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Technology Updated: 21 Aug 2017

Customers must be kept in mind when digitizing banking

A study by the consultancy firm GFT has revealed that users are the backbone of the new upcoming era of digital banking changes, the so-called customer-centric strategy. A survey with a discrete sample (120 people in decision-making positions in companies in the industry) that, nevertheless, gives symptomatic results of the status quo of banking digitization in Europe and South America.

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It's no secret that digitizing banking is a process that is already broadly underway across the industry; however, it's interesting to emphasize this general feeling in figures. According to a study by the consultancy firm GFT83% of all banks in the sample have already started or are designing a new digital strategy, while only 7% have already launched a comprehensive service offering to the market. The key to the success of these initiatives, always according to the respondents, depends on how its omnichannel proposal is received.

Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Brazil and the UK have an overall coefficient of almost 60% of digital implementation of banking platforms at the present time. In addition, more than half of the surveyed banks claim to need between three and five years to fully implement the digital strategy that they have already devised. According to the statement by Marika Lulay, COO and member of the Executive Board of GFT, that requires a "radical" rethink of trends in international banking.

The study supports this assumption with conclusive figures.  Ninety percent of respondent banks prioritize loyalty and customer satisfaction in their strategy, even above maximizing profits, which remains in third place behind the two reasons cited as underlying grounds for determining a digital strategy for the bank.

This change in mentality has also been approached by Lulay, who has argued that "in the past, the product was the most important aspect. All structures and processes were oriented to offer services that helped increase profitability. This is now changing. Customers, with all their needs and requirements, are gaining prominence".

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The cases of Spain, Germany and Italy

In the case of Spain we find a mixed picture. On the one hand, 35% of banks surveyed allocated less than five million euros of their budget to digital projects, compared to 18% investing more than 20 million for this purpose. One of the most polarized banking scenarios in the world is thus depicted, at least in regard to digitizing banking.

As for Germany, it is noteworthy that this country has the fewest banks that have not started the digitization process, with only 4% of respondents being laggards in the field, while the study’s average stands at 10%.

Finally, the report highlights the pace of Italy when it comes to digitizing its banking sector. The big surprise they are giving priority to mobile payments as a key to success for their digital projects. This is the case to the extent that there has been a banking quorum to sponsor a P2P payments project known as Jiffy, which is expected to be launched this year.

You can download an infographic with the full details of the report here .