How financial institutions are accelerating the journey to digital-first banking

Published November 25, 2020

 

Across all segments, financial institutions are looking for ways to transform and differentiate their capabilities to provide the best possible experience for their customers. So, they’re looking for new ways to drive efficiency, scale and modernize their operating models. And, by accelerating their digital transformation, they can boost profits and give their customers the banking experience they prefer.

But what exactly is digital-first banking?


Digital-first banking means finding the best ways to serve today’s customers who increasingly start their banking experiences in a digital channel, whether online or mobile. It’s about connecting digital to physical experiences. More precisely, it’s integrating physical channels like ATMs, tellers and branches with digital channels, so the end-to-end customer journey is connected into one great customer experience no matter when, where or how it happens.

Often, it involves customers starting an engagement on a mobile device, for example, and finishing it in a physical space. Here are a few common digital-first use examples:

  • A customer uses her mobile app to pre-order a cash withdrawal. When she pulls up to the ATM, she authenticates, receives her physical cash and gets a digital receipt sent to her phone.
  • A business owner preorders cash and coin from a mobile app, then picks up the money at a physical bank branch.
  • A customer uses online banking to pre-schedule an appointment with a financial advisor. He shows up at the branch at his scheduled time, meets with the advisor and gets the answers and guidance he needs.

Where are we today?


This year has required a radical shift in how FIs adapt to meeting their customers’ needs when major, rare challenges arise. And, because consumers and businesses have experienced extraordinary demands and financial hardships, the need for loans and liquidity has increased to help keep businesses going.

All of this has pushed FIs to make the right operational changes—like having some of their onsite employees work from home as centralized locations and branches have shut down, temporarily closed or partially remain open. But more than that, FIs are facing an urgent need to upgrade their digital operations to meet the surging demand for digital banking.

“In 2020, we’ve seen a dramatic change in our clients—banks and credit unions—and their customers’ expectations around great customer experience, and in particular, digitally-led experiences,” said Doug Brown, SVP and GM of NCR Digital Banking.

And today that means more than just offering a great digital experience. It means looking for ways to bring digital and physical experiences together so FIs can meet their customers in their exact moment of need, and in a way that recognizes and follows the customer across channels and experiences.

“In 2020, we’ve seen a dramatic change in our clients—banks and credit unions—and their customers’ expectations around great customer experience, and in particular, digitally-led experiences.” — Doug Brown, SVP and GM, NCR Digital Banking

What’s driving the accelerated need for change?


The demand for digital-first banking is linked to what consumers have come to expect across other industries, retail and hospitality are prime examples. From large grocery store chains to small family-owned or independent stores, many businesses are using digital preordering and payment with the physical activity of delivery or pickup.

And there’s the same consumer dynamic in the FI industry. But in banking, FIs have built up infrastructures in silos that were historically designed to optimize engagement in an individual channel. A decade ago, that was the best-in-class, channel-specific solution that served the banking industry well. And these siloed infrastructures have been historically good at delivering business benefits for individual channels.

But as digital enablement has taken off, those siloed infrastructures have become antiquated and outdated for driving value within the FI and delivering optimal customer service. Now, FIs must evaluate how historically siloed processes, capabilities and technologies can instead create open capabilities for other channels to leverage across the organization.

At CBA LIVE 2020, Terry Duffy, GM of NCR Banking Software, stated, “[It’s about] de-channeling the channel. How do we take what has traditionally been a channel-specific experience and really make it a ubiquitous experience for banking clients, and ultimately a ubiquitous technology that we provide to the industry?”

How do we bring it all together?


Digital has become the preferred starting point—the front door—for many FI consumer engagements. In addition to online and mobile banking, the industry has also seen explosive growth in the use of interactive teller machines (ITMs). Using integrated video- and digital-based technologies has allowed FIs to expand their physical footprint and offer their customers alternatives when branch services weren’t available.

"[It’s about] de-channeling the channel. How do we take what has traditionally been a channel-specific experience and really make it a ubiquitous experience for banking clients, and ultimately a ubiquitous technology that we provide to the industry?” Terry Duffy, GM of NCR Banking Software

Digital-first banking is a journey—it doesn’t happen overnight. But an open, digital-first banking platform can help FIs get on the right path to optimizing experiences and achieving operational efficiency.

And every FI will have different business drivers and needs at any given time. The advantage of NCR’s digital-first platform is that it allows FIs to get on a digital-first path however they like—they choose their on-ramp. Their journey may start with a digital banking project, for example. Then NCR’s digital-first platform helps you expand your digital capabilities and easily integrate them into the ATM or branch and teller channel down the road. The first step is up to the you—but NCR’s digital-first platform provides the foundation for growth and innovation. Learn how Stockman Bank multiplied their digital banking and mobile app users by implementing a new digital banking solution.

Want to learn more?


Watch the CBA LIVE 2020 session featuring Doug Brown, senior vice president and general manager of NCR Digital Banking, and Terry Duffy, general manager of NCR Banking Software, as they discuss digital-first banking. You’ll learn how NCR’s experience and knowledge in the digital, ATM and ITM space uniquely position NCR to help FIs achieve an industry-leading, digital-first banking experience.

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