Traditionally, financial services hinge on the understanding that only the establishment can be trusted to protect what is most dear to people. But as technology improves, attitudes too are developing. The changes afoot are designed to break up the control of a few financial institutions and give greater choice to the consumer, with financial inclusion for those who currently are not eligible for banking products.
Alternative banking is an obvious example. Following the 2008 financial crisis, the Bank of England set out its simplified process for opening new banks, lowering capital requirements and inviting new ideas to challenge the ‘big six’.
The new banks could build their technologies from the ground up, bypassing legacy systems and costly high street branches. New providers emerged from 2015 led by Atom bank offering mobile-first digital experiences with features like real-time balances, detailed spending breakdowns, biometric security, subsidised foreign exchange charges and simplified money transfers.
The brands too could start afresh from the reputational calamity of the financial crisis. Banking even became cool with reports of Monzo being used as a chat up line in London’s bars and clubs.
There’s a social good here too; millennials, the first demographic destined to be poorer than their parents, are now better equipped to manage their money. True, this isn’t banking’s ‘Uber moment’: the scale of disruption simply isn’t comparable – but it does demonstrate that trust can be established, if only you have the tech to woo people.