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Business Observer Friday, Dec. 20, 2019 6 months ago

Report: Bankers aren't ready for industry disruption

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The PwC Retail Banking 2020 Overview spells out several concerns for bankers.

Bankers, by and large, according to a new report from global consulting giant PwC, are well aware of their looming industry challenges and obstacles.

Problem is, they doubt their company’s ability to deal with the coming changes, a service and technology-driven disruption of their marketplace, according to the PwC Retail Banking 2020 Overview. “Nontraditional players are challenging the established order, leading with customer-centric innovation,” the report states. “New service providers are emerging. Customers are demanding ever higher levels of service and value. Trust is at an all-time low.

Innovation comes up often in the survey and keys bankers preparation — or lack thereof. Nearly nine in 10, 87%, of survey respondents, for example, consider innovation within the banking industry important. Yet only 11% say their organization is “very prepared,” the survey shows. Also, 64% of respondents agree that “neither innovation nor operational effectiveness are dominant” within their bank — while they look to succeed at both.

Another example of the priority-preparedness disconnect is in having a customer-centric business model: Nearly two-thirds, 61%, say that kind of model is “very important,” the survey reports. Yet only 17% are “very prepared” for it.

PwC polled and interviewed more than 500 senior banking leaders, according to the report, with broad C-suite participation from global, regional, national and community banks, most with more than $50 million in assets. The survey looked at six themes: advanced analytics, customer-centric approach, innovation, simplification, distribution and regulations.

Despite broad agreement among bankers that those topics are very or somewhat important, fewer than 20% of executives feel they are “very prepared” to address those priorities, the report states. More troubling for the industry: a similar percentage (20%) report they are actually making significant investments in these areas.

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