Banking Turns A Corner As Physical Branches Disappear

Several digital wealth managers, including REYL co-founder and CEO François Reyl, are underscoring the push towards digital banking. For Reyl, this meant launching a new bank in the middle of a pandemic - Alpian, a purely digital wealth management platform catered specifically towards a wealthy client base.

Credit Suisse and even state-owned Postfinance are jumping on board, as new developments in AI and security measures continue to pave the path for online investments. Capco consultants Ingo Rauser and Nils Reimelt predict more and more digital projects will appear in Swiss banking, as competition continues to grow.

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The future of digital banking will rely on our devices and even voices to complete every transaction, from end-to-end. It’s the logical third step in the “online banking to mobile banking to X” progression. Not only can consumers rely on virtual assistant software like Siri to help pay monthly bills or make purchases on Amazon, but if the digital wealth managers’ visions come to fruition, soon consumers should be able to apply for loans and interact with personalized wealth management services without ever having to talk to another human.

With the global health crisis keeping people indoors, essential services like banking will need to expand the ways in which their customers can access and manage their money while sheltering at home. While many banking transactions can be done over the phone, the current situation has saturated phone lines and call centers, causing customers to spend valuable hours on hold as markets continue to fluctuate in real time.

Innovations that will place digital banking at the center of financial business strategies could soon be the norm across the board, from cryptocurrencies to private investment companies, to corporate banking. However, companies would be wise to learn from past failures, and the Swiss financial market provides an abundance of examples. Hopefully by providing a solid business model and not assuming digitization will solve all the problems of banking, banks can transition towards a primarily digital platform. While it may not be practical for their clientele to make the leap all the way to neobank, expanded options for digitalization is certainly the wave of financial institutions’ futures.