Financial Industry Trends to Follow in 2018

As we move into 2018 we’re going to see the ripples of change caused by the adoption of online and mobile banking spread throughout the financial industry’s retail branching and operations spaces. The way consumers interact with their financial institutions is changing on a fundamental level, and to thrive, or even survive, in this ecosystem requires organizations transform the way they serve their customers.  

Some of these changes are readily apparent today, such as the drop in transaction volumes driving a need for branch layouts that favor higher value conversational interactions. But other trends rapidly making their way to the forefront in 2018 require careful attention on the part of financial institutions that want to adapt to change without chasing fads.

Here are three areas that have our attention going into 2018.

The Lines Between Delivery Channels Are Gone

As technology becomes further integrated into day-to-day life, the novelty of digital experiences is wearing off and consumer expectations for cohesive omnichannel experiences are rising. How financial institutions perform going forward could be determined by whether they see this change as a threat or an opportunity.

An omnichannel retail experience must have consistent visuals and functionality across platforms, and there must also be continuity between them. When customers walk into the branch, do they recognize the look and feel from the website or mobile app? Also, if a customer begins a transaction online, say after clicking a Facebook ad for a home loan, are they able to complete that transaction with a staff member in the branch? This is the level of integration that consumers are coming to expect from financial institutions.

Apps are also playing a large role in consumers’ financial lives, from managing their personal budgets to sending money to friends. This is a space where many financial institutions are either unwilling or unable to compete in, leading to the rise of FinTech apps. By giving consumers ownership and control of their own data through secure open banking APIs, financial institutions enable their customers to easily integrate these services into their overall banking experience.

Learn More: Integrating Technology for a Seamless Customer Experience

Personalization is Closing in on the Individual Level

2018 will see personalized banking services go far beyond segmentation based product recommendations and marketing, with many financial institutions already using artificial intelligence to deliver individualized services and recommendations.

One FinTech app, MoneyLion, is using machine learning models to make very specific budgeting and money saving recommendations based on individual users’ transaction histories. And Capitol One is offering an anomaly detection service that alerts customers in real time to issues with their accounts, notifying users of issues from possible fraudulent activity to surprise fee increases on their cable bills.

Many credit unions and community banks are also using predictive analytics to guide business decisions, such as optimizing their branch network, setting sales strategies and goals, and intelligently targeting services to the correct markets.

Learn More: Interview with Analyst Steve Rhymers on Market Analytics for the Financial Industry

 Staffing Models Aren’t Just Changing in the Branch

The same technological advancements and industry trends driving change in retail branch staffing models are also drastically changing the function of back of house workers. Where workers once performed mostly repetitive tasks, multi-departmental teams are collaborating on project based work to drive more complex business initiatives.

This means that fewer people are taking on a wider variety of work throughout the day, and traditional workplaces are struggling to keep up with both supporting the work that employees are doing and attracting the type of talent that organizations need to get things done. And as automation continues to assist with more and more complicated tasks, from financial analysis to marketing campaigns, the type of work being done by office workers will continue to evolve.

We expect to see more and more organizations using data and research to drive innovative building designs that intuitively support higher levels of productivity through a variety of functional spaces and appeal to a new generation of workers.  

Learn More: The Nature of Work is Shifting


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