Banking has changed. Soon it will change much more

A recent study by Viacom Media Networks shows 71% of Millennials said they’d rather visit the dentist than hear what a bank has to say.

If you couple this with the fact that transactions performed at physical bank branches are on the down, and in many countries bank branches are closing, it is clear that what we know as banking is in for a wild ride over the coming years.

Earlier this year, I was introduced to Lunar Way, an Aarhus-based tech company that is reinventing banking and I sat down with their CEO Ken Villum Klausen to listen and learn more about what’s going on. Ken is also speaking at the J. Boye Aarhus 16 conference in November.

The bank was where the money was

When banks with thousands of employees are not able to provide an adequate customer experience, obviously it has nothing to do with a lack of resources. Rather, the problem is one of internal culture and timeworn practices. Why change what seems to have been working successfully for many years?

Digitisation and the importance of the digital experience are now facts of life. It requires change in all industries, but often also a change in thinking on a personal level. Just consider banking: While many of us can deal with the day-to-day banking needs from our desktops or even mobile phones, still a majority of respondents to an extensive 2015 survey, thought having a branch nearby was important to them.

Implementing both new ways of thinking and new technology is harder for larger organisations with more complex internal structures. They will often find themselves playing innovation catch up to smaller businesses for whom steering towards innovation is a quicker process.

Ken Villum Klausen pointed to one major issue being many banks unwillingness to let customers perform major actions, such as loan applications, online. Despite that even government agencies are letting people manage areas such as tax returns online.

This has safety merits in some instances, but there are many areas where concrete safety concerns can’t explain the apparent lack of development. Areas where it seems like the banks doesn’t completely trust the digital safety systems they themselves have developed. And done a good job of it.

Banking beyond the app

Not too many years ago a banking app wasn’t a requirement for a bank, but just nice to have. Today it’s a must for all banks to let customers access their accounts fast on any device during any time of the day.

But this is only the first step in meeting the customer on the customer’s own terms. According to Ken, bank services will increasingly need to be absolutely integrated parts of the customers daily digital routines. Meaning that it will no longer be enough for the bank to provide the customer with an app accessed through somewhat time consuming security rituals. Just as social engagements, financial developments are a crucial and defining part of everyday life.

This is why people will increasingly — as we have seen with social media — expect to be updated and kept in the loop continuously throughout the day. This is complicated and made unnecessarily difficult for people when they have to access the bank’s own app for every little new piece of information.

Ken points to the future where banking will no longer be the monopoly realm of traditional financial institutions, but instead be woven into the apps people are already using. Do you want to see recent transactions on your card directly in Messenger? Your money flow shown graphically in Snapchat?

To quote Ken:

Really, the opportunities are endless as long as we dare to expand upon the notion that the bank’s job is to actually make the lives of their customers easier

Learn more about the new paradigm

For more on digital innovation and how it is having an impact on all industries, read about the mindset that made Pokémon Go and do consider joining the J. Boye Aarhus 16 conference in November, where we’ll this year have more entrepreneurs and start-ups joining the ranks of large, complex and global organisations to learn from each and working together to create better solutions.