In the UK, a license was just issued to a bank that has plans to operate fully through a mobile app, no branches, no website. What the CEO said about the offering of the newly created Atom Bank was telling. He claimed to be designing an app that’s “in tune” with how people think about their money. He added that the app-based approach allowed the bank to use the features of mobile devices to provide a slick and highly personal experience offering total control and transparency beyond what was in the market currently. He went on to say that the inspiration for the app did not come from banks. Rather, it was sourced from tech companies with credits in the motor industry and in gaming.
To us this is the latest, and perhaps most explicit, example of the growing influence of technology on the delivery and consumption of financial services. It evidences two rapidly growing trends:
1. Interactive, robotic communication technologies as the core medium for client management.
2. The reimagining of traditional approaches to the financial services customer experience using the most popular and widely used apps from across industries as blueprints.
The implications of these trends are far reaching. As has already been the case in other industries, they are likely to hasten the movement of financial service providers to be more customer-centric, reorganizing internal operations to better conform to the front-end app design and usage. They are also likely to raise the expectation of customers for both a simpler and more satisfying client experience that they can actively control. Users will further come to expect an experience that is similar across devices, customized to the individual both in content and operation, and able to provide value-added insight using improved data mining and reporting.
It is critical for traditional financial service providers to keep a close watch on these trends and weigh carefully their potential impact as the influence of technologists grows.