We learned a lot about human behaviour and patterns during the COVID-19 lockdowns. In many ways, this challenging period provided both the impetus and opportunity needed for society to address some of its legacy practices and accelerate the pace of change given that almost overnight our lives turned digital. With an impressive 8% uptick of personal current accounts now held with a digital “challenger” bank, 40% of UK online adults are now considering banking with a provider that does not have any branches.
Digital, the new normal
During the global pandemic, the adaptability and resourcefulness of our populace was on full display. We were all forced to adapt our routines, our way of working and even developed new business models to cater for ‘the new normal’. Restaurant and bakery businesses began offering home deliveries to ensure their survival, menus became scannable QR codes, music festivals moved online, and office workers embraced flexibility homeworking.
The most notable among these disruptive changes in the financial services sector has been the digitisation of the banking sector, which has evolved at an unprecedented rate since 2020 and shows little sign of slowing down. This innovation was driven by necessity, as bank branches closed due to lockdowns, and consumers were forced to bank online to manage their finances. Banks had to swiftly advance their offerings to cater to the increase in digital footfall, forming new partnerships with third-party providers to facilitate an enhanced range of online functions and solutions.
While perhaps reactive in its origins, this rapid improvement in retail online banking resource has served to futureproof banks ahead of the challenges to market share that have emerged from new market entrants, such as Monzo, Revolut and Starling Bank. Competition has always been fierce in the banking sector with consolidation, international expansion and the need to target services to increasing niche markets top of mind to stay ahead. So, although the move towards digitisation had long been forecast, its arrival was forcibly accelerated due to circumstance. Now that retail banks and consumers alike have adapted to this change, we anticipate a similar focus to soon be applied to the Corporate Banking for Institutional client space. Banks have traditionally been far slower to evolve due to the constraints of antiquated systems and creaking infrastructure.
Embracing digital innovation
For corporate SPVs and family offices, digital banking solutions have not kept pace with that of their personal accounts. Having been forced to adapt throughout the pandemic, 90% of corporates and asset managers are interested in engaging with a truly secure digital banking platform that mirrors the convenience of retail banking. Furthermore, 60% are willing to switch to a bank offering client centric digital capabilities with core day to day banking functionalities.