We have posted recently about the existential threat that banks face unless they are able to satisfy both the basic needs of their customers (making payments, access to cash etc) together with their user experience and access demands (24 hour, mobile etc).
Recent cases where basic needs were not met include Royal Bank of Scotland’s failure to process 600,000 payments one night in June 2015 and the same bank’s meltdown on Cyber Monday when millions of credit and debit card transactions were declined.
We even poked a little fun at the banks when we discovered that 71% of millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to their bank. Note the different actions: “go to” and “listen”. Stark. Shocking, even.
This is not a geographical phenomenon. In many ways the UK retail banking system is more advanced than the US equivalent. I have been moving money from the comfort of my armchair and my online RBS account in the UK to my US bank account for 10 years or so. But if I want to move money from the US to the UK, I have to go to my First Citizens Bank local branch before 2pm (1pm on a Friday) and do it in person. If I turn up after that time, they have no facility to take my transaction details and process it for me the day after. I have to turn up in person again the following day.
The reason these long established banks are struggling to innovate or even keep everything up and running is that 80% or so of their IT budget is spent on maintaining outdated legacy systems. New market entrants are threatening their very existence. These can be “challenger” banks entering the market using “off-the-shelf” IT and products or even nontraditional providers such as technology companies. Remember, 1 in 4 millennials said they would rather bank with Apple or Google than their current bank.
In a recent survey by Gartner, the Financial Services subset of the 2015 CIO survey, 61% of CIOs stated that they thought the major threat to their own digital business is coming from outside their own industry. Google has already entered the insurance aggregator space and Apple’s physical digital wallet has made an impact changing the way we pay for goods and services.
Time is running out for traditional financial services organizations. The option is becoming, quite simply, modernize or die.