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Will bankers ever catch a break?

Is it just me or does it seem like bankers can never get a break?

I mean, we just survived — more or less — a global pandemic.  We managed to get through the “innovate now or die” age of the must-have “digital transformation” … some more thoroughly, gracefully, and painlessly than others, but we got through it nonetheless. We’ve survived the IRS, the USPS, and the U.S. Congress (in this instance for actions they’ve both taken and not taken). New regulations, real and proposed — all of which involve placing additional burdens on bank resources, both human and financial — seem to be around every corner. Did I leave anything out? Probably. It’s impossible to keep track. 

In short, ever feel like you’re being constantly harassed?  If you do, I certainly understand. That’s because it seems to me that whatever banks do simply isn’t enough.

I got a bit fired up on the subject when I came across Forrester’s 2023 predictions for retail banking. Here’s just one cheery tidbit from the November 2022 report:

“After an already turbulent year, banks are bracing for tougher economic conditions and a possible global recession in 2023. Inflation has hit 40-year highs, interest rates are rising, yield curves are inverting, and the war in Ukraine continues.”1

If that doesn’t warm your heart, there’s more… much more. How about Forrester’s prediction that Apple will “win deposits by capitalizing on the declining trust in banks”? Using their partnership with Goldman, you can (according to Forrester, anyway) look forward to Apple wresting the high-yield savings account business away from banks because, well, to put it bluntly, folks trust Apple and they don’t trust banks.

What else? Oh, a shortage of IT professionals. So, be prepared. Perhaps you might consider having some of your marketing professionals take a Google code writing course. Sorry, it’s really not funny, is it? Forrester says that “before the war in Ukraine, over 70% of business and technology banking professionals reported their organization would maintain or increase investment in banking, lending, and digital engagement platforms. But these plans are being derailed again; cost-cutting has become a priority for 73% of financial services firms. In 2023, the dire economic situation will force many banks to further reduce the IT spend allocated to transforming their applications and infrastructure.” At the same time, says Forrester, “banks will need modern cores that provide information in real time and allow them to configure products and services flexibly or rapidly — or lose out to more agile competitors.” I’m not an IT guy, but how do you do both? I.e., reduce your tech spend and modernize your core?

But, wait! There is a glimmer of hope for banks in the coming year. Green loans. Or is it really?  “Green loans will double from 2021 to reach $270 billion, supported by governments’ provision of low-cost financing for green technology and emission reduction projects such as the Inflation Reduction Act in the US. We will also see at least 100 banks globally launch carbon trackers, offering customers insights into their transaction-linked CO2 footprint. Banks should avoid these, as they will be a wasted effort; trackers will fail to make a material contribution to financial services firms’ climate-related goals.” Well, I guess this is good news… but only if you’re not one of the 100 banks that will, apparently, be wasting their effort.

Sad to say, it seems like bankers must resign themselves to a lifetime of bad news. Like the old McDonald’s tagline says, “you deserve a break today.” You do. So, hang in there. I truly believe that what awaits us around the corner is what we believe awaits us, so let's look forward to better times and be thankful for, and proud of, what we've accomplished thus far. Granted, Bankmarketingcenter.com can’t help you with transforming your core or convincing the administration that sharing your customer information with the IRS is a bad idea, but we can help you with building your brand, your consumer trust, and your bottom line. Hopefully, that’s a bit of much-needed good news at a time when, unfortunately, good news for bankers seems to be in woefully short supply.  As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

About Bank Marketing Center 

Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you with that topical, compelling communication with customers; the messaging — developed by banking industry marketing professionals, well trained in the thinking behind effective marketing communication — that will help you build trust, relationships, and revenue. In short, build your brand. 

To view our marketing creative, both print and digital – ranging from product and brand ads to social media and in branch signage – visit bankmarketingcenter.com.  You can also contact me directly by phone at 678-528-6688 or via email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com

1Forrester. November 31, 2022. “Predictions 2023: Banking”

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