3 Trends Banks Need to Anticipate Right Now

There’s no shortage of information in the marketplace. Our clients don’t lack insights into their past and current business scenarios. More and more of them are actively pursuing relationships with firms that can help them to be proactive about looking forward. They have recognized that anticipatory insights are absolutely necessary for generating a strong opportunity pipeline as well as to predict (and prevent) problems. HORNE is that partner for many of our clients.

For our own firm and for our clients, being anticipatory is a core commitment. One of they ways we live up to our promise to be ‘a decidedly different CPA firm’ is by keeping a windshield view and steering clients through the uncertainties and opportunities so that they can build lasting relevance.

The ability to be anticipatory is a strength

Like any strength, it requires building ‘muscle.’ One way we have done that at HORNE is to look to our own strategic partnerships. We recently engaged in Daniel Burrus’ Anticipatory Organization Training.[1] Burrus defines “anticipatory” as “the ability to foresee growing problems, disruptions, customer needs and new opportunities.” In his session, we learned the difference between hard and soft trends and how to identify each.

Soft trends as projections are based on statistics that have the appearance of being tangible, fully predictable facts. Hard trends, on the other hand, are things that will happen – they are fully predictable. By identifying and acknowledging hard trends, we gain insight on how to be relevant in the future. Burrus identifies three hard trends – technology, demographics, and regulatory. The HORNE team has explored these hard trends and how they affect our workplace and our clients. With them in mind, we work to learn new skills and identify ways to serve our clients in a truly productive, anticipatory manner.

Anticipatory thinking for banks

As we consider the future of the banking industry, we see that staying relevant will require a shift in the customer service mindset. Accomplishing that change will engage all three hard trends.

Technology:  It seems like change and progress are accelerating with each passing second. Almost as fast as we learn about or adapt to a new technology, we’re faced with a new one. Consider that online banking emerged in just before 2000, which fundamentally changed the banking industry by introducing multiple channels. Mobile banking followed closely behind around 2007. Online and mobile bank activity rapidly surpassed branch, and omnichannel banking has since become the ‘new normal.’ In short, your customers can accomplish more of their banking from a mobile device than ever before, which in turn requires greater security, greater access, greater speed, and more demand. Banks that have anticipated and prepared for these demands will be positioned to engage the technologies – rather than have them inflicted on them.

Demographics:   Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day. That means that your workforce is getting younger at a breakneck speed. As the older workforce retires, they take decades of knowledge with them. Without a plan for a comprehensive knowledge transfer within banks, business survival is unlikely. Add to that, the workforce isn’t just evolving generationally; it is also becoming more diverse from a gender and ethnicity standpoint. All of these changes are bringing about new expectations about the workplace, information sharing knowledge, and even compensation. Your bank has to be thinking about everything from succession planning, to HR structures, to team culture.

Regulatory:  In the past few years, it seems like the only thing changing faster than technology is regulation. And it every new regulation impacts your bank. It could be an audit standard, a tax law, or an industry standard. Your business must be in compliance with all of these regulations to stay operational. The rate at which regulations are released will only continue to increase. You absolutely must learn how to comply with these regulations in order to stay relevant.

There’s no doubt that the banking landscape is changing in a number of ways. It’s impossible to address all of them. By focusing your attention and efforts on the three hard trends of technology, demographics, and regulatory, your bank has a good chance of being able to build strategy that will position you to move into the coming years with confidence. HORNE is here to help. We don’t have a crystal ball, but we do have a clear windshield view. We can help you look forward and make sense of the landscape ahead.


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[1] Burrus Research

Topics: Bank Trends, Trends, Anticipatory

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