By Nick Nesbitt, consulting services director at Tagetik UK.
Millennials are the largest emerging market globally and the largest source of wealth ever. By 2018 this demographic will have combined, projected annual earnings of $3.4 trillion and by 2025 it will account for 75% of the workforce.
The majority of them however do not seem to like traditional banking and this is a big problem for banks. According to research carried out by Scratch, 71% would rather see a dentist, 80% have no retirement account, 73% favour financial technology alternatives and 33% believe they won’t need a bank in the future.
So now is the time for the banking sector to develop a new strategy to cater to this unique generation and learn how finance can build a ‘millennial-ready’ planning model. And investment in the right reporting, planning and forecasting technology should be part of the strategy.
When planning for this demographic, the five key questions for banks are:
1. How are we budgeting for digitisation?
2. Can we monitor, model and forecast the P&L?
3. Can we protect the balance sheet impact of declining service fees on non-interest revenues?
4. Can we analyse customer-level profitability?
5. Last, but not least, how agile is our planning system and do we get detail-level results in real-time?
There is so much more to digital innovation than simply launching a banking mobile application – it’s a revolution with a race to deliver the best technology in the market. This transition is needed to save costs and to attract – but also retain – new customers.
But how can finance help banks address this paradigm shift?
As investment is needed to develop and maintain this transition, profitability analysis is crucial to understand what the impact is in the short run, and the expected return in the future. Analysing profitability allows you to assess these impacts down to branch, instrument and customer level.
Cost allocation is also necessary to understand the impact of these changes. A system that can quickly and easily perform complex allocations at multiple levels and in multiple currencies is essential. Digital-savvy banks have re-allocated funds from cost cutting measures, such as reducing the number of local and neighbourhood branch operations, to budget for digital banking.
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Competition from fintech
Fintech is a huge threat to banks. It is forecast that there will be a total of $4.6 trillion projected revenue losses from banks to fintech in the coming years and, according to FastCompany.com, 73% of millennials are more interested in financial services from Google, Amazon, Apple, PayPal or Square than in a traditional banking model.
So how can finance help banks compete with the growing competition from fintech?
As millennials become a larger part of the population, banks can no longer deny that they’ll need to figure out a way to appeal to customers within this demographic.
Only last year, large national and regional banks lost 16% of account holders aged 18 to 34.
It is important for banks to be able to predict the future by leveraging software to project future returns and losses and foresee how changes to your customer base will affect your balance sheet.
Cash flow management is also key, and it should be based on forecasting the existing balance sheet portfolio – even down to the instrument level. You need to be able to see the latest in real-time so you can assess impacts as they happen and minimise risk.
360⁰ customer view
With the disruptors hitting the banking industry, information is no longer enough. It’s insights that will ensure the resilience of the bottom line.
How does finance deliver insight?
There are a number of ways finance can ensure banks achieve a 360⁰ view of their customers by adopting the right technology. For starters, a single source of corporate performance data gives decision makers access to self-service analytics. Dashboarding also leads to better, more responsive decisions through the visualisation of information. Choosing and tracking the right KPIs in real-time lays the foundation for agile performance management. Finally, making analytics readily accessible to all keeps everyone in sync on the bank’s performance, empowering business users to actively participate and contribute to discussion.
New value-added services
For a while now banks have been shifting from service fees to offering value-added services at branch level, transforming local branch operations into full-service ‘experience’ centres – similar to Apple stores and Apple Genius. For the finance function, this translates into integrated sales, workforce and capital plans to devise new services and understand the impact of declining service fees.
How can finance help move away from service fees?
You will need to seamlessly incorporate branch, sales and expense planning from commercial operations to create long-range plans for the future. You will also need to effectively manage and control workflow and the planning process across multiple departments within the organisation. Finally, you should carry out test scenarios to better define key business drivers and operating assumptions using driver rate and multi-rate driven scenarios. You will then be in a position to model the impact of changes on everything, from P&L to balance sheet and cash flow and you will also be able to compare results to determine the best business outcome.
A modernised planning process
While millennials disrupt the existing business model, the role of finance is elevated as planners become strategic advisors and partners to the rest of the organisation. This requires a tactical and financial planning solution that aligns the finance function with both commercial and shared service operations.
But how does a modern system enable finance to lead the way?
Firstly, plan to a great level of detail at customer, branch and/or instrument level. Having a single, unified source of data for all strategic and financial planning activities ensures fast and reliable information for better decision making. Also, scenario planning is critical to understanding the impact of new products, pricing and volumes and balance sheet planning is necessary to understand the impact of declining service fees on non-interest revenue.
When Scratch polled 10,000 millennials, not only did banks make up 4 of their top 10 most hated brands but they were increasingly being viewed as irrelevant financial institutions.
Perception needs to change, trust re-gained and reputation re-built. With so many options for budgeting and planning systems, it is important to know what features are needed for the banking industry. This means investing now in the right technology to cater for generation Y, this all too important demographic, or risk the ongoing reduction of both customer base and profitability.