The relationship between banks and consumers will never be the same.
In 2014, Francisco González, president of BBVA, was already predicting that “the Internet will completely change how we do things.” But it is not just a matter of adapting to new channels in order to remain competitive. The digital transformation is a profound one: The Internet has changed how users perceive, do, and understand things.
The future of banking is tied to the future of digital identity and to how users establish relationships based on that identity. But what is it that defines the new rules of the game?
First, we have a permanent merging of people’s real and digital identities. In the past, users made use of networks for specific actions, which were typically separate from their day-to-day routines and generally focused on leisure activities. But that has all changed: The Internet is now a part of our daily lives, and many of the tasks that we used to carry out in person are now performed entirely online.
The banking industry is a perfect example. All we have to do is think about making a transfer, check our bank balance, and perhaps evaluate different financial products. Hardly anyone carries out these transactions in a branch office anymore.
And what benefit do we gain from digital transactions? As stated by Jeffry Pilcher, CEO and founder of The Financial Brand, in 2015: “Our most valuable resource is time. Basic economic principles apply: time is an extremely limited resource in high demand.”
Until now, the industry’s response to consumers’ new online habits has been to streamline and adapt processes —but not to completely move them— to the digital channel.
But we must take one step further. We must be proactive and reinvent ourselves. Fast, easy, and secure banking services must be at the user’s fingertips in his day-to-day activities.
Pilcher expresses this very clearly when he states that “banking must be simplified, must solve people’s problems and must save them time.”
In order to become a constant companion, it is first necessary to understand people. In this regard, the Accenture report «Technology Vision 2017» reveals that 80% of business executives interviewed believe that organizations need to understand not only where people are today, but where they want to be in the future.
The same report states that 31% of executives plan to make extensive use of human behavior to guide the development of new customer experiences and relationships.
The future of digital banking, then, depends on understanding the new consumer as an inseparable fusion of real and digital identities, and on reinventing strategies and processes based on that knowledge. To put it succinctly, we must revolutionize the concept of personal banking.