How can traditional banks defeat their new tech competitors?

David K DonovanCultivate a “digital ecosystem”:  According to Deutsche Bank, adapting to the digital age requires more than launching a web-based service tool or re-designing a webpage. Truly engaging in the digital sphere means ingesting this mindset into the core of the company’s structure. Following the example of internet companies, banks should strive to force their clients into their value chain. ‘These sorts of digital ecosystems “integrate a large volume of digital content, mobile devices, software and internet services under a single umbrella so that their customers ideally no longer have to leave their platform”, Deutsche Bank explains, adding that banks should do the same’. By creating a fully comprehensive set of services, platforms and information, banks will ensure that their clients are spending as much time on their properties as possible.

Find the Trust: Trust has played a significant role in shaping the public perceptions of banks over the past seven years or so. After the economic downturn of 2008 and the subsequent media attention on bail-outs and Wall Street salaries, banks struggled to regain the trust of their customer base. After this initial flurry of negative attention, the trust between banks and their clients was once again tested after a series of very public banking security system flaws and breaches. While regaining a lost sense of trust is difficult, there are very tangible steps that banks can take to begin this rebuilding process. By investing significant capital into internal data and security systems and processes, the banks will in turn prove their commitment to the security of the client.

Understand Your Data : Today’s banks act as vast repositories for huge amounts of customer data. However, not all banks are using this information to their advantage. With the advent of big data, banks have the information but it’s up to them to figure out the best way to use it. Taking time to strategize about what information would be most beneficial to analyze, as well as truly considering the best tools to do this are critical steps that determine whether or not a bank will survive in this digital era.

Be transparent: Along with building trust through enhanced security efforts, banks can increase efforts to rebuild by implementing transparency about how banks are using their clients’ information. Lengthy terms and conditions technically outline exactly how a bank is using, accessing and aggregating client information, yet this is not packaged in a particularly digestible form for the customer. Sharing this information in a way that is easily understood, as well as explaining the algorithms that the bank utilizes are two ways in which data transparency could serve to strengthen the relationship between the bank and the customer.