More than half of US banks say digital banking top priority

By Roger Baird on Wednesday 9 January 2019

Digital Banking

American and Canadian bankers say “mastering” digital banking and making more “agile” products are their most important issues.

More than half of US banks say developing their digital business is their top priority over the next 12 months, according to a report.

Fifty three per cent of American and Canadian bankers said “mastering digital marketing and engagement” is the most important issue facing them, said a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit released today.

Also, 49 per cent of these executives added that “improving product agility” is the next highest strategic priority facing North American lenders.

The report said the executives it interviewed admitted “the ability of US banks to provide an easy, one-stop digital journey is still underdeveloped compared with their European counterparts”.

In the UK, high street bank RBS said this month its digital-only unit Bó is currently testing its operations and is due to launch later this year. This move follows Spanish giant Santander, which said last May it intended to establish its own digital bank under a separate brand in a bid to compete with a growing raft of app-only rivals such as Monzo and Tandem.

Report editor Renee Friedman, of the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “North American banks need to be able to respond better to how their customers’ live now in terms of their digital offerings if they are to remain truly competitive against neo and challenger banks.”

The survey, called “Whose customer are you? The reality of digital banking in North America”, was commissioned by Swiss banking software firm Temenos.

Temenos North American president Emily Steele said: “We are seeing exciting developments across the region as the banking industry explores what it means to bank in a digital world. Incumbent banks are setting up digital banks alongside their own operations, challenger banks are popping up, and now we are starting to see fintechs moving to become banks themselves. Banks are awakening to the need to personalize and contextualize their digital products and services, and offer customers great customer journeys, in order to compete and remain successful.”

The survey spoke to 100 bankers in the US and Canada and was supplemented by further interviews with senior executives from leading regional banks.

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