We have been speculating a lot on the role that social media giants like Google, Facebook and technology companies like Apple or Square could play in the financial services arena. They have been positioned as a threat to the banking position with regards
to payments and potentially other P2P products like lending.
In fact they are a threat and an opportunity when in comes to customer loyalty and customer centric behaviour. Not by competing them, their scale and customer drive are incomparable, but by cooperating with them. As the Google Wallet and Offers proposition
shows, they are very willing to leave the infrastructural payments to the current providers. So with drive, an open mind and hard work a lot can be achieved via cooperation, smart IT architectures and basic investments.
The real threat to the position of banks are banks themselves. I have been talking and meeting with bankers a lot recently and what worries me most is the lack of passion and focus to develop customer centric solutions for either consumers or merchants.
They really mean well but are so focussed on the impossibilities, restrictions in IT, governance, the current business model or costreductions that market driven innovation is hard to find.
This should change in order to reposition the bank as highly valued trusted service provider that is willing to invest in customer driven development and cooperation. Recent history shows that others are willing to disrupt in valuechains that underperform
in terms of customer value.