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What 2020 Taught Us

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Dec 15, 2020

Pre-pandemic predictions for 2020 played out in a variety of ways as banks adapted to unfolding events with varying degrees of success. See what 2020 taught us and what this means for 2021. Are you ready?

What 2020 Taught Us

In March 2020, no one could have anticipated what was about to transpire during the coming months and how drastically the unfolding of events would require banks to innovate, pivot, and react in ways and at a pace never experienced. 

In January, pre-pandemic, Forbes published an article outlining changes to expect in 2020, including the rise of FinTechs to solve technology needs, advancements in digitization, personalized experiences, and additional income sources. These predictions have played out in a variety of ways and with varying degrees of success for organizations.  

Ability to deliver a digital, contactless experience for the customer.

  • 2020 saw the emergence of more than 8,000 FinTech’s in North America alone, with the majority entrenched in mobile payments and online engagement.  
  • Banking executives will still be tasked with determining how much and where to invest in technology to support internal tasks and customer-facing demands.
  • The diversity of solutions and integration capability these FinTechs  provide, including remote work capabilities, will need to be -reevaluated to ensure long term solutions versus using as a stop gaps at time of crisis.

What This Means For 2021 - Increase consumer adoption rates by addressing limitations of legacy systems, providing the needed functionality and investment to ensure longer-term stability; if not being addressed, banks will fall further behind their peers. Where does your eco-system rank? 

Analysts predict branch consolidations will continue to occur at a rate as high as 20% post-pandemic.

  • Branch rationalization has shifted away from the mindset of more physical locations. Many organizations are focused on developing end-to-end processes in the digital world, but often are not seamless. Understanding branch profitability will be critical; the data needed to evaluate this essential. For many, it can present a challenge. 
  • Monetizing the digital experience will play an even more important role – from account opening in all products to daily maintenance requests once done in person, mobile apps and wallets will attract more users if built to accommodate needs. 

What This Means For 2021 - Supporting an existing customer base while providing solutions for the underbanked will demand further innovation, a greater focus on process optimization, and encouraging adoption from all populations. Has your organization truly uncovered every hurdle in both your employee and customer journeys? 

Flexibility when faced with shifting needs of the consumer.

  • Friction points still exist – banks have spent the last several months striving to identify and remove them. Still, more work needs to be done, particularly as consumers expect a holistic treatment and product pricing and bundling is relying on it. 
  • Sharing and leveraging activities from one product to another for a consumer is important to provide the right experience to deepen the relationship and drive future growth. 

What This Means For 2021 - Personalization driven by data is a must-have – as banks harness more of the vast amounts of data on hand, how will your organization be influential in ensuring customers feel connected and valued? 

Banks clearly are looking to solve financial gaps, but with primary revenue sources down and deposits up, the question is how.

  • In the last 8 months, US banks have absorbed more than $500 billion in PPP loans, increased deposits by 57%, and had ample cash on hand with interest rates at historic lows.   
  • Consumer spending constriction has reduced interest and fee income, a primary revenue component.  
  • Income and expenses are misaligned, requiring a closer look at costs to offset decreased interest and fee income. 
  • Vendor pricing and loyalty programs continue to be evaluated and negotiated but still have high price points for banks. 

What This Means For 2021 - Leverage expertise to close hidden revenue gaps and expense leakage beyond the traditional product pricing, engage an objective perspective on product journeys, and mitigate risks caused by inflexible technology. What additional analysis can organizations absorb to identify these financial opportunities in 2021? 

Every organization, large and small, has felt the impact of 2020. Teams have displayed tremendous ingenuity, responsiveness, and commitment. At Profit Insight, we continue to embrace the challenge of supporting our clients in these efforts. Whether providing tactical expertise to our clients worldwide, sharing a fresh perspective, or uncovering unrealized gaps through data, we will be there as we have for the last 45 years to help our clients grow and thrive in 2021. 

 Happy Holidays and Wishing you a Safe and Healthy New Year!

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