Retail Banking - 10 Years Later

By Vikas Bansal - Member of FinTech Connector / Chicago

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten” – a quote by Bill Gates is an apt statement to set the context for projecting what Retail Banking may look like in ten years! In my opinion retail banking as it exists today (including even the Digital Banking) will be largely disrupted by the coming-together of the following forces:

Source: © tuk69tuk, Adobe Stock -  FILE #:   89206560

Source: © tuk69tuk, Adobe Stock - FILE #: 89206560

1.    Demography: Millennials with their expectations and comfort with newer/digital technologies, mistrust of legacy banks – especially the large tier-1 banks, global mobility - and on-the-go lifestyle will put emphasis on an ubiquitous banking experience potentially provided by non-traditional banking companies. Digital Natives born after the turn of the century and growing up with smart phones and tablets would have entered the workforce and will demand highly sophisticated ‘gaming-like’ experiences for their banking needs – potentially giving rise to virtual personas and universal digital identity.

2.    Technology: Rapid increase in wireless bandwidth and network speeds (5g and beyond) will open new doors in digital customer experience by leveraging cloud-based quantum computing for extreme personalization and contextualization. Intelligent and voice enabled digital personal assistants with holographic projections from multiple integrated devices (personal and shared – such as smart home/office/building) will potentially become popular for interacting with and executing your banking transactions. The maturity of blockchain platforms will disintermediate several banking functions to speed up the transactions (such as real-time cross-border payments and smart contracts for real-time processing of insurance claims).

3.    Regulation: The rise and ensuing maturity of RegTech and SupTech will help reduce the regulatory burden on the banking industry by creating standardized industry utilities. Regulators will embrace more innovation in the best interest of consumers and adopt a common regulatory framework across multiple jurisdictions for facilitating a more seamless experience for highly mobile customers. There is will be increased stability and adoption of cryptocurrencies as a store of value and a means to raise capital.

4.    Community/Co-working spaces: While physical branches will not entirely go away, their numbers will reduce drastically and the role they play will evolve. The branches will become shared spaces for co-working or building and curating a community – almost like village or town squares. Imagine a shared space that has a trendy yet relaxed café atmosphere where you can talk to a small-business banking consultant, a financial advisor, a tax advisor, a home loan specialist or an insurance products specialist. It will also be a place to meet other like-minded people to do business with – local folks looking to invest in community businesses or raise money to solve local issues.

Source: © Andrey Popov, Adobe Stock -  FILE #:   109277006

Source: © Andrey Popov, Adobe Stock - FILE #: 109277006

5.    Marketplace banking: Recent rise of fintech startups and unbundling of products and solutions will give way to rebundling through aggregation and marketplace banking platforms. Just like one can select a restaurant for a meal on Yelp!, select a hotel on TripAdvisor, select a flight on Kayak or Expedia, one will be able to select a financial product or a solution for one’s need on community ratings based marketplace banking platform. FinTech-as-a-Service with pay-per-use pricing will emerge to create API based ecosystems.

The current prevalence of digital banking is largely focused on the Customer Acquisition and Customer Experience domains. In the future, this will evolve to a more holistic ‘financial wellbeing’ focus with banks potentially becoming utility players providing an infrastructure that is unburdened from legacy architecture and processes. Modern technologies and processes will remove inefficiencies from the middle and back offices. Design thinking will be used by putting customer at the centre to develop product and services for their needs. Contextualization and personalization will evolve to hyper-relevance embedded in every aspect of customer’s lifestyle. Banking will become the invisible ‘lubricant’ that will facilitate the lifestyle of the customer with convenience of digital interaction (voice and chat) and seamless integration with thousands of commercial entities, as opposed to focusing mostly on the consistent omni-channel user experience across most functions that current digital banking initiatives are striving to achieve.


Vikas Bansal is a Master Connector of today’s fastest growing global fintech network — FinTech Connector. Vikas is an alumnus of Columbia Business School and Oxford University’s SAID Business School’s FinTech Program. Vikas has successfully managed multiple consulting/outsourcing relationships as a Client Partner for various Banks and Financial Services institutions to deliver transformation projects and achieve key business objectives.