Challenging the future: What will banking look like in 10 years?

This year, Aldermore is turning 10 and with it, we are celebrating a decade of saying YES to opportunities for our customers.

While the big, traditional banks were dusting off from the financial crisis in 2009, we rose from the ashes. Since then, we have innovated where others have failed to – seeing opportunity rather than hurdles and always challenging the status quo. We now have our sights firmly set on the future, so we can continue to reinvent and stay ahead.
However, there is no doubt the banking sector is in a state of enormous change. The next few years will be a critical fight for survival for many, as technology and digital customer preferences continue to develop at meteoric speed.
With this in mind, our experts take a look back now at ten years of success and a look forward to what the future might hold for both banks and their customers…

Opportunity in adversity:

Helen Steadman, Group Brand Manager:Helen Steadman
“As the financial crisis unfolded, our CEO, Philip Monks, was drawn to the plight of UK homeowners and small/medium enterprises (SMEs). There was an opportunity to redefine the role of a bank at a time when so many competitors were distracted by the need to rebuild their balance sheet. 
For many years, UK SMEs had said: ‘The bank doesn’t understand me,’ and ‘There is no human interaction.’ Why?  Because the big banks’ automated responses resulted in the disappearance of the expertise and intelligent sounding boards that SMEs required.
That’s why we focus on helping individuals and businesses, especially SMEs, in whichever form it takes; whether that's lending to them or supporting a cause that directly affects them. We champion the dreamers and the achievers of today. How?  By looking forward to potential returns we accelerate the process by making capital more accessible to more people. We help those people who aren’t being looked after by the big banks”.

Staying relevant to customers:

Simon McGuinness, Retail Customer Experience:
Simon McGuinness
“What is undeniable is that the pace of innovation and change in this sector is unprecedented and there will inevitably be winners and losers.  Customer expectations of what a great experience feels like continue to evolve at a rapid rate; yet keeping pace is only part of the challenge. True differentiation will always be driven by leveraging new technology and data to provide innovative solutions to meeting the needs of customers.  At Aldermore we have a relentless focus on our customers and providing financial solutions to help them seek and seize opportunities in their personal and professional lives. It’s this relentless focus that has driven our success over the last 10 years and I’m confident it will provide the grounding for 10 more years of banking.”

Not innovation for innovation's sake:

Mark Jacot, Head of IT Transformation:
Mark Jacot
“Aldermore’s success has been to remain totally focussed on meeting our customer needs. Through our people, products and systems we have industry-leading customer loyalty scores. For example, we  created the first totally online account opening process for SME savings customers. As an organisation we never rest on our laurels; we are always looking to innovate and improve at all levels by being customer-led and driven. However, it’s easy to get distracted by innovation for innovation’s sake. Success in the next 10 years will be driven by focus on our customer needs and using technology and data to help them meet their goals.”

Kevin Howell, Enterprise Architect, CIO:Kevin Howell
“We anticipate a number of innovation themes over the next few years, such as: how employees interact and communicate to deliver new products and service to customers; greater collaboration across specialist organisations to assemble services as an eco-system; products and services that are adaptable and personalised to an individual customer’s need (encompassing risk-based pricing); and simplification of account onboarding via consuming data held by other organisations (the API economy). The goal has to be fulfilling customer needs using technology.”

Adapt or die:

Simon McGuinness, Retail Customer Experience:
“Do I think there will still be a role for banks in 10 years? Yes I do. Despite the challenges that have occurred in the banking sector over the last 20 years, when it comes to providing a home for people’s money, psychologically there is something reassuring about having your money in a bank. Ultimately people want to know that when they want access to their money, it’s going to be there. They want to know that when they are paid their salary that it is safe. Banking and financial services will continue to evolve, but stability and reliability are hugely important to people. And in my opinion, this is unlikely to change any time soon.”

Where next for banking?

Mark Jacot, Head of IT Transformation:
“I think we are reaching a tipping point where voice (think Siri and Alexa and similar products) becomes a primary channel. It will need a change in mindset to take off – but it’ll involve a transition similar to the way we moved from financial transactions once a day at home on our PC, to using apps on smartphones many times a day. I think the next areas of innovation will be in the voice-driven space and behind that Artificial Intelligence to answer many more questions and queries.”

Kevin Howell, Enterprise Architect, CIO:
“Customer experience is pivotal! In an age where technology continues to advance, and customers expect on-demand services (always available at their convenience), we have to balance self-service capabilities alongside the need for a human touch, particularly for those with more specialist banking needs. The rise of open banking and aggregated banking applications will blur the boundaries between the multiple institutions that provide separate banking products to a customer and the organisation that provides the summarised view (and enabling dynamic account management) across these services. There will need to be a balance, though, between compelling personalised services and privacy – given how much data companies will hold about me and you.”