The notion of a dramatically different banking future is not hard to conjure, considering how the digital generation operates, transacts and interacts. Projecting five or 10 years out, will customers explicitly choose to work with bank brands at all, or will they simply look for a financial solution and take their business to whoever offers the best deal, whether it’s a retailer, a fintech or another provider?
The construct of the financial marketplace emerging from Digital Disruption 2.0 is analogous to the changes occurring in the mobile communications industry. Just as Android and iOS users don’t expect Samsung, HTC, LG or Apple to provide every app or accessory they need, banking customers will likely begin to procure financial services in an increasingly disaggregated fashion.
Recognizing this shift, smart banks of the future will transform themselves to become the “operating system” that makes financial services available. These organizations will create smart platforms driven by open APIs that enable them to add value through clusters of apps and services. A customer may choose a wealth management robo-advisor from one cluster and a social trading network from another. No longer is business success entirely dependent on providing a specific functionality; instead, as long as the bank is providing the platform, the organization remains relevant.
As we move toward this digital future, the characteristics of successful banks may be unrecognizable from the traits they possess today. Being a visible brand will no longer be an earmark of industry prowess – it will be enough to simply be the platform on which customers rely to conduct their banking business.