Banking, Innovation

How LEVERIS imagines a better bank

Aoife Loy
Aoife Loy
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What’s this all about?

There’s a lot of value tucked away in banks. But with increasing competition from fintechs and demands from tech-native customers, it’s never been clearer that technology is failing the industry. For those that remain stuck in the past, the clock is ticking on their relevance to their customers. Here are five beliefs behind our approach to building better banks.

Read on if you:

  • Are launching a digital bank
  • Are considering modernising your bank 
  • Are curious about the LEVERIS philosophy

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. This has become habitual for financial institutions that, for hundreds of years, had no need to change their ways. Now, however, new technology is forcing their hand.

At LEVERIS, we’ve made it our mission to help tackle this issue by taking a radically different approach to how we build banks.

Customers want more control over their finances; they want convenience and the value-added service they’re accustomed to getting from data-focused technology companies. They’ve become increasingly detached, both emotionally and physically, from how banks work.

It's a minute to midnight

Banks are scrambling to have some sort of relevance to their customers. Right now, though, the financial technology sector is teeming with challenger brands and new arrivals. The newcomers are shouting that the old ways are dead. The new leap forward is data-driven! Reward-based! Easy-to-use financial services for all! On every single device!

In reality, the big picture is more complex and organic. 

We at LEVERIS believe that it will be a combination of old and new that moves society and the financial services sector forward – mostly though, it will be the new.

Good, old-fashioned customer service will never go out of style. But the possibility of creating genuinely new products and services, based on the customer’s unique profile, is exciting. Add a brilliantly constructed online service, imagined and engineered with the fewest number of obstacles and a great experience for customers, et voilà! The bank of the future has already arrived. 

The underpinning technology, however, must be architected in a way that allows it to be delivered without, well, breaking the bank. Here are five beliefs we have that inform our approach to building a bank.

Five things we believe

1. The more ‘things’ you have, the harder it is to step away from them.

This issue makes life difficult for traditional banks. They’re hoarders at heart. And while there’s some valuable stuff in the old bank vault, what’s needed is a fresh chance to connect with new customers where they are: online. 

Young customers don’t own CDs. They don’t expect to print off vouchers, boarding passes or tickets. In comparison with their parents, they have a much weaker connection to physical money. Banks are ideally positioned to offer them enhanced experiences that are far more valuable than an ATM. 

Complexity can obstruct what’s truly important: customer-centricity.

2. Brilliant customer service will always win loyalty.

Nothing new there. What has changed dramatically though is the way service is delivered. The mobile phone generation has come of age and soon the smartphone generation will follow. Financial services need to be omnipresent 24/7/365.

New products should offer exciting possibilities. Rewards should be built around each customer’s behaviour. Customer support should be first-class. It just doesn’t have to be served through a glass partition anymore.

3. Plain talk works best.

Every sector has its jargon which is often necessary and useful to insiders in that industry. But if you let it slip into your communications with non-insiders, it’s so much harder for meaningful customer relationships to blossom. Anyone who’s ever filled out a mortgage application on paper, or struggled with a tax form (i.e. most of us) can understand this pain. 

If we allow jargon to come between us and our customers, then we are failing. Plain talk goes a long way to getting things done and promoting an environment of trust. As Grandma LEVERIS always says: “Why use a big word when a simple alternative can suffice?”

4. The power to delight is in the data.

Banks have always sat on an Everest-sized mound of data, mostly untapped. Technology has reached the point where this data can be used to minutely understand customer behaviours, anticipate what they want, what they need, and deliver it before they’ve even gotten around to asking. 

If you know that Tanya likes to go to music festivals three times a year, why not give her the feelgoods with a little ‘Just for Tanya’ cross-promotion, like 50 per cent off camping gear as festival time approaches?

5. People don’t want quarter-inch drill bits; they want quarter-inch holes.

Drill bits?

This is a classic marketing insight. In short, it means: know your customer. Think like them and see the problem or opportunity from their perspective. Let’s not assume that customers will love our product as much as we do. But if it does what they want, with the least hassle possible, they’ll love that.

Create your product or service from that point of view and you’ll have the opportunity to foster a lasting relationship and be on hand with a great service or offering for every stage of the customer lifecycle.

What’s the bottom line?

As we’ve written elsewhere on the blog, legacy systems are typically product- rather than customer-focused. For those that remain fettered to them, it’s a tall order to build a bank that is future-proof, ready to meet the demands of customers raised on Netflix and smartphones that open with a glance at the camera. The level of resources needed to achieve such a reality would undoubtedly be extreme.

It’s little wonder that so many banks choose to do nothing but ‘wait and see’. 

That’s becoming increasingly unfeasible, however. A bank’s ability to react to the market is only going to get more crucial as the next generation of users and fintechs start disrupting the new normal. 

Time is ticking. A traditional bank is constrained by its outdated technology. A digital bank is only constrained by its imagination.

At LEVERIS, we’ve imagined a better way to build a digital bank. A better way to start again.

Aoife Loy
Aoife Loy
Aoife is Lead Content Marketer at LEVERIS. She writes about our mission and approach to technological innovation.
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