Our Banks – like the All Blacks and Wallabies – have earned their honour and reputations over the years – decorated with their titles and trophies, while still suffering disappointments of considerable magnitude. Like our favourite team, we also sometimes inherit our allegiance to them through family members, while drawing from popular opinion to measure their stability.
Through their hiccups, we still maintain our faith in our banks as our society anticipates victories from them at some point. That being said, too many bad games can plant seeds of doubt with too many anomalies eventually become a norm.
So how many times can banks afford to fail us before another alternative takes over the financial field?
More importantly, how should banks ensure that they do not become obsolete?
All Blacks or Wallabies?
Rugby fans are known for their unwavering loyalty. Bank users, however, are not.
According to Accenture, millennials switch banks twice as often as other consumers.
This means that banks need to constantly strategise to win over their customers’ loyalties. A battle won today does not guarantee victory tomorrow.
Banks need to anticipate and meet their clients’ ever-changing demands.
The first toss of coin
A toss of coin determines the start of a game – rugby players merely react accordingly. Similarly, the global economy does not provide banks with the luxury of control – they are required to react and respond according to how global mega-trends dictate.
A rise in female clients? Understand and meet their unique sets of needs. An increase in cross-borders banking? Draft out policies to make international banking more convenient.
One rugby player kicks the ball and sets the tone of the game. Similarly, someone has to spearhead the bank into the right direction.
PwC published a white paper that forecasted the future of retail banking in 2020.
Rise and interconnectivity of the emerging markets and global instability were two of the trends spotted.
With this, banks can decide which trends to focus on – and ultimately, how to complement the provision of services with their comparative advantage.
Known for a diverse international network? Be an expert in cross-borders banking.
Each rugby team stands in union as they push forward against each other. Players keep their arms interlocked to form a ‘barrier’. Likewise, it is imperial that the different banking departments work as one against their challenges.
With change comes friction closely followed by opposition.
The misalignments of interests, the corporate change management and misunderstanding of global trends make up only a slice of the struggles that banks are expected to face.
Accenture emphasises the importance of value creation in managing change. Banks cannot create new operating policies without carefully considering its costs and benefits.
An example of this is the likely reduction in bank branches in replacement of mobile retail banking. The IT personnel and relationship managers should tap on each other’s expertise to optimise this execution.
Like rugby players, going through the motion with mere force will only end up in injuries. A combined strategy, on the other hand, will build a solid fortress.
A player tries to score with the ball. He has to avoid being tackled by his competitor. Banks also need to prioritise the challenges that will continuously come their way.
An example is the constant handling of customers’ dissatisfaction. Bain & Co highlighted that one third of mobile retail bankers decided to switch to other banks because of ‘unknown’ service defects.
Despite this unfavourable situation, banks can still go ahead in improving its users’ experience. Cyber security is one pressing issue with the financial industry being more prone to hacking attacks than other sectors.
The Scoreboard: Full-time
Despite their errors and shortcomings, it is undeniable that banks play an imperative role in our lives. They provide a safe place to park our money, assist us with financial guidance where necessary and help us grow our finances to varying degrees.
Sometimes we have to give them the opportunity to play out the full 90 minutes before we make a judgement.