Investing in digital account opening, mobile-banking applications, and customer-relationship applications are among bankers’ priorities for digital services in 2021, says a report from Computer Services Inc., a provider of cloud-based financial-services technology.
Enabling consumers to open accounts digitally, even after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, was cited as a top priority by 59% of the bankers surveyed.
“Even when the pandemic is stabilized and branches fully re-open, you still need to give customers the ability to open accounts solely through digital means without calling or visiting a branch,” the report says.
Providing mobile-banking apps was listed as a priority by 45% of respondents, while implementing customer relationship management applications was cited by 43%. Respondents could list more than one priority.
Paducah, Ky.-based CSI, which has conducted the survey for six consecutive years, received responses from 272 bankers in the United States, a 20% increase from last year’s canvass. Respondents ranged in size from less than $100 million to greater than $1 billion in assets.
When it comes to payments, person-to-person and real-time payments rank high on bankers to-do list for the year, with 33% of bankers saying they plan to prioritize P2P payments and 23% saying they plan to do likewise for real-time payments.
Among the reasons, according to the report, are that “P2P is crucial to meeting customer expectations and avoiding lost relationships to third-party providers like Venmo,” and that, when it comes to speed of payment, consumers “want near-instant payment capability.”
Other priorities cited include data analytics and reporting (37%), in-branch technologies (32%), implementation of online chat/ video bots (28%), and digital statements (14%).
Improved cybersecurity also remains a priority, with 80% of respondents citing improved defenses against social-engineering attacks—which are designed to persuade consumers to divulge personal and account information—as the top cybersecurity threat in the coming year. Those threats include both customer-targeted phishing attacks (34%) and employee-targeted phishing attacks (32%).
Although bankers recognize the need to create stronger cybersecurity defenses, just 9% of respondents identified ransomware as the top threat, despite reports of increased ransomware attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, bankers gave themselves a rating of 3.8 out of five when it comes to successfully implementing digital-services strategies. Indeed, 23% gave themselves a “C” for their efforts, while 27% said their performance to date was exceptional.