In less than 12 months, Covid-19 drove levels of digital adoption in banking that was projected to take five years. And as the pandemic has forced customer habits to shift and depend on digital access, banks are required to be agile and adapt to change now more than ever. Adding to the mounting pressure on banks, competition around them is increasing, too.

So why are some banks applying old ways of thinking to new ways of banking?

Frank Uittenbogaard, Regional VP, Europe, at digital banking platform provider Backbase tells RBI:” To survive, the onus is on banks to ensure their front-end engagement is phenomenal and that they prioritise digital customer experiences in order to keep these relationships alive.

Culture remains an issue at many lenders

“The pandemic has upended the entire banking ecosystem, the challenges it has posed for banks, and what banks can do to catch up and stay ahead of the curve.” He says that it is more important than ever that banks offer personalised and targeted messaging, as well as digital self-serve capabilities. Moreover, culture remains an issue at lenders that continue to adhere to outdated ways of conducting business.

Uittenbogaard adds: “We work with more than 150 banks around the world and we see a huge difference from bank to bank. Covid is showing who are the winners and those who are left some way behind.

“Banks need to give a world class digital service, not just for their clients but also for their staff. A lot of banks have apps in the app store that are close to five-star standard but their advisers also need to enjoy a five-star service. Not all banks that we see are catering for the needs of the employees.

User experience starts with the engagement layer

For customers, the user experience needs to be as good as using Netflix. If you use Netflix on the train, pause a film and then switch on your smart tv, the film picks up where you left it on the train-it is that seamless. Banking needs to be like that, where the customer does not have to do anything.

“The most important thing is the user experience and that starts with the engagement layer. We have invested a huge amount of effort in engagement banking platforms.

“There remains a need for many banks to undergo a mindset shift. Digital is not just about technology, it also includes culture, people, meetings. There is so much more that is possible than just a few years ago.”

Frank Uittenbogaard, Regional VP, Europe, Backbase speaks with RBI editor Douglas Blakey