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Digital Banking Trends for 2021

Karthik Sivaprakasam

Senior Vice President
7 min Read

We are all really happy to see the end of 2020. As digital adoption grows across all areas of banking and financial activity, here are some of the top trends that we see becoming center stage in 2021

  • Onboarding becomes a must-have – 2021 is the year when fully end-to-end digital onboarding is a must-have for all banks. More than 45% of banks in US & UK already offer some form of digital account opening. It will be as ubiquitous as banks having a mobile app few years back. If you are a customer looking to open a new account, odds are you would prefer a bank with a fully digital process rather than one that forces you to visit their branch.
  • Eco-system and Super-apps – Super-apps have been common in Asia for a while now. Banks in the west will start offering such products as more and more purchasing & commerce moves to the mobile layer. There are numerous fintechs that offer innovative APIs and SDKs that let banks embed services such as payroll data, spending analysis, shopping information etc. into their banking apps.
  • Personalization – With increased competition from digital-only challenger banks with their superior user experience, we’ll see more personalized user experiences in banking apps. Data analytics and ML tools would enable banks to offer customized products and services to their Customers. This is likely to be more of an incremental change as compared to the buzz we see around AI/ML in marketing material from vendors. 
  • Digital Lending – COVID has forced banks to adopt fully digital lending processes. This would help them better compete with FinTech players in the lending space and also help struggling businesses and consumers as they come out of the lockdown. We predict banks will invest significantly in truly Digital lending products, particularly in markets like Europe and Asia where FinTech penetration is not as high as it is in the US.
  • Business Banking – Most banks have got reasonably mature apps for their consumers and have achieved a high degree of digitization in the day-to-day transactions you or I would do. However, for business customers (be it Small businesses or large Corporates), there are still opportunities to offer a better digital product. Particularly around onboarding of newer products, increased straight-through-processing of transactions with automated approvals, use of APIs to integrate with business or ERP systems with banking platforms etc. Digitizing business banking comes with the added benefit of increased revenue to banks. 

  • Cloud adoption – 2020 saw hockey-stick like growth in Cloud adoption by banks. While a majority of the banks had been slow to migrate their core digital banking apps to the cloud, partly due to concerns around security and data privacy and partly due to limitations of their legacy technology, COVID forced banks to accelerate their Cloud initiatives. We believe that in 2021 and beyond, cloud deployments will become the default with the vast majority of banks deploying new digital banking apps choosing one of the major cloud providers. Azure and AWS seems to be the most popular choices in our conversations with banks

Tell us what you think would be other interesting ideas in digital banking or what you wish your bank should offer in their app. Please write to us at marketing@i-exceed.com