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The Future of Banking - Part 1

Soon enough we'll all be using one of these nifty gadgets! To transfer funds, no less!

Soon enough we'll all be using one of these nifty gadgets! To transfer funds, no less!


The Creative Side of Going Mobile

The focus of this week’s blog post touches on a subject that’s very dear to the heart of Refundo: the future.  Like it or not, the past is over and done with.  The present, it turns out, is fleeting — it comes and goes in the blink of an eye.  No doubt some would prefer to return to the world of five, ten, or twenty years ago, or freeze things as they are now in hoping that nothing will ever change.  Sooner or later, though, we all end up in the future.  And insofar as Refundo wants to be part of that future, and keep providing our customers with the latest in banking technologies, it’s something we think about a lot.

So let’s start.  Where to begin?

An article over at the think tank online journal Thinque, though written over a year ago, is just as timely today as it was when it was written.  For our purposes, at least, it can serve as a launchpad hurdling us into a broader conversation on “The Future of Banking.”   The piece outlines what it calls “the top three disruptive trends in banking.”  This terminology about “disruptive trends”can more than a little obscure, however.  Don’t worry, though; we’ll break it down for you.  What it means by this is twofold:

1. The first meaning is strictly literal.  The article wants to track sources of disruption and “instability” within the banking industry.  No, not in the sense of “disruptive behavior,” as that which causes a commotion or ruckus.  Rather, it’s the idea of anything that causes a stir, shifts things around, makes ripples in the market or “waves of change,” as the piece puts it.

2. The second meaning is a bit more situational.  The writers over at Thinque clearly had the big San Francisco TechCrunch forum, “Disrupt,” in mind.  At that point, of course, it hadn’t taken place yet.  You’ll remember, though, that we were there on the ground when TechCrunch Disrupt unfolded.  It’s no accident, either, that there’s where we decided to announce our long-awaited mobile banking app!

In a previous post, we already went over the aptly dubbed “revolution” in accounting that was heralded by the advent of the cloud, as well as what that might mean for the future of tax preparation.  Today we’re going to perform a similar feat with respect to the rise of mobile banking and what it portends for the future of banking.

According to Anders at Thinque, the three big trends causing the biggest stir right now are 1. digitization (everything going digital), 2. social mediation (everybody using social media), and 3. online data-hoarding (everybody storing everything in online databases).  Corresponding to these three trends, the article lists three “key takeaways”:

1. The only way to cope with disruption is to create it.  Use Moore’s Law to your bank’s advantage, and focus on cost-cutting, while providing a simpler service to your customers.

2. You must become a media company.  Start producing tailored and relevant content that engages the hearts and minds of your customers, and that is accessible on smartphones.

3. Start data-mining with purposefully with a focus on innovative product and service innovation, and with a view to disrupting new industries by partnering with other organizations who would value from your information (check privacy regulations).

Think Thinque is exaggerating? You shouldn’t! A very informative blog post over at The Financial Brand spells out very clearly the way things are headed in “The Very Mobile Future of Banking.”  These aren’t just small potatoes, either: Commonwealth Bank, PNC, Visa, Kiwibank, ING Direct, and even the Spanish-language product BBVA Tú cuentas have made the transfer.

The trick is staying ahead of the curve.  Being on the cutting edge isn’t easy to maintain, so it’s always important to keep looking for new ways to make banking products faster, slicker, and more user-friendly.  As new products render old products useless or obsolete, however, or some companies start lagging behind, certain kinds of production or certain brands of products go extinct.  When Thinque tells you to do a “pre-mortem analysis” of your bank — that is, before it dies — what they’re really saying is that innovation can be a double-edged sword.

This post may have stressed the “creative” side of mobile banking technologies, which will in general make life more convenient for everyone. But in the next post, conversely, we’ll go over some of the unintended side effects that innovation has in the industry: the “destructive” side of the equation.

Topics: Refundo, mobile banking, banking, refundo mobile app


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