The Russian banking market is set for dramatic changes over the next four years, driven by changing customer behaviour, intense competition and new banking models, according to an Accenture report, based on a survey of 1,600 Russian bank customers and interviews with 30 senior bank executives at major state-owned and private banks.
According to the research, nine out of ten Russian bankers interviewed believe that intense competition is "inevitable" over the next four years and will be driven primarily by reduced margins (cited by 90 percent of respondents), declining customer trust and loyalty (cited by 80 percent) and changing customer behaviour (cited by 80 percent).
"The banking market in Russia is growing, but more slowly than in the pre-crisis period - with revenue growth estimated at about five to ten percent annually over the next three to four years," said Alexandre Gorine, managing director of Accenture in Russia. "Meanwhile, the marketplace remains fragmented and under-penetrated in terms of high value, higher margin financial products - and demand for channel and service innovation is rising."
According to the consumer survey:
* The average Russian bank customer currently uses three banks to provide an average of three banking products;
* The most commonly used banking products are basic and transactional, with salary cards, debit cards, and bill payment and money transfer services, used by 63 percent, 42 percent and 39 percent of Russians, respectively;
* Only four percent of Russian bank customers hold investment products, seven percent hold mortgages and 10 percent hold car loans.
According to respondents, one of the three most important criteria for selecting a bank is "innovative products and services." The survey also showed rising demand for banking innovation among Russians -- with more than two-thirds of respondents (71 percent) reporting increasing expectations for multichannel access, 66 percent expecting greater simplicity and convenience from their banks and more than half (57 percent) saying they require faster service from their banks.
"Customer Centric" Operating Models Will Win Out
Nine out of ten Russian bankers believe that they will need to transform their business and operating models to adapt to changing market demands by 2015, accordaccaccording to the executive interviews. Eight out of ten bankers cite areas like customer revenue growth, strategic cost reduction and technology innovation as critical business challenges. But just over one-third of executives (38 percent) said that transformation of their business and operating model is currently among their bank's highest strategic priorities.
"Due to the scale and complexity of moving from a traditional product-driven operating model to one that is built around customer needs and behaviours, many banks may find they lack the ability and readiness to embrace such a profound change," said Dmitri Zaitsev, head of Accenture's management consulting practice in Russia. "Consequently there will be winners and losers, leading to further consolidation of the Russian banking market by 2015."
According to Gorine, "The winners in the new post-crisis banking landscape will be the banks that are customer centric, efficiency focused, driven by profitability objectives, much more multi-channel in their distribution, with more diversified customer base and revenue streams and with regional coverage. This will require significant management focus, investment and change.
"Product centric and less innovative banks - those that are slow to change or lack the ability to invest in direct channels and customer-centric operating models - will be at an increasing competitive disadvantage."
The research report, titled "Russia's Banking Sector in 2015: Winning the Battle for Customers", was conducted by Accenture from November 2010 through March 2011 as part of the company's global banking research program. The consumer survey was conducted online and included 1,600 bank customers in Russian cities with populations of more than 500,000. In-depth executive interviews were conducted by Accenture with 30 top managers from the banking industry.