The banking revolution: returning to the essence of being alongside customers
Whether it is because of the COVID-19 pandemic or the fact that they are reinventing themselves in terms of customer relationship services, banks are revolutionising this year, turning banking as we know it upside down. Apart from the 10 trends that can change in the banking industry this year according to expert Alan McIntyre, let’s go back to the beginnings of banking in Catalonia, because to understand the revolution, it is interesting to understand the beginnings of banking in our country.
Due to our current frenetic lifestyle, we often forget the moment when the most important changes happen: we take it as a fact that life has always been as we know it or as we make it work. In the case of banks, the first Catalan bank in the Middle Ages, called Taula de canvi de Barcelona, consisted of a few wood boards on the street where money was counted, banking operations were carried out, and payments were also made. From this table of change, created in 1401 thanks to the Consell de Cent in Barcelona and considered the first public bank in Europe, the banking world has spun many times. But why do we talk about history at 11Onze? Well, simply because, to understand the world today, we have to understand the beginning of things, and if Catalonia made a change in the banking relationship after the plague of 1348, why not make a banking revolution in the relationship with new customers, which has also been transformed following the 2020 pandemic?
But what does revolution mean? The dictionary defines revolution as “a total, radical change.” To make this change real, the revolutionary gaze focuses on people’s needs. We need to adapt to the new way of living in society, in which we are using less and less cash, therefore the customer no longer looks for an ATM at every corner, nor do they want to go to their branch. The client wants good care that is fast and is carried out through a good web operating system. In short, a bank that adapts to their lifestyle. Therefore, as a bank, we want to focus the revolution on adapting to the needs of each citizen, giving all the information they need to make the best financial decisions. In fact, we want the customer to choose us because we really do provide solutions to their needs.
Expert Alan McIntyre of the technology services consulting company Accenture has drawn, in Accenture’s webpage, his annual list of the 10 trends most likely to affect the banking industry in 2021.
The first trend on the McIntyre banking revolution list tells us that we must go for it with all possible resources, otherwise we should not even attempt to start a project; this trend can relate much to the context of change that society needs right now, following the 2020 pandemic, when many sectors have been forced to regenerate or die. The second McIntyre trend is this new normality, which was so widely talked about in the media last year. We link it with the banking world as a new standardization of traditional banking to future banking. McIntyre’s third trend is defined as the new era of banking applications, where banks will stop interacting with customers as they have done so far, and will be more than banking services within their apps, offering new opportunities to customers. Fourthly in this famous banking list we have the tendency towards radical transparency in a bank, where all the information that the customer needs is shared. Here we find an added value: the customer has the power to think for themselves with the information they receive from their bank, which gives them the opportunity to decide by themselves what to do with their money and how. McIntyre’s fifth tendency reminds us that you must be acknowledged not as being the best in something, but as the only one to make change in the banking world possible, be the innovator. Sixthly, McIntyre points out that cash will no longer be the main point of operations, attaching greater importance to a world that we already have internalised, that of digital payments. As a seventh trend, he says that banking is embarking on sustainability for a world that acknowledges the macroeconomic consequences of climate change. McIntyre’s eighth trend is defined as uncertainty in American regulations after the 2021 election period, which may have a direct impact on international economic efforts. Ninthly, we find the importance of the digital regulator and, as McIntyre’s last trend, we find that digital banking environments will become much more open and secure, leaving behind the archaic and closed environments typical of the worn-out banking world.
We must wait and see how these McIntyre trends come true. In the meantime, we must see the path every bank takes in this banking revolution, and to what extent this change in the relationship with new customers is made.