Selfies, changing behaviours, and the future of banking

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Beckie Williams, Head of Client Proposition, Nedbank Private Wealth, discusses the future of banking and the continued increased demand for digital solutions following the pandemic.

The global pandemic has increased the demand for digital solutions by putting ‘face to face’ on hold, and forcing us to change how we do things. This is no more prevalent than in the banking world. Most banks, especially those with a client-centric approach, will have started their digital journey long before the first utterance of “COVID-19” and will have already had strong digital strategies in place.

In the early stages, the focus was on understanding how digital strategies could enhance the customer experience while streamlining costs and processes for banks themselves - and just as importantly, aligning with a low carbon strategy. The harder part would be encouraging a behavioural shift in consumers, usually a long drawn out and costly process. For many, the pandemic proved the old adage “necessity is the mother of invention”. Suddenly, the ability to transact from home became a priority, as consumers recognised that digital processes were efficient, convenient, and safe.

As demand for digital solutions increased during the pandemic, many organisations reassessed their strategic priorities and realigned budgets to suit. For example, as part of our digital strategy, by January 2020 at Nedbank Private Wealth we were already seeing 70% of payments being made digitally. Since then we have developed our online wealth services and actively encouraged digital engagement across our client base, and now (September 2021), over 95% of our clients payments are digital.

Online banking is a fast, secure and convenient way to bank and has been gaining traction over the last decade. However, as consumers become more demanding of their digital experiences, the big leap forward has been in mobile banking. This is now an absolute requirement for banks who must keep up with the demand for “on the go” transactions. Not only that, but consumers are beginning to see additional tools and features that give them more ways to manage their money as a necessity.  One example is the ability to ‘literally’ put card management in to the hands of consumers.

This affords us the opportunity to first turn to a mobile app to freeze a card in a couple of clicks while we search which coat pocket our debit card might have been left in, then unfreezing it once found, and continuing to use the card. How many of you have thought you have lost a card and hurriedly cancelled it, as any conscientious person would, only to find it within the next few minutes? Then you wait for a new card. These are the things that in the past you would have instructed someone to do over the phone – after you have provided enough information to prove you are who you say you are. This is why the continued enhancement of features like this are, and will continue to be, a key part of any bank’s digital offering.

Another area that has been crying for a digital upgrade is the onboarding process. And thankfully it will soon be the norm to provide proof of identification digitally. No more will we be subjected to scanners and photocopiers and the manually monotony of the whole process that goes with opening up a bank account. Instead, a quick selfie and a few snaps of your driving licence from the comfort of your home, or bus queue for that matter, and you’re done. 

The successful banks of the future will need to be nimble and agile. They will need to keep up to date with the latest technology to enhance the customer experience further. The human factor will still be very significant and getting the balance right between automation and human touch points will be important.

In a digital age we will see consumers vote with their feet if they believe that they are not getting the best service from their bank – the time when people stay with a bank simply because it is more hassle to move is coming to an end. Consumers will search for convenience and security above all else and moving banks will be little more than a selfie away.

Find out more about why the Isle of Man is the natural choice for Excellence in Finance.



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