Mentions of digitalisation within the filings of companies in the retail banking industry fell 27% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to digitalisation during 2021 was 294% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When retail banking companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Digitalisation is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether digitalisation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of retail banking companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned digitalisation at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 84% compared to 59% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalisation.
Of the 10 biggest employers in the retail banking industry, SBI was the company which referred to digitalisation the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 127 digitalisation-related sentences in the India-based company's filings - 2.2% of all sentences. Sberbank mentioned digitalisation the second most - the issue was referred to in 1.6% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalisation mentions included ABC, CCBC and ICBC.
Across all retail banking companies the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on digitalisation came from Banco Santander. Of the document's 1,123 sentences, 74 (6.6%) referred to digitalisation.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalization and how important the issue is considered within the retail banking industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning digitalisation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into digitalisation have been successes or failures.
In the last quarter, retail banking companies based in Eastern Europe were most likely to mention digitalisation with 1.51% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in the United States mentioned digitalisation in just 0.29% of sentences.