Roadmapping the Future – Financial Services Industry
In the second part of our series on roadmapping, we look at what the future could look like for the personal banking sector.
Roadmapping is about predicting opportunities, trends and new demands that will impact the way we live and do business. Changes in consumer habits and technology will inevitably impact the financial services industry and its corporate real estate.
Customer is king
One key trend that will impact the personal banking sector is that consumers are becoming more and more demanding in their everyday lives. Knowing that everything is possible, they expect the "customer is king” treatment and are demanding more when it comes to products, service and technology.
A number of banks and financial institutions are evolving in an effort to meet their consumers’ heightened demands. NatWest has put the “customer is king” philosophy at the very heart of its operation, pledging to become “Britain’s most helpful bank”. While BankSimple, has created a new banking model to provide greater levels of service to the customer. The organization provides consumers with “human customer service, clear and simple policies and no hidden fees”, while partnering with multiple “back end” banks to handle the nitty-gritty. This partnership means it can juggle its customers’ money and enable them to benefit from the best rates.
This customer focus is also having an impact on retail stores. Barclays is refurbishing its entire branch network in the UK after extensive staff and customer consultation. While Sberbank, the largest credit institution in Russia, has transformed one of its branches in Moscow to better suit its technologically-sophisticated and demanding customer base. The branch incorporates state-of-the-art technology and the lobby has automated self-service contactless machines, self-service advisory stations and 3D virtual advisors, as well as a 'relaxation area', with coffee, magazines and games for the children.
A cashless society
Driven by technical advances such as Near Field Communication (NFC) and Global Positioning System (GPS), time-poverty associated with the rise of two-income families, the notion of a cashless society is another significant trend that will impact the financial services sector. According to Steve Perry, Executive Vice President of Visa Europe, “cash is expensive”, he claims taking cash out of the system enables transactions to be quicker, cheaper and more efficient.
Apps for mobile payments are increasing in popularity. According to thisismoney.co.uk, more than 20,000 UK consumers registered for Barclays' Pingit mobile money transfer service just two days after it launched at the beginning of February 2012. The service allows mobile users with a Barclays current account to instantly send people up to £300 a day via the Pingit app on their smart phone and is designed for settling small ‘IOUs’ among friends.
Many companies are exploring ways to make financial transactions more efficient by removing the need for cash. A UK system called watch2pay is proving the old adage ‘time is money’ to be true. Developed by the Austrian watchmaker LAKS and launched in November 2011, watch2pay is the first watch worldwide that can be used for contactless MasterCard payments. The Deutsche Bahn in Germany has used NFC and smartphones to launch a Touch&Travel service for passengers, which allows travellers to and check in and out of rail stations using NFC on their smartphones or by scanning 2D barcodes.
Biometry, the measurement of unique human characteristics, such as the veins in someone’s hands, or their iris structure, also has obvious applications for the financial services sector. Coca Cola and Hitachi have created a drinks vending machine that can dispense products without the need for cash. It uses “finger vein authorisation” to measure an individual’s pulse signature, then automatically charges against their credit card or bank account.
These trends have obvious implications for corporate real estate. Customer-focused environments, increasingly sophisticated technology and a move towards a cashless society will alter the way we use, interact and manage facilities. Understanding these trends and how they impact the workplace allows us to continue to ensure buildings are productive, flexible and fit for purpose.
If you would like further information on the Global WorkPlace Innovation Roadmapping Project, please visit www.globalworkplaceinnovation.com or email Hannah Hahn.