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Is technology disrupting the open banking experience?

By: Daniel Ofosu Dwamena

It was a period when you needed to walk into the bank through a revolving glass door, join long queues and open accounts or applied for a loan.

Competitiveness was based on how best you could serve your customers. Banks started commercials, assuring customers they could access loans with in 48 hour after application, a move which was welcoming to businesses and individuals who faced challenges in securing loans.

Aside the stressed scenes in the banking halls due to long queues, banks were also a place our fathers who have gone on pension met to fraternise with their colleges. It was really a social place where they got out of their ‘solitude’.

Banks owned customer relationship by default and ‘see my bank manager’ was a common term.

Technology has altered the way in which banks communicate with consumer with the development of new technologies. It has become the norm.

This brings the question whether the new customer landscape, along with today’s technology, is posing notable threats that outweigh the former challenges.

When transactions didn’t go through, customers sat with bankers to sort thing out. Just with words of mouths, the sleeping dog was left to have its good sleep.

However, Daniëlle Kruger has said connections is up for grabs in today’s banking environment – but when owning the customer relationship is no more anyone’s game, how can banks make sure it’s theirs?

Fintech meets banking
Now, investment in fintech sector has been seen as an investment hot ticket for banks. While the 2016 PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Global Fintech Survey estimated that fintech was still at its infancy in the country, mostly geared towards payment and remittances, the 2017 edition revealed that adaptation has risen dramatically to a considerable stage.

The banking experience has almost entirely been moved to the smartphones, laptops and other mobile gadgets with the installation of face-up applications and software.

  “The penetration of smartphones provides consumers with an easier way to interact with banks and gain real-time views into their bank accounts,” Krugar told the ITNewsAfrica.

He added that, inevitably, as mobile apps grow in sophistication, so will customers demand intuitive banking services.

 He indicated that digital transformation within banks coupled with mobility has transformed the very nature of banking. “Customers no longer have to contend with long queues and wait times to deposit money, apply for loans or even request a check book,” he added.

But while it’s clear that digital investments in fintech are growing and that the digital revolution in banking is well and truly here, what hasn’t yet been mapped is the impacts on banking’s biggest players – customer relationship.

The future of open banking
Wouldn’t the future of retail banks in the country be grim rocked with the wake of financial crisis due to re-regulation to strengthen digital banking?

Through platforms such whatsapp, cash can be transferred by way of instant message as opposed to the multi-layered authentication process required by your bank app.

Retail bankers are likely to face the threat of under banked consumer of today who have already signed on to a fintech in the future.

This future is not far from us as some open banking in England are demanding that Britain’s nine biggest banks crack open their customer data to third parties upon customer consent, with the aim of improving price comparison and boosting account switching.

New breed of customers
Inarguably, the silos of traditional retail banking are coming down, giving way to a more personalised and self-regulated form of financial management.

Customers expect to engage directly and immediately with their retailers to anticipate needs before they arise.

Previously, banks were able to make incremental changes to curb the first internet-based challenges, but today’s ongoing digital disruption offers a hurricane of change that has cut out the competitive advantage banks used to enjoy based on their best customer service.

Service must be a fluid, intuitive and integrated extension of the lifestyle of customers, not a rigid system that needed sophisticated technologies and abilities.

Way forward
Despite the advancement in technology in the banking sector, if a bank needs to win the game of competitiveness, it ought to win the customer relationship. If you don’t own that relational space, someone else will.

The future of banking, is fir a fact, enigmatic, however, fintech will be rewriting the rules as we move on. And the more we can capture the unchanging power of human relationships and prize the customer experience, the greater chance we have to outwit disruption.—GB