The world has continued to change since SIBOS 2010, held in Amsterdam. We now move to SIBOS 2011 in Toronto where I believe addressing regulation and post-crisis risk control, and being seen to do so, will be hot for SIBOS. These are real and present pressures on banks that I see continuing for some time to come.
I believe banks that find a way to innovate their way to growth, whilst being seen to be under control, should come to the fore. Alongside this, I believe that customer service will rightly emerge as a pre-requisite, if not the pre-requisite, for growth, both in the retail and commercial markets. I am less convinced by those that believe growth will come from more collaboration among banks since I see that as more inward looking business as usual.
Whilst the banking world has been focused on coping with the post global financial crisis, the likes of Tesco, Facebook, PayPal, M-PESA and many Telcos have really woken up, and are responding, to a growing transaction based services opportunity. The threat is very real and banks sitting back to provide some of the transaction plumbing for these newcomers really aren’t on a path to growth; more like a spiral downwards to utility. My view is that the banks have an opportunity to focus on customer service, from providing the humble branch or ATM to the specialist consolidated treasury dashboard, to keep the newcomers at bay.
Most corporates continue to use their bank to deal FX, despite stiff competition from intermediaries. It’s just seen as a natural thing to do because the bank is your trusted, full service bank and that means something to a human being. The retail market may be harder to retain and it is here where collaboration may come to the fore; not bank to bank but rather bank to one of the new entrants.
Let’s see where the debate goes.