Preserving the positives of 2020 for a future of better business banking

In response to the first national lockdown, businesses large and small rapidly adapted to meet their customers? new needs. The challenge was greater for some financial institutions with regulation and legacy infrastructure holding them back.

However, in crisis mode the financial services sector rapidly accelerated digitalisation plans, joining forces with third parties to deliver essential solutions to their customers as quickly as possible. Priorities and budgets were shifted overnight to provide the best possible customer experience. While it wasn't simple, it was essential and provided the motivation that banks needed to futureproof their processes and solutions through collaboration.

In November 2020 we spoke to 300 C-Suite decision makers at Banks across the UK, DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg) to discover the specific challenges they face in future-proofing their organisations and enhancing customer propositions. The results were published in a white paper, ?Better business banking: Collaborating for success?, and provide vital insights such as news that the pandemic caused 58 per cent of banks to change their IT infrastructure plans, and that four in five already have external partnerships or have them on the agenda for the next 12 months.

The FinTech benefit

Unencumbered by legacy systems, the new cohort of fintechs have been able to serve consumer and corporate customers efficiently and at low cost in many areas, often competing with traditional banks. Traditional banks have nonetheless not stood still in the face of new competition. They have been changing their business practices, culture and technology to provide the solutions their customers need for today and tomorrow.

As we emerge from the pandemic and come to terms with the permanent changes it has brought about, banks need to find cost-effective ways to support corporate customers whatever the future post-pandemic world brings. That support needs to be convenient, accessible and, above all, valuable. Solutions must be investment-light, yet deliver strong innovation that is flexible enough to meet rapidly shifting expectations and needs. 

In collaboration with fintechs and specialist providers, banks have found themselves able to deliver new digital accessible solutions to meet the needs of their retail and corporate customers. Looking ahead now to what the rest of 2021 holds, the new challenge is to ensure the innovation and collaboration that became necessities in 2020 become the norm, not a passing phase or memory. 

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