Helpful Banking

 

What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word banking?  Might not be broadcastable. Your thoughts might be based on your own experience or that of someone you know.  Do you think of the word 'helpful' when you think of banking?

Let’s face it, we know that banks and banking are essential.  But when you think that the average person spends more time each day checking Instagram than they spend each month considering their finances, it’s time for someone to recognise that we could all do with some help with our money and money management.

Traditional banking vs branchless

Our view of traditional banking, where there was a bank in every town, and the manager knew all of her customers and their spending habits personally is much overplayed.  It’s a memory which is real for only the minority now. And let’s be honest, in a world where we’d prefer to queue to use a self-service checkout in a supermarket than be served by a cashier, there’s no chance of ‘old fashioned’ banking returning anytime soon.

Atom Bank, Starling Bank and Monzo have combined always-on mobile connectivity with exceptional user experiences to end the debate about whether customers will trust a bank without a branch network.  Nonetheless, the old-fashioned banking model makes as much sense today as it did way-back-when because technology can actually enhance the model.

In the old days, your bank manager had two tools at her disposal: data and autonomy.  When you needed a loan for a car, the bank manager might decline because she’d seen you sitting in the window of the betting shop twice a week for the last two months (er, probably, and not based on any personal experience).  She might suggest a savings plan and a modification in your behaviour to help you to achieve your goal in simple steps. And this was helpful. Helpful to the customer and helpful to the bank in terms of repayment and profit.

Data-driven help

And banks in 2018 have more data than they know what to do with.  They can help us by building amazing personalised user experiences, incorporate cutting-edge technology (like artificial intelligence and aggregation services) into their products to help us to make better decisions immediately on the devices in our hands.

The world is changing faster than ever.  It used to be that we worked towards an age at which we’d retire from work.  Not anymore. Now we need help to understand at what income we’d like to retire and to get help working out how we’re going to get there.

Our life goals are motivated by experience.  We want to do and own amazing things, show them to the world on Facebook, but need help to work out how to afford these without compromising on the essentials.

Our children need help to understand how to pay for their education and whether a loan is going to be an investment in their future or a millstone around their neck.

And, if you’ve applied for a mortgage lately you’ll know that you need to show what you’re spending your money on (as well as provide your height, weight, inside leg measurement and the first time you were allowed out in the rain on your own) and you need help to work this out.

Helpfulness is the key.  Banks that build helpful tools and amazing digital experiences will win.

Help is at hand

At Chelsea Apps Factory, we help ambitious brands create people-first digital products that deliver, and disrupt.  We’ve got a group of the best strategists, experience-led designers and developers in the UK waiting to help you. Let’s meet up, have a cup of tea, a Tunnocks and a chat.

 
Martin Boyle