Banks used to be the corner stone of the community but today despite spending over £200 billion on transformation they are still being undermined by a series of unstoppable cultural and technological revolutions
Over the past two weeks I’ve talked to a number of senior C level executives from some of the UK’s largest retail banks to understand more about their views of the world and their perception of the market and while outwardly little looks like its changing at the Big Five banks their executives are not sitting comfortably. There were two quotes that stood out for me and they were “My children don’t see Banks as a brand any longer” and “ We’re at risk of being turned into dumb pipes”. I’ll hasten to add that both of these quotes were from executives from two different banks but they both conveniently capture two paradigm shifts that could accelerate the decline of the industry as we know it.
Apathetic? No, I just can’t be bothered
On the one hand you have a growing apathy and disenchantment towards the banks which of course hasn’t been helped by the recent LIBOR, PPI, Forex or Bank Charge scandals. Many people I speak to feel the banks have forgotten their role in our lives – to help us grow our savings pots, not take more from us in charges than we make in interest in ten years and to help us make our money go further, not just hail new mobile banking apps as the next great innovation when they should simply form part of an overall consumer service improvement strategy.
This cultural malaise and general discontent with the existing industry status quo is ‘The Why’ people will look for alternatives but if all banks have similar reputations then consumers are simply trading ‘Bad’ for ‘Not as bad’. Consequently, just as we’ve seen in the Energy and Utility sectors people are more often than not predisposed to stick with the devil they know.
Every industry is undergoing some level of disruption and for some its more extreme and happening faster than others. Organisations need to review and adapt their technology, culture and business practises and become ‘Future Fit’. Today no organisation has the right to exist, they have to earn the right to exist by serving their customers needs better.