemented to promote public health and safety. Conventional social-mores re-evaluated. Mask-wearing is mandatory, and then it is not. Tempers have become frayed, entitlement rules, and a breed of new humans, identified as “Karen,” have humored and shocked YouTube channels, becoming an adjective of derision in their own right. As these long-established norms of etiquette and humanness have had to adjust, becoming innovative and progressive in the process, so too has the banking industry had to reinvent themselves, as their traditions and structure have been intimately affected.

Covid-19 has radically transformed the way banking is being conducted. Banks and financial institutions are navigating this transition as the industry scrambles to rally around the exponential growth of digital transactions. Challenging this growth has been the issue of maintaining a relevant presence. Additionally, the quality control of the proffered products requires immediate and ongoing attention to maintain continuity and relevance throughout the industry.

These issues have been hindered by traditional banking institutions mitigating the real risks involved in innovation and change. This is irrespective of investment. This is regardless of spending on issues such as compliance, governance, risk, and technology. In doing this, digital banking realized double-digit gains before the pandemic. This expenditure before the world stood still has paid off. These astute investments have started to reap substantial rewards for the prudent, visionary retail and challenger banks.

This sagacity has seen digital banks’ client bases increase over 300% in the past few years. These digital financial incarnations have intuitively used the adverse risks of digitizing their core businesses of deposits and borrowing to pull off personalized interactions with a faster turnaround. However, in doing this, banks continue to need to acknowledge that they need to entrench themselves into the intimacies of their customer base. Their customers live now that working from home and internet connectivity are a staple in the modern world.

Banks need to appreciate that being AI and/ or digital savvy requires integration. This means that assimilation of digital technology needs agility within their commercial process. That amalgamation needs to be customer-focused, with coherent strategies that are multi-faceted. This means that the industry needs to maintain a current omnichannel system that maximizes their respective technological investments’ actual value and worth.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 continues to be an ever-present, global inconvenience. The ongoing danger that aggravates an already confronted enterprise necessitates that this integral, inter-connected industry needs to continue to shift from being product-centric to being customer-centric fluidly. From bricks-and-mortar to digitization. Only by doing this will banking meet the demands of the radically transforming financial landscape.

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