Maureen Burns: How Big Tech Could Upend Banking

More big technology companies are offering financial products, creating a challenge for retail banks. Maureen Burns, a partner in the Financial Services practice, discusses how banks can remain competitive by boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty through digital channels.

Read the Bain report: Evolving the Customer Experience in Banking

Read the transcript below.

MAUREEN BURNS: Retail banks are really facing an increasing threat from being upended by technology firms. Traditionally, we talked about fintech as potentially being a real threat to banks, but the reality is it's more likely to be the bigger technology firms like Google and Amazon. When you think about that, there's already been some moves by these players. Amazon Cash allows customers to go to retail locations, load up their Amazon account with cash, and use it to pay for transactions. Amazon has also gotten into lending to some of its smaller merchants.

When you think about the consumer side of things, we've also seen a number of things change. When we used to ask consumers about who they trusted with their money, whether it was comparing a bank to a fintech firm or a large tech firm, there was the wide gap between how they felt about those firms' ability to handle their money versus banks. We've now seen that gap really narrow.

And when you ask consumers about how they feel about their bank's digital channels today, many of them aren't satisfied. This presents a real threat. Banks have to really be thoughtful about how they invest to build up these digital channels and how they migrate their customers to use them, because when they do that, they get a double benefit.

They get higher NPS, because customers generally rate their bank's mobile and digital apps higher than they do an in-branch experience, while they're able to take out the costs. So migrating those routine transactions saves a lot of the cost that is typically tied up in a branch. It's really important that banks invest to do this because if not, as we get into players like Amazon, or Google, or other big tech firms thinking about going deeper into banking, they're going to face a real threat from their customers who are increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional experience.

Read the Bain report: Evolving the Customer Experience in Banking