Jakarta Post

What’s Next for Banks?

What’s Next for Banks?

To thrive in the digital age, banks should define an overall desired endgame.

  • min read


What’s Next for Banks?

This article originally appeared in the Jakarta Post.

Eight years after the financial crisis, retail banks are still struggling to function as thriving, profitable businesses with clear, focused strategies. Most are a long way from achieving the return-on-equity levels they produced prior to the crisis.

On top of the macro challenges—tougher regulations, near-zero interest rates and persistently sluggish economic growth—they must figure out what to do about a whole new class of competitors: financial technology (fintech) upstarts brandishing an array of disruptive technologies.

Many retail banks have chosen to fend off these new rivals by taking an “all of the above” approach to strategy. They’re building digital platforms in their core businesses and setting up separate units, sometimes creating niche payment apps, for example, that could be years away from consumer adoption. At the same time, banks are taking stakes in a wide range of fintech companies, hoping to back potential winners.

Having such a diverse set of activities means that banks are not making necessary strategic tradeoffs. Also, by worrying about fintechs, banks may be taking their eyes off a larger threat: major technology firms, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. These companies have begun to provide bank-like services to their massive networks of users.

Read more at the Jakarta Post.

Joe Fielding and Edy Widjaja are partners with Bain & Company.


Ready to talk?

We work with ambitious leaders who want to define the future, not hide from it. Together, we achieve extraordinary outcomes.