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A Matter of Time: From “Bankers’ Hours” to a Future Built on Trust

By Steve Leigh, Director, Worldwide Industry at Microsoft on August 14, 2017

Filed under Financial Services - Banking & Capital Markets

FIn business vernacular, few phrases evoke the concept of exclusivity, and project an air of disdain, more than that of “bankers’ hours.” The very concept suggests that customers have little power over their financial lives, and must adapt to the time, and place, that financial institutions prescribe to conduct whatever business is required.

For many decades bankers have appreciated this exclusivity, but the times, they are a-changing: customers are increasingly able to seek out new types of financial experiences outside of banks, and they are voting with their wallets.

Lost among the many years of traditional banking culture, many financial institutions have forgotten their roots—they are not exclusive clubs of the well-to-do. They perform an essential function to provide capital to those who need it, grow capital for those who have it, and help all to spend the capital we have. It is important to recognize that in the emerging landscape, the bank may or may not deliver the full customer experience across this management of capital. New fintech companies are invading the space, taking aspects of the value chain, causing disruption, and creating a desirable experience for customers.

Banks have a significant challenge to effectively transition from current business models to becoming a trusted network. But transformation also means accessing a nearly limitless market opportunity. It is akin to a hotel chain becoming Airbnb. It means that banks and other financial institutions demonstrate their value by acting as a trusted intermediary and shifting their focus to outcomes.

  • It is no longer about financial muscle. There was a time that a bank exercised power by being the only game in town, but in a global digital marketplace, customers are free to choose the financial institution that best caters to their individual needs. The keys to survival in this new world are facilitation and ease of use.
  • Simplification is taking hold. In many other industries and contexts, customers have become accustomed to a friction-free interaction. Purely digital experiences have streamlined customer workflows, providing an intuitive interface for engagement and leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
  • A shift in customer preferences. As the world moves to mobile experiences, self-service banking requires a corresponding shift in the business model for financial services. Banking needs to take place where, when, and in the manner the customer wants. It requires that banks create the amenities and experiences that match customers’ preferences, type of relationship (personal or business), physical location, interaction history, and much more.
  • Restore the confidence and the trust will return. Financial institutions that actively demonstrate that outcomes and experiences are at the heart of the bank’s value proposition will broaden the customer base, improve customer loyalty, and ultimately increase revenue.

The battle for mindshare, trust, and future business depends on a financial institution’s willingness to adapt to customer expectations, and embrace the innovative business models that technology has made possible.

Empowering our customers in financial services to innovate is central to our mission: we understand that transformation can be challenging, but we also believe that it holds incredible promise. Our approach is to leverage technology in novel ways—enabling business agility with the tools that will define the future of banking.

As your trusted technology partner, we offer both industry know-how and enterprise-grade solutions. We can help no matter where you are on your digital transformation roadmap.

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