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New technologies drive innovation in banking

Retail bank executives are refocusing their innovation strategies, with 36 per cent looking to build a greenfield digital bank, according to a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of software company Temenos. 

It found that banks are also now pursuing more proactive open banking strategies by preparing for digital business model evolution; 41 per cent are seeking to act as a true digital ecosystem, and 28 per cent are offering their own and third-party banking and non-banking products and services. 

The report entitled “A whole new world: how technology is driving the evolution of intelligent banking”, investigates the strategy drivers and digital investments of retail banking executives. It highlights that new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), open APIs and cloud are driving banks towards advanced data and analytics. Banks are using these to develop compelling propositions and experiences for their customers, while keeping their money and their data safe. 

"Banks realise that, in the longer term, their biggest competition may come from partnerships between tech giants and fintechs," said Renée Friedman, editor of the report at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “To remain competitive, they will need to prove that they are safer in terms of their customers’ private data and security if they are to retain their customers’ trust and loyalty.”

The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 405 global banking executives about the challenges retail banks expect to face between now and 2020 and 2025, and the strategies they are deploying in response. 

The key findings included:

  • New technologies such as AI, machine learning and blockchain have replaced changing customer behaviour and demands as the key driver of strategic thinking at banks around the world in both the short and longer terms.
  • While banks are preparing to launch an open banking strategy by 2025, they remain focused on improving product agility and mastering digital marketing and engagement in the shorter-term to 2020. 
  • Banks are still looking to work with fintechs, with 56 per cent of respondents saying that fintech-bank collaboration in sandboxes will become mainstream by 2025.
  • AI is becoming a key part of the new technology mix, with respondents thinking its most valuable use will be in improving the user experience through greater customer personalisation and 61 per cent thinking that AI will create better value for customers by 2025. 
  • However, 44 per cent think customers’ biggest concerns related to AI are uncertainty about security of their personal information. This may explain why investment in cybersecurity is the top focus of banks’ digital investment (39 per cent) and 68 per cent believe regulators will tighten cyber security authentication protocols by 2025.

The full global report will be published at the end of May 2019.

This article was first published in April 2019.