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Banking

HOW CONSUMER TRUST CAN ELEVATE DIGITAL BANKING

Digital Banking

By Ian Bradbury, CTO for Financial Services at Fujitsu UK&I

 

The rate at which bank branches are closing has been a concern for many in the industry, as people continue to lose access to their local high street banking service. And it goes beyond taking an extra bus journey into town; some people need to travel up to 15km to be able to access a ATM

A recent Which? report found that a third of bank branches have closed over the past five years as a result of changing consumer habits and better access to online banking. As a result, we have seen a push in the industry to support access to cash in local communities.

Yet, while the future of banking increasingly looks digital, cash as a concept will still play an important role for many consumers.

 

Ian Bradbury

Cashing in on a digital future

Cash will continue to play a vital role in society as banks digitise and even without physical money, some form of anonymised payment will always remain.

For now, access to cash and physical bank branches remains important to many Britons; two-thirds of consumers are more likely to do business with a bank if it has a high street branch according to our recent research. So, for banks, the challenge now is how they can continue to adapt their technology offerings while maintaining a physical, branch presence.

The truth is, banks want to digitise. There’s a lot about physical cash that isn’t sustainable: it can be easily stolen, damaged, or defaced; and it’s historically been easy to mint illegal tender. But people like it – the private transfer of value is considered by many to be a basic human right, something that will always drive cash’s popularity.

The issues around anonymity could be solved by digital currencies. The rise of cryptocurrencies raised the eyebrows amongst many in the industry as a possible alternative to physical cash but ultimately, it lacked monetary stability. As a result, governments that seek to find a digital alternative to cash have been unable to find an answer.

 

The bank of tomorrow

One of the key reasons why cash is still so vital for society is that there remain a group of consumers who are ‘unbanked’ – unable to open a bank account due to insufficient identification documents. But offline digital wallets have been improving and will be critical in providing a solution to this; by creating a functional, off-the-grid cash system.

Technologies such as biometrics, that are already being used in contactless payments, have moved society in the right direction to reduce the need for physical banks. Biometrics can break the barriers required to get the right level of identification for a bank account, providing a solution for those who are ‘unbanked’.

The rise of challenger banks has also impacted consumer expectations towards banking. Yet, the digital-only model is still a long way from truly dominating the banking industry. Our recent research found that consumers still prefer banks with high street branches, as 40% don’t trust challenger banks at all. So, while digital banks continue to gain popularity, traditional banks continue to have the edge with the offering of the human touch.

This shows that there is still a way to go for digital banks to break into the mainstream. The fundamentals are there for a society where digital banking is the standard payment, but consumers are not yet read.

Consumer trust will take time to build and until it has been developed, people will take time to adopt digital-only banking methods. That makes maintaining the banking systems in rural areas even more important; while offline digital wallets will become standard over time, they are not yet used widely enough to fully replace the traditional banking system.

 

Most of the challenges are disappearing, but there’s still a way to go

Many of the challenges that banks have faced in the past are being solved with the technology that is available. Biometrics can help solve the problem of identification, rural areas are increasingly becoming more connected and digital wallets are already widely available in some places.

Digital currencies offer the opportunity for anonymous, flexible and secure payments, addressing the concerns consumers have about them. But governments, consumers and even employers all have the same issue in trusting this form of money.

Moving forward, all parties involved in cash such as central governments, banks, employers and retailers should work together to move on from the challenges of physical cash. Consumers will always adapt to whatever currency we trade; we started with sticks and stones and have moved a long way to get to the dollar bill. It’s about time that the industry decides to take the next step.

 

Banking

WHY BANKS NEED TO EMBRACE WELLBEING IN THE DIGITAL EXPERIENCE

Howard Pull, Head of Digital Transformation Strategy at MullenLowe Profero

 

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the economy has been huge. Over the past six months, youth unemployment figures have dropped, wages have stagnated and GDP has fallen by a record 20.4%. The drop in GDP is worse than the 2008 Financial Crisis, the Winter of Discontent and the Great Depression.

While the furlough scheme and other government measures have provided some much-needed financial support, the prevailing social and economic conditions have made money worries increasingly common. According to a recent survey from MullenLowe Profero, during the pandemic 40% of 18-25-year-olds are afraid to look at their bank account, with a further 40% stating that thinking about their money has a negative impact on their own personal wellbeing.

In response to these rising financial concerns from account holders, it is clear that banks need to help people – especially young people – feel more confident in managing their money. In particular, banks need to provide more educational support to their customers about how they can make the right financial decisions. This means designing tools and support services to enable more people to effectively manage their finances.

With 60% of consumers aged 18-25 believing that banks should help them have the capacity to absorb a financial shock, financial institutions also need to adapt their products and services to meet the needs of more uncertain account holders.

Adapting services, however, is easier said than done. The pandemic has radically shaped consumer behaviours and therefore the old rules no longer apply. For example, while consumers in the past may have preferred to discuss financial matters in person at a bank branch, risk of infection and the widespread use of digital tools has meant that the majority of young people want banks to provide wellbeing services online.

Digital experiences are also important to the future success of any bank. According to MullenLowe Profero’s report, digital experience is now the number one reason why young people choose a bank. Therefore, it is clear that banks during the pandemic and beyond need to reevaluate their operations and shape their personal wellbeing strategies around digital tools.

 

Community and Global Wellbeing

MullenLowe Profero’s report into financial wellbeing found that young people weren’t just concerned with their own personal wellbeing. They were also concerned about the importance of community and global wellbeing too. In fact, over half of 18-25-year-olds agree that the events of the last few months have made them seek out brands that do better for the world, with another 50% stating that the importance of a local community has increased during the pandemic.

Community wellbeing is concerned with the importance of local areas and the businesses and organisations that are based within them, whereas global wellbeing is concerned about the entire world. For banks, showing support for areas local to their branches and customers as well as issues affecting the globe such as the climate crisis is important to maintaining the trust and support of account holders.

Focussing banks on concerns around community and global wellbeing requires banks to assess their impact on the wider world. In other words, it forces banks to check who they support and where their money could be better placed. For example, young people want to be recognised for their positive behaviours. 56% of 18-25-year-olds want rewards and benefits for purchasing ethical and sustainable products and services.

The findings of the report found that young people across the board want financial institutions to reflect their values and to help them manage their finances. With COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc on our day to day lives, banks can provide much-needed support by offering educational help as well as creating products and services that actively manage an account holder’s finances. They can also step in and provide support to the wider community and world by taking measures to reward ethical and sustainable behaviours.

 

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Banking

IMPROVING THE BANKING EXPERIENCE THROUGH INFORMATIVE AND ENGAGING VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS

Javier Lopez, General Manager Vertical Solutions, OKI Europe Ltd

 

Banks play an integral role in daily life. However, everyday opportunities such as attracting new customers into branches to open an account, or promoting new offers and services to existing customers, can be lengthy, expensive and cumbersome processes – especially when tailoring communications to the specific requirements of each branch, or differing customer needs.

Quickly creating and adapting in-branch visual communications to communicate and educate cost effectively while remaining on brand can be a challenge, especially for banks that have networks of branches and print their visual communications centrally or use third-party suppliers.

 

Building trust through signage

Visual communications can help build trust and satisfaction between you and your customers.  The ability to create and print personalised communications on demand can not only instil confidence in your brand, it can also offer the flexibility to quickly adapt to financial trends and fluctuations in interest rates. This is particularly important in today’s volatile market, so that you can keep your customers informed while remaining competitive.

Javier Lopez

Printing in-branch and on-demand is an immediate and cost-effective way for banks to communicate with customers. With the right printer on-site, branch staff can easily create and print signage and customer communications as well as everyday documentation to a professional quality as and when needed. This saves on the cost of third-party suppliers and eliminates lead times for essential signage.

The ability to print a comprehensive range of collaterals in-house including freestanding and hanging banners, posters, self-adhesive floor and window stickers, as well as personalised leaflets and direct mailers, can help keep customers informed about the latest services and offers. It can also be used to remind both customers and staff to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Furthermore, the same printer can be used for day-to-day documents such as personalised mortgage or loan offers.

 

A message that sticks

As the world adjusts to a new normality, OKI Europe Ltd recognises the challenges banks face when encouraging social distancing and has teamed up with Floralabels to offer free* social distancing media and artwork to create self-adhesive floor stickers that can be printed quickly and easily from an A3 colour printer such as the C800 Series.  Floor stickers can help ensure customers maintain safe distances while queuing at counters, kiosks and ATMs. The free stickers include self-adhesive floor circles (285 x 285mm) and rectangular floor banners in two sizes (215 x 900mm and 297 x 1,320 mm) with various designs and messaging options to choose from.

 

Achieving ROI with a do-it-all device

When it comes to printing in-branch, implementing a printer with unrivalled media flexibility will provide the best return-on-investment. Not only will the bank be saving on printing and delivery time and costs, it will also save on storage space or potential wastage as well as offering the flexibility to be more reactive to market trends in a timely manner.

OKI’s multi award-winning C800 Series A3 colour printer is designed to take up a minimal footprint and will supply everything from 1.3m metre hanging and freestanding banners to posters, self-adhesive floor stickers, window stickers, leaflets, flyers and much more on a diverse range of materials. Featuring OKI’s pioneering digital LED technology, the C800 Series delivers professional quality results, at high speed and on-demand.

Banks are vital to helping people and businesses prosper, supporting economic growth. Investing in cost-effective do-it-all devices that enable the fast rollout of eye-catching, professional quality collateral will help banks and their customers thrive.

 

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