The pace may be a bit slow, but for all intents and purposes, the financial sector appears to finally be rallying. In the seven years since the 2008 financial crisis, financial services firms and banks are showing a level of optimism they haven’t had since before the crisis. At the same time, major changes in the way the industry works will affect not only bank users and investors, but the organizations themselves as well.
Bank growth depends more and more on young customers who prefer technology over traditional banking. International investments, such as those administered by J.C. Flowers & Co., are becoming more prominent. And more and more new businesses are entering the fray, offering greater choice and less opportunity for monopolies.
“The financial sector in general, and banks in particular, will never be the same,” write the authors of A New Era of Banking. Angel Berges, Mauro F. Guillen, Juan Pedro Moreno, and Emilio Ontiveros note that bank users are trusting banks less and seeing them as the focal points for risk rather than a way to avoid it. Because of this, banks will need to pay extra attention to making processes simpler and more user friendly, as well as shedding any assets that aren’t performing at the top of their game. Data-driven choices will become the norm. Speed, utility, and practicality will drive financial decisions and determine which leaders remain in power or give way to new players.
Collaboration is key. With tech companies like Google and Amazon raising the expectations of customers looking for digital experiences, banks and other financial institutions will need to work together to provide customers with the experiences they expect and want.
Is the financial industry currently meeting these customer needs? They seem optimistic about the possibility, at least. According to a survey from CBI/PwC, financial services firms are increasing their profits from commissions, fees, premiums, investments, and trading. Growth may be slower than it has been in the past, but it’s still happening.