I have just been running a series of training courses in Johannesburg on various banking subjects and something that one of the course participants said really struck a chord in me and in the group that she was a participant in.
What happened was this; we had been discussing the various barriers to progress in the realm of electronic banking and the reluctance of banks generally to face up to the realities of client needs, deferring to what banks' generally "think" their clients
As a part of an earlier discussion in the same group, we had also taken a critical and close look at the issues of "legacy systems". Just to get readers on the same page "legacy systems" are those computer systems that were installed by many of the large
banks in the 1960s and the 1970s and which today, almost a half century later, still plod on, providing basic banking functionality. These legacy systems are the source of endless frustration to the banks and often clients as well as they impose huge operational
burdens and constraints. Legacy systems in today's banking environment are the equivalent of trying to merge Microsoft Office Word and a whole office full of manual typewriters!
Referring to the stodginess of senior bank management today to the real needs of their clients this lady used the term "legacy thinking", as an exact people-equivalent to the "legacy system" of the computer world.
Her terminology was one-hundred percent on target. It really is legacy thinking that many banks are stuck with today.
On the one hand, these banks are slaves to their physical legacy computer systems, which more often than not throw up an insurmountable technological barrier to new ideas, practices and products. And on the other hand, the management of these banks are still
trapped in a cycle of myopic thinking and resistance to all new ideas and concepts - truly Legacy Thinking.