Covid crisis sparks innovation drive at UK banks

Covid crisis sparks innovation drive at UK banks

The Covid-19 crisis is spurring incumbent banks to shed costs and increase automation at speed, leading to surprising breakthroughs in agility and innovation nouse, according to a survey of 263 senior UK banking executives conducted by FT Focus on behalf of Appian.

Fully 78% of banks have “proven more agile than previously thought” and 72% “have grown more innovative in 2020” according to survey results.

The report quotes HSBC COO of digital technology, Ritesh Jain: “We have never seen such transformation, such a drive for innovation, as we have witnessed in the last four or five months [to July 2020].”

Up to two-thirds of respondents are planning to cut costs, while 66% are expecting to increase their automation in response to Covid-19. In good news for the vendor community, 60% are expecting to increase technology spending to meet the challenges of digitalisation.

This can be seen in a separate survey from open banking platform Tink, which shows large budget share being allocated by UK banks to Open Banking initiatives, with as many as a third spending up to £93 million on the technology.

Rafael Plantier, UK & Ireland country manager at Tink, says: “Our latest data shows that most financial institutions in the UK are taking advantage of the accelerated shift to digital banking caused by Coronavirus, prioritising investment in customer-first use cases to facilitate better customer experience.”

The FT Focus study also finds that 81% of banks are using agile practices to increase the pace of new product or service delivery, suggesting that pre-Covid-19 processes are being sped up.

“Covid-19 has forced the banking industry to rapidly adapt to new challenges. The survey results prove that banks are able to be agile, innovate and implement new technologies when the market demands,” says Mike Heffner, VP, solutions and industry go to market at Appian. “Although cost cuts are on the horizon for a significant number of UK banks, finding new ways to stay efficient and deliver compliant, effective service has probably never been more of a priority.”

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