By trying to keep pace with the latest technologies. This is how digital banks have moved forward in recent years and how they have continued to grow even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it’s obvious that they will continue to grow, as each of us now understands what it means to get productive services quickly and remotely. But looking to the future, the winner in the digital banking competition will be the ones that can do more than just make good use of the latest technologies.
So, what will digital banks focus on in 2022?
The same things, only faster
Process automation and putting artificial intelligence to use were the two key focus points for many digital banks. I expect this focus to remain intact, as both customers and employees benefit from its applications greatly.
Almost all digital banks are already utilizing artificial intelligence, some are much further ahead than others. And the reason for this is very simple – some have been working at their own speed when implementing new technologies. In contrast, others have realised that it’s not just the implementation that matters but also the time it takes to deliver results.
Automation of processes will continue to be crucial in 2022, making everyday tasks easier and allowing us to do more. However, the digital bank that tries to do things faster than others will undoubtedly have a much greater market advantage.
Embedded finance services – a path to even deeper waters
Embedded finance is slowly gaining popularity among digital banks and should continue to do so. In short, embedded finance is the integration of financial services into a non-financial system, app or platform.
Embedded finance is the integration of financial services into the system of almost any online platform using an Application Programming Interface (API). It provides a seamless payment experience at a single touchpoint. The dependency on third-parties is made redundant by the end-to-end solution with a wide variety of innovative offers that is highly beneficial for the consumers and the merchants. So, for example, a digital bank offering such services can help a retailer offer its branded credit cards, or integrate financial products such as consumer loans or insurance into its service offer directly on its website, app, or stores.
The adoption of embedded finance is expected to grow in popularity because it can provide a smoother user experience for the consumers while the whole financial process stays in-house, building loyalty and convenience for the company.
More focus on what’s going on inside
It is clear that customers will only ever expect the fastest, most accessible and most productive services from digital banks. But will they really be as such if the bank does not get to grips with its internal processes and adaptation to innovation first?
Soon, digital banks will focus much more on making processes easier and on their employees themselves. Of course, this will be helped by the rapid pace of new technologies and process automation, but just as important will be employees’ even more rapid upskilling. After all, if they are to have a good understanding of the new technologies, they need to be given more opportunities to improve their knowledge.
The remote work model is not a question, but an everyday reality
Assuming that we have already started talking about the internal processes of banks, it is worth emphasising that the fact that things can be handled remotely will sound like a common feature, not only for bank customers but also for employees.
Soon enough, remote working will not even be a discussion point to any degree for digital banks.
A modern digital bank is a global bank, where employees can work not only from the country where it is located. And the good old rule of thumb is that motivation and performance are key. So modern digital banks will increasingly pay less attention to where an employee is based. After all, it’s nothing new here – in a couple of years of the pandemic, we have all learned how to communicate virtually.
A guarantee of security
If you had to choose between two digital banks, and one of them, as opposed to the other, would emphasise the security of all transactions and, above all, the security of your funds, which one would you choose? Probably without a second thought, the one that talks about security.
So, security is something that digital banks will have to talk about more and more in the future.
For a digital bank that wants to be a leader, it will be important to ensure that all services are secure and strengthen its position on anti-money laundering. In addition, educating the public on security issues will be essential to earn more trust than others. This will continue to be as important a focus in the future as it is today.
Sarp Demiray, CEO at European Merchant Bank.