Trend Watch 2021: Digital Transformation in Banking

digital transformation graphic

It’s finally happening: Vaccines are rolling out, case numbers are dropping, and we’re inching ever closer to a new post-COVID normal. So where does that leave the financial services industry? It’s true that the pandemic has fast-tracked digital transformation in banking, and it’s no wonder; when staying home is the key to staying safe, traditional in-branch transactions go out the window in favor of online account opening, virtual loan signing, and more. 

Accrue brings decades of financial services expertise to the table — and we keep our skills sharp by keeping a close eye on the banking industry, scouting for digital banking trends our customers should be aware of to help accelerate their digital transformation journey. Read on for five trends to watch as you step out of your home offices and into the post-pandemic sun.

#1: Digital account opening is here to stay.

Financial institutions were asked to pivot quickly when the pandemic hit, implementing online resources for account opening, lending applications, document signing, and more. And in a classic case of “you can’t unring that bell,” the past year has shown customers that in-branch banking doesn’t have to be their only option, so it’s up to financial institutions to embrace banking digitization and meet their customers where they are: online.

#2: Contextual banking experiences matter — and so does empathy.

Your customers have been through a lot over the past year. Consumers may have faced job losses, extended illness, and high stress levels. Many businesses took huge hits in revenue and found themselves scrambling to secure Paycheck Protection Program loans. After such a challenging year, customers are looking for financial institutions that care — and a digital banking experience to back it up. Start looking for ways to implement personalization, whether it’s smart content on your website that changes from user to user or customized recommendations for customers within their online banking interface. Use technology to show that you’re paying attention to who they are and what’s important to them.

#3: APIs are bridging the digital transformation gap.

The vast improvements technology can make to customer experiences can’t be overstated. But slick fintech solutions for digital banking don’t always play nicely with legacy core platforms, especially within smaller community banks and credit unions who may lack the resources or expertise for a successful rollout. Fortunately, well-engineered APIs can serve as a conduit between a new fintech solution and the core system that’s already in place, saving time and money while bringing new functionality to customers.

#4: Protecting personal information is more important than ever.

The very nature of digital transformation means more and more personal information must be stored, accessed, used, and handled with care. And as technology gets smarter, it’s inevitable that scammers do too — and customers are becoming less and less tolerant of mishaps, so it’s up to you to ensure you’re using every tool in your toolbox to keep customers’ personal information safe. That means bigger investments in cybersecurity and fraud protection, implementing multifactor authentication on customer accounts, and educating customers and employees alike on how to spot scams, among other strategies.

#5: AI is becoming a bigger factor in customer service.

While there’s no substitute for a live conversation with a knowledgeable, compassionate human being, there’s a lot to be said for artificial intelligence in the digital banking space. More and more financial institutions are rolling out chatbot functionalities for their customer support, and it’s having a big impact on the bottom line. A recent Juniper report found that chatbots will deliver $11 billion in annual cost savings for banking organizations by 2021. It’s a great way for institutions to save money while also offering customers always-on access to an enhanced level of service, especially during off hours.

These are just a few of the digital banking trends we are keeping our eye on for 2021. We hope this year is a little less fraught and a lot more profitable for financial institutions — and no matter what, we want to be part of what’s driving your business in 2021 and beyond. Learn more about how Accrue is leading the way in digital banking transformation.