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The evolution of banking: where will banks qualify in 2012?

Banking is evolving. It may not be the fastest transformation on record but there has definitely been a real shift from the old branch and call centre customer services channels through to the new online, mobile banking that suits the digitally savvy consumers of today. Mobile banking last year in Europe rose from 13% to 18%, according to a report from Forrester research, suggesting that 2012 will be a defining time in the direction and acquisition of mobile banking.


The last couple of years have seen mobile banking take hold with the introduction of smartphones and consumers demanding a more convenient day to day service. According to mobile Life, a TNS research paper into use of mobiles in the UK, one in five UK consumers now use their mobile to perform basic banking functions such as checking their account balance, which is up more than 100% on last year! But what has really changed? There seems to be a lot of talk but no real commitment from the banks.


The findings show that the real drivers for change are the consumers, with the huge adoption of smartphones in recent years it’s clear that this is where banking should be. In a recent YouGov survey it was found that the top three mobile platforms in the UK attract different personalities. iPhone users spend the most, Blackberry users monitor their money and Android users tend to map and plan their lives in more detail. Android was also found to now  be the most popular smartphone, 2% higher than the iPhone, which shows that there is a definite fragmentation in the market place when it comes to smartphone use. Marketers therefore need to consider this and ensure that they plan their overall strategy to meet the demands of the consumer.  This is a clear opportunity for banks to get ahead and offer their customers a service that suits their lifestyle and needs.


By updating their services and partnering with the likes of retailers and mobile operators, banks could broaden their appeal to their customer base. Consumers want an easy one stop shop where they can manage their money on the move and do this securely. Until banks realise this, there will be no movement in banking and the evolution we talk about will become stale.  


Where do I think banks need to be focussing in order to win a place on the podium in 2012?

-          For a Bronze medal – An implemented mobile channel including app, web and SMS.

-          For a Silver medal – A powerful payments capability offered as part of their mobile channel including P2P.

-          For a Gold medal – All of the above plus value added services such as integrated shopping, NFC or personal financial management.


If banks don’t rank within these three categories by 2012 I’m inclined to think that they will have missed the opportunity and see new entrants in their marketplace recruit their high value customers who are demanding these services today.


As the momentum exhibited over the last 12 months increases in line with the deployment of technology to the masses, it poses the question what happens next? Where will banks qualify in 2012? Only time will tell, on your marks, get set, Go!



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