With EBAday starting tomorrow in Madrid, I can't help thinking that one of the main topics of discuss will be around innovation. Whether it is bringing new products to market or offering existing services at a lower cost, innovation in wholesale banking
payments is now an important aspiration. Innovation is often seen as the means by which banks may protect current revenue streams and open up new income sources to replace those lost through regulatory change. As a consequence, it is innovation that has become
key to maintaining a competitive position in a crowded market, ahead of projects that focus solely on cutting costs.
However, driving innovation is far easier said than done. Where do you start and how can you mitigate risks? A simple starting point can be to look at the way in which the world is changing and aim to meet the aspirations of your customers as their needs
For example, in a relatively short space of time, internet-enabled smart phones and tablets have become the dominant technology in the consumer environment, and are now causing traditional methods of access to retail and wholesale banking to be re-thought
Just as smart phones have become wide-ranging communication tools, social networking sites are an increasingly important channel of communication. This is relevant to the payments businesses because they have become the chosen method of communication between
consumers. This presents significant possibilities, of which the development of a Facebook payments subsidiary is perhaps the most obvious example. However, the developments in communication habits enabled by rapid advances in technology are also becoming
increasingly relevant in the wholesale and B2B space as the expectations of a bank's corporate customer are shaped by the daily experiences of its individual staff members.
The other critical factor in shaping the new payments landscape is inevitably that of regulation. Directives like SEPA in Europe and the Faster Payments initiative in the U.K. were intended to improve the retail customer's experience, but have had a more
dramatic effect in corporate banking where they have driven a number of technological changes.
The successful banking business will embrace this changing environment as an opportunity to innovate and provide a higher level of care and superior service to corporate customers. Without doing so, financial institutions will quickly be left behind.