Digitization: beyond slogans


Customer behavior

The COVID crisis has already affected customer behavior. According to Deloitte, after the crisis banks will become less physical and more digital. Many branches will stay closed, only the strategic ones are to survive. Since the epidemic will last longer than it was previously expected, customers are going to have time to change their habits. Thus, the user experience of banking applications will play a significant role in the market. Mobile or desktop applications are going to become the first touchpoint with banks. For this reason, running all the processes through digital channels is not optional anymore.

Challenges and opportunities

Banks need to be prepared for selling, upselling, and cross-selling every product and service online. Closing branches will bring savings, but only the most elastic and technologically advanced banks are poised to win in the new, post-crisis era. The right software might be a key to success. That, plus finding new income sources. One of the possible options is e-commerce, growing massively during the pandemic. Banks have a space to grow here, by offering financing products to buyers or payment services to sellers.

Time to market

The whole banking sector had to become digital overnight. That’s why the time-to-market of digital solutions is more important than it was in the pre-pandemic world. Sometimes it’s faster to deploy a new feature developed in-house by the bank or just integrate an existing module from a 3rd party vendor. And so the open solutions win big right now. Adding modules to a system, or removing them, should be as easy as downloading apps from an app store. Also, the authentication of new customers during the pandemic is the biggest challenge. Fully digital onboarding including KYC might be the most anticipated product in the market right now.

Internal organization

In the pre-pandemic world, banks were working on adjusting to regulatory needs, launching new products, or maintaining their systems. In the blink of an eye, priorities have changed drastically. This is where the Agile methodology comes in: the flexibility in deciding on what to work on next. That’s what both banks, and their vendors need to go with.

The benefit is, banks will be more elastic and resistant to unexpected circumstances after the pandemic. More bank employees will probably work from homes as it saves costs of commute and office rent.


Banks across the world have suffered from higher demand for cash during the COVID pandemic. An increase in the demand hit ATMs in the most popular locations. Some of the machines became out of cash for a while which caused panic. To avoid this, banks need to build trust that all services are available 24/7 and encourage customers to use cashless payments. But the promotion of those payments cannot be done just by one bank. All banks should cooperate in order to educate their customers in this area.