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Retail banking 'to undergo major changes'

24/03/14

The coming years are set to see major developments in retail banking across the globe, according to the latest report from consultancy firm PwC.

In what will be good news for anyone currently working in the sector, the organisation dismissed scaremongering about the future of traditional retail financial services, but suggested that the industry will need to make changes if it is to work with a new generation of business and personal customers.

Over the period up to 2020, banks will need to become "agile" and capable of shifting their approach rapidly in line with changes in the business and economic environment, the study suggested.

The top three challenges facing European institutions in the future were delineated as dealing with regulatory compliance, attracting new customers and recovering the trust of the public following a series of morale-sapping issues over mis-selling scandals and lack of accountability.

With this in mind, firms are keen to adopt consumer-focused business models and obtain an information advantage over their counterparts. However, a host of challenges are making embracing this kind of change difficult, even for the biggest players in the market.

Despite broad agreement about how to proceed, only 20 per cent of the executives surveyed by PwC felt they were well-prepared to action these insights over the coming years.

According to the study, banks are being hindered by a lack of talent, insufficiently advanced technology and organisational constraints. If they are to develop their position, they need to take aggressive action to address these defects, PwC claimed.

Furthermore, financial institutions will need to have a clear conception of their plans for the future if they are not to be left behind by more savvy counterparts, particularly as the retail banking environment continues to undergo major cultural shifts.

Although it is difficult to assess what this might mean for job seekers in the banking sector, it seems clear that they will need to develop their skills if they are to fit into new ways of working.

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