Top banking trends for 2022 – setting course beyond the watershed

An opinion piece by Jigyasa Singh, Financial Services Managing Director for Accenture in Africa

In our long and varied history there have been many watershed moments; events that in hindsight changed the way we lived, worked and thought about things. For banking, COVID-19 is a watershed event in real-time. Banks were in a reactive mode previously, aware that their marketplace was changing, they explored the potential of digital technology to enhance their systems, processes, products and experiences. The pandemic forced them to become proactive, and to question many long-held assumptions about their customers, their employees and even their purpose.

Today, banks are more intentional; more willing to challenge than respect conventions; more open to changing and partnering than reinforcing their monolithic structures.

We at Accenture, have observed the industry dynamics, taken inputs from the work we do for our clients and from our technology partnership to synthesise the trends that are globally defining the banking industry. Here’s my pick of the top 5 trends!

  1. Everyone wants to be a super-app. A growing number of online platforms “super-apps” are providing a wide array of retail, entertainment, lifestyle offerings and financial services, all in one place. Mobile banking – as complex as it is – is just a few APIs away from being integrated into almost any other platform. As super-apps increase domination, banks will need to have a decisive strategy on how to participate in this eco-system.
  2. The digital brain gets a caring heart. Between 2018 and 2020, the proportion of consumers who have full confidence in their bank to look after their long-term financial wellbeing dropped from 43% to 29%. Why? There are many reasons, but it hasn’t helped that in the drive to digitisation, many banks have become functionally correct but emotionally devoid. Banks can leverage artificial intelligence and other new technologies to read customers’ moods and can aggregate data to predict their intent and needs thereby bring empathy and humanity to
    the business.
  3. Payments: anywhere, anytime…and now anyhow. It has become clear that the next revolution in payments will come from open networks. Over the past decade, the payments industry has been revolutionised to a point where consumers take it for granted that they can pay, and get paid, anywhere and at any time. In 2022, banks will have to find new ways to satisfy the increasingly demanding consumers, they must be prepared to take on a measure of risk as they innovate. At the same time, they will need to reinforce their resilience and security.
  4. Green gets real. The world is finally getting serious about the environment, and 2022 will be the year banks start to play a decisive role. It won’t be long before investors think about businesses in a very different way. Many banks have made sustainability pledges, committing to net zero carbon emissions in their own operations. However, they will play a much more significant role by facilitating the funding needed for the world to change its ways and arrest climate change.
  5. The war for talent intensifies. The dire shortage of technology, engineering, data and security experts needed by banks to realize their digital aspirations is concerning. Leading banks have come to realize that a radically different way of thinking and working is needed to attract and retain talent. Easing the disruption of the talent supply chain will be one of the biggest challenges facing banks in 2022.

In conclusion, we may not know for sure what banking will look like a decade or two from now, but we’re certain that the leaders will be doing different things. And they’ll be doing them in completely different ways: they will be proactive, forward-looking, nimble, and flexible and inclusive rather than rigid and self-sufficient. And their greatest assets will be their ability to identify opportunities and innovate efficiently.

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