Retail banks are currently trying to do it all. Technology innovation is rife, but retail banks are unsure of which business model to follow; should they focus on services for the mobile customer, or improve branch services by expanding core branches and closing smaller, less frequented locations? Treasury professionals are demanding analytic technology for big data, superior mobile architecture, and cloud technology.
Advancements in banking technology are fuelling heightened competitiveness. Banking Strategies highlighted an informal survey of 127 treasury professionals. The survey showed that 50 percent of respondents would consider switching banks for better technology. The survey also found that more than 80 percent of respondents still rely on Microsoft Excel to do in-house analytics and that there is considerable demand for predictive analytic technology. For the retail banking sector:
- Touchscreen technology is a substantial area of investment, as is video conferencing and high-tech ATMs. Smart ATMS may be used to reduce staffing costs and to improve customer experience.
- Innovative software will increase cross-selling to customers. Bank online interfaces and ATM screens may soon have the ability to market products that appeal to a specific consumer profile. For example, pre-approved home improvement loans to homeowners. Retirement packages to mid-career professionals.
- The introduction of fees for online banking channels are imminent. The recent debacle concerning Bank of America’s attempt to charge fees for online services is an example of one market player going it alone. However, it will not be long before other leading banks succeed in providing convenience for a fee.
- Online banking services and technology will expand. According to William Wiedman, Senior Vice President of Applied Predictive Technologies, over 80 percent of accounts are still generated in-branch; however it will become easier to open accounts online, especially for existing customers or those pre-approved for credit cards and loans.
Bank staffing will be affected depending on the business model chosen by the bank. The closing of branches or the expansion of online services have obvious repercussions as far as staffing is concerned. Banking Strategies notes a trend toward universal staffing, where staff can handle a multitude of clients and financial services. This requires that staff be provided with the appropriate tools such as tablets to access central databases, client accounts, and to showcase online marketing materials.
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