So, it’s January 2010; the hangovers are subsiding and everyone is gearing up for the New Year and the opportunities and challenges it will bring. This time last year in his speech to the CBI Mervyn King talked about consumer confidence and pronounced that
there had been ‘a widespread collapse of confidence in banking systems in the industrialised world.’ By the end of 2009 however, signs were more encouraging and King concluded that consumer confidence had increased ‘somewhat’. At the same time however, he
was keen to ensure that nobody, be it banks, businesses or the public, was under any illusions: the signs may be verging on the positive, but the path to recovery is not a smooth and painless one.
2009 was undoubtedly a tough year and some harsh realities were faced. The public discovered that their money was not in fact being kept safely in separate pots behind the bank counter and hence banks soon had to face up to the reality that customers – both
corporate and private - were going to expect more from them by way of security. As public anger grew and trust faded fast, banks found they could no longer rest on their laurels: customer service needs to be top-notch, security measures need to be heightened
and taking risks with the public finances is no longer acceptable.
So as we move into 2010, what’s it going to take to ride out the storm; to keep current customers and hopefully attract a few more? With increased public awareness about fraud and the need for security, along with increasing competition, continued uncertainty
around the economy and growing expectations from customers. Flexibility, transparency and accountability will be demanded and needed over the coming year in order to react to the unexpected and ensure that by this time next year, customer confidence is re-established.
2010 will see a new breed of financial organisation emerge – whilst we hear of separation of retail, and casino banks already, new trust banks will emerge. These banks are already being built to deal with consumers and business in a completely new way that
could win market share rapidly!