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Personal financial management services - the next frontier in banking?

Do you carry your bank around in your pocket? There’s no denying that the digital environment has altered the relationship between bank and customer forever – the bank needs to always be on, and if you’re one of the four-in-10 people that has downloaded a banking app like me, the customer can now even carry that relationship around with them everywhere they go.   

However, engagement between financial institutions and their customers is rapidly growing beyond the confines of transactional banking – apps or no apps.

The latest online financial management options are tempting consumers to try out the likes of Banktivity, MoneyDashboard, BankTree and Moneydance. Embracing an open banking platform, these solutions pull banking data from multiple sources to give customers a holistic view of their finances. Through these means, customers can analyse their spending habits, track savings, and make informed decisions about how they complete their next purchase.

This is arguably the new frontier in the financial sector, and it’s one that financial organisations are keen to start exploring. Why? Because there’s an opportunity here for banks to become the go-to place for trusted dashboards, to be a one-stop shop for customers looking for information, and to add value to their existing services – something that many realise they need to do as they continue to modernise and evolve their proposition.

Financial management as a service is about more than just helping customers set themselves budgets or savings targets. It’s about getting to know your customers better, and it’s about personalising your offering. Ultimately, it’s about keeping your customers loyal and contextualising each and every interaction.

For example, from a customer’s point of view, how would you feel about your bank if it was sending you mortgage offers after you’ve just bought a house? You probably wouldn’t be that impressed. But what about if the bank sent you an update on your savings after a spending spree? Now, that would be useful, personalised, and contextual.   

In a world where over nine-in-10 banks are currently struggling to deliver on their personalisation promises, and where the bright lights of new digital offerings are tempting customers away to competitors, personal financial management as a service is giving banks the opportunity to re-engage and re-enthuse customers. This is something that is becoming even more important with it being now easier than ever for customers to switch allegiances to banks that might offer more valuable services.

Currently the latest research tells us that 61% of bankers believe a customer centric business model is ‘very important’. Yet, only 17% are ‘very prepared’ for it. Personal financial management as a service is no silver bullet to the customer centricity conundrum, but it will certainly go some way to help banks reach out and maintain relationships in an ever more digital landscape. 

How to get started? Well, as PWC has recently demonstrated, banks will need to be on the cutting edge of technology to engage with customers in the new value-added world. The onus will be on them to “understand what’s possible, where the latest technology innovations are, what systems can deliver them, and what should be pursued”. The banks that do this well, will be the banks that customers are still carrying around in their pockets this time next year.

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