02 September 2014

Retail Finance

Henry Woodcock - IRESS

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Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

Consumer Driven Innovation

20 June 2013  |  2929 views  |  0

There’s a very public evolution in the mortgage market as it adapts to new regulatory requirements. At the same time, there is a very quiet revolution in business and consumer technology. Consumers are increasingly online and interacting. In the next 30 minutes as you read this article, 700,000 apps will be downloaded from the app store, and Facebook users will collectively spend 146 days on the site. Okay those figures change on a daily basis, but you get the idea.

As part of the movement, consumers are becoming ever more interactive across a plethora of portable devices. 

As a result of this hyper connectivity, and consumers able to access the internet wherever they are, the web has become a core channel for financial services, with over 21 million customers banking online, according to Forrester.

However, question marks remain over whether financial services firms are reacting quickly and thoroughly enough to the change in consumer behaviour.

Although we have seen some innovation – many financial institutions are lagging behind consumer expectations.

A recent Ovum report on retail banking technology noted that after the long delayed investment following the 2008 crash, investment can no longer be put off, particularly if retail banks want to attract savvy customers who expect to be able to bank and connect across all channels from mobile, to online and to social media.

But in the context of new regulation, technological advance shouldn’t be seen just as a challenge, but as an opportunity for both lenders and intermediaries to improve the customer experience and grow their business as a result.

The Mortgage Market Review is going to change the way lenders sell, especially with the demise of non-advised sales. Advised as the primary sales process is perhaps seen as a great opportunity for intermediaries.

However, the challenge for lenders is to make the intermediary channel easier for intermediaries to do business. As in the post-RDR world, lenders must provide systems that deliver an exceptional customer experience, the ability to transact either directly or via platforms and across different devices.

Consumers will demand agile channelling – accessing information and products on their own devices, in their own time. Intermediaries will want access to products and services both directly and indirectly via trading platforms alongside communication via multiple devices and methods.

Just to patch systems to support bare MMR requirements will be to miss an opportunity to both meet changing demand, and future-proof systems. The lessons learned from our RDR experience show that the focus must be in the round – systems, business models, training and technology.

Lenders have a slender window of opportunity to take the lead and gain the advantage as they prepare for MMR. Technology – along with consumer behaviour – is undergoing a revolution, not a steady evolution, and lenders mustn’t be left behind.

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Henry Woodcock

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Principal Consultant

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IRESS

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2012

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Cirencester

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