The value of 20/20 hindsight
Anders la Cour, co-founder and chief executive officer of financial infrastructure provider Banking Circle, examines the lessons of 2020, and how collaboration will be key to success for post-pandemic banking services.
Like almost every other industry, financial institutions of all types have been planning and implementing increased digitalisation for some years. However, COVID-19 and resulting nationwide restrictions undoubtedly accelerated the rate at which new tech and processes have been launched. It also changed the focus of research we commissioned at the start of the year.
A study was carried out amongst financial institutions in Europe to assess changing trends in the development, delivery, and support of banking services for businesses. However, timing is all and the research was refined to not only address its original objectives but also provide a unique snapshot of business planning and confidence at this critical and historic time in the life of so many providers.
According to the results, the challenges most urgently focusing the minds of the best in financial services are aligned to a business as usual world: 58% said the impact of regulation was one of their top three challenges, and 53% listed the implications of constantly evolving expectations of customers as a top-three challenge. These are not new challenges; in fact, they could have topped any similar poll in the past ten years or more.
To meet these challenges, as well as newer challenges presented by the pandemic, financial institutions must look outside of their own business.
Collaboration is a key aspect of a future-proof business, even when the future is unclear. Payments businesses should look for other organisations as potential partnership opportunities, whether current competitors, partners, customers, or suppliers. The distinction between these categories is blurring all the time and it is increasingly clear that businesses are all in this together. Working together, providers can deliver new solutions more quickly and provide customers with a better service.
In this fast-paced and highly competitive market it is extremely important for banks, payments businesses and fintechs to understand the role of financial infrastructure alongside new applications, services and solutions, working together to optimise delivery of the right propositions to meet customer need. Financial institutions must take time to understand the future, using the lessons of the past – including those learned during the pandemic – to determine longer-term thinking around the infrastructure that enables success.
We still face a rapidly changing landscape, especially with many regions now returning to lockdown or increasing restrictions, one thing became clear very early on: the importance of digital provision. Through the trials of the current global crisis, the value of digital has taken on new and immediate significance. 2020 has provided excellent learning opportunities and forced innovation that was long overdue in many areas, and 20/20 hindsight will be invaluable to future-proof businesses. This will help financial institutions of all types to regain clarity and confidence and see 2020 as a time that lay strong foundations for a bold new future.
A series of white papers based on the study is available to download at bankingcircle.com.