How is the landscape of banking changing?
The pace of change through technology and innovation has never been quicker in banking than it is now. Banks have to operate in new ways because customers are changing the way they want to access their bank and their expectations of what the experience should be like. The explosion in the usage of smartphones and fast internet connections is key because people now expect instant access to everything via their smartphone including their bank account. At the same time, paper-based transactions such as cheques, which are at the heart of traditional banking, are declining rapidly—95 per cent of new account holders have never written a cheque. So the face of banking is changing enormously. On average a Barclays customer is using mobile banking over 26 times a month, while visiting a branch just twice. These are big changes in behaviour that are being brought about by new technologies and the transparency and ease of access that they bring, so our challenge is to adapt to what today’s customers want.
How are banks innovating to meet changing consumer demands?
Technology enables us to completely change the way we deliver services so I think we’re at a turning point where as organisations we have to decide whether to carry on doing what we’ve done in the past or to innovate and respond to the changing market. In the next couple of years we will be able to clear cheques with other banks using scanned images rather than paper cheques. That’s a big advance but it took an amendment to the Bills of Exchange Act of 1886 to make it possible. We’re also changing the way we deliver personal loans. In just 18 months we’ve reached the point where 42 per cent of all our lending in 2015 was provided instantly via mobile, rather than having customers visit a branch and go through the process face to face. But we’ve also learned that we have to become more comfortable with digital technologies ourselves too. Over the past couple of years we’ve put 10,000 iPads into our branches and in the process thousands of our staff have gained new skills and confidence that enables them to help our customers have a better banking experience and get the most out of what technology can offer them.
What benefits can technology…