Clark Higgins was highly commended in the 14-15 age group in this year’s Young Financial Journalist competition for this essay, which imagines how banks will serve their customers in 2040.
No longer will I wait in a bank queue with Granny, help Dad with a forgotten password or even worry about a zero balance.
My future bank in 2040 will be forced to live in a constant state of marketing to my generation. It needs to be my constant friend. It will talk my language and will be there to help with my financial plans, provide advice and warn of online cyber enemies.
The functions of the bank will change substantially in the future and will be nothing like the high street bank of the present.
Banks will move from retail shops to offer a multi-channels network to their customers as in the future everything and everyone will be connected.
While staying in strategically located branches in cities, banks will offer a strong digital presence to customers to become their personalised automated friend.
Connecting by voice activation, visual data displays and even brain signals will be the approach.
In personalising the customer, the bank of the future will be heavily data reliant and involve very smart artificial intelligence (AI).
In a seamless way, it will be able to think for the customer, noting products to buy and when and where, with alerts making sure at the same time that you remain within an agreed budget.
To make this work, all products and services will be linked to the bank’s super-app on your smart phone. It can be called the e-wallet and be very adaptive as the bank will have to compete or partner with major technology companies to offer these services.
At the same time, cryptocurrencies will finally arrive.
It will offer me choice of currency. Cryptocurrencies and my bank will be there offering access to products around the world at the best price.
The bank will be the interface, identifying opportunities, arranging the transactions and keeping my money safe.
Cryptocurrency comes with dangers of hackers and cyber enemies which will lead to one of the bank’s core factors to be successful in the future – to be safe.
Surveys note that 86% of people believe if a bank is unsafe, they will leave – it is a matter of trust. So a bank would need to become very cyber safe and have many fail-safe precautions within their systems to stop any cyberattack from anywhere.
This is important as it’s their image to have a good façade, so that their customers feel safe dealing with the bank.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Beyond its role in keeping the bank safe, smart AI will be expected to be a significant part in the sales and recommendation of products. For example, my AI-backed bank adviser will recommend daily tasks, where to go and what to do alongside automatically recharging my smart phone.
The robotic bank adviser could also potentially add AI links to recommend a type of car or home insurance plan as and when they’re needed.
Smart AI will also become so advanced it will personalise itself for a customer by using information about the individual, and similar people, to improve an experience to conserve a customer’s time and more importantly money.
In addition, instead of being in many places, the bank will be able to provide a repository online for all the customer’s needs. This will improve loyalty and increase bank profits.
Overall a customer will stay because banks will be personalised and informed by the AI about what the individual customer wants. Your bank will become a friend for life –reminding you of anniversaries, latest trends, what to buy and where to go.
How banks will change
Bank computer systems will change to embrace the internet, placing all data online and making banking available via the cloud.
This will make banking quicker and easier for people – the anyplace, anytime approach. It will also save costs and allow flexibility for the bank. It will increase a bank’s speed to market with new applications. This will benefit customers and themselves significantly.
Banks will need to work out how to thrive in the face of all the new competition from technology companies.
Bank leaders will need to create new economic value outside the traditional bank services.
Bank staff will offer advice and services beyond the financial sector. It will become the enabler of choice, meeting the modern customer demands to be more than a financial companion. It will be my automated friend.
Clark Higgins is highly commended in the 14-15 age group of our 2019/20 Young Financial Journalist competition, which we run in partnership with the Financial Times. A student at Warwick School, he is interested in artificial intelligence and does most of his banking online.
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