A crowdsourced group of bankers, credit union executives, analysts, and other financial services leaders from around the globe have chimed in on the biggest trends expected to impact the retail banking industry this year.
Using Customer Analytics to Drive Contextual Experiences: Banks and credit unions will scour their data on spending patterns, product use, preferred communication channels, and other areas to improve customer service. The data will help financial services companies better target customers with advertising and service offerings.
Expedited Deployment of Digital Delivery: Expect to see more use of video for sales and service, such as video tellers in branches and other remote locations to offer customers a “human touch.” Other technologies include beacons to identify customers and their needs; tablets in branches for self-service and use by employees; and banking apps for smart TVs, smartwatches, and laptops.
Mobile-First Design: More apps will be made available to meet customers’ specific needs. For example, a stand-alone home-buying app could offer home prices, loan rates, and channels to reach experts.
Increasing Digital and Social Selling: Predicting twice as many customers will research products on their mobile devices in 2015 compared in 2014, banks will focus on improving marketing and sales functions within mobile apps. Midsize and large banks will expand their social media outreach efforts.
Mass-Market Acceptance of Mobile Payments: Riding the waves made by Apple Pay in 2014, mobile payments are predicted to grow by 61 percent in 2015.
Focus on Security and Authentication: Banks will look for ways to improve mobile authentication, understanding that they cannot rely completely on consumers to protect information. Apple gets another nod for their mobile pay model using revocable tokens for in-app purchases.
Industry Consolidation: Most of the industry experts believe current levels of mergers and acquisitions will continue, if not increase in the new year. Consolidation drivers include banks making acquisitions to improve compliance and regulatory expertise, and to enhance their mobile and online presence.
Enhanced Customer Incentivization: A good possibility that the Federal Reserve will increase rates in 2015 means banks will compete fiercely to retain customers. Some see incentives beginning to shift beyond traditional core banking products, such as rewarding customers for maintaining good health.
Investment in Innovation, Incubation, and Uncommon Alliances: Banks will continue to invest in innovation labs and also seek partnerships with or directly acquire start-ups offering innovative banking and payment products. However, some innovation labs will be hampered by corporate cultures that demand a clear ROI.
Increased Impact of Digital Disruptors: The traditional banking establishment will continue to be put off balance by small, nimble start-ups bringing digital banking products to the market. Banks will find themselves allying with non-traditional partners to compete for these “digital customers.”