How to Boost Digital Banking Amid Coronavirus

RASHMI SINGH | April 4, 2020

article image

Banks have an Essential Role to Play as Systemic Stabilizers.

COVID 19 has created disruptive economic fallout within human society across all religions/races/geographies/countries/continents. The path ahead is hence a dangerous one, driven by epidemiological uncertainty.

While this situation is occurring for the first time in human history, this has also been an eye-opener to have a more comprehensive look at the way we operate. The footfalls of branch banking have decreased to a large extent, and banks have urged customers to use digital channels.

Table of Contents

COVID 19- An Accelerant to Digital Transformation
How to Increase Digital Banking Adoption
- Start with a comprehensive plan
- Keep employees morale up to get back on solid ground
- Leverage digital and traditional channels
- Enable Seamless Customer Experience

COVID 19- An Accelerant to Digital Transformation

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is indirectly promoting digital transformation, as many service providers, including banks, have significantly decreased or even closed their offline services, asking their customers to adopt the digital banking for any assistance. This trend is resulting in speeding up digital transformation. But, the question here is, are customers ready for this drastic change?
Yes, slowly yet firmly, Banks are witnessing customers picking up services that have distinguished digital capabilities. The mechanics of customer interaction has quickly shifted from physical handshakes to virtual communication over personal & extensive digital channels.
Learn more:
Consultant McKinsey & Co, in an article titled Leadership in the time of coronavirus: COVID-19 response and implications for the banks, reports that Banks have already taken a series of actions in reaction to the spread of COVID-19. Common steps we’ve seen include establishing a central task force, curtailing travel, suspending large-scale gatherings, segregating teams, making arrangements for teleworking, and refreshing external-vendor-interaction policies. It also highlights some of the fundamental changes banking organizations are going to need to make in the way they do business.


Workplace dynamics and talent management, already evolving in a digitizing world, maybe durably changed after an extended period of remote working,” it says. “Likewise, customer routines and expectations may also shift further in meaningful proportions, both in terms of digital adaptation and the expectation for proactive communication and care.

How to Increase Digital Banking Adoption

Digital is not a destination but it's a journey with more and more innovations and discoveries happening across multiple industries. But with COVID 19, it is a forced change for human society to adapt to a digital and contactless mechanism for business transactions between individuals or companies across the border (B2B, B2C, B2G, G2G, etc). The countries which are adopting this methodology are more likely to succeed in the new digital paradigm post-Covid 19.
Below are some simple steps you can use to increase customer engagement with digital banking:

Start with a comprehensive plan

To increase awareness of your digital banking platform, it is always essential, to begin with, a first cut action plan. In the current crisis, there are immediate actions banks can take to help retail and small business customers, support the use of digital channels so that customers can bank from home.
In the United States, many banks struggle to increase digital adoption among their customers; for example, nearly half of banking customers either never use their mobile app or do so infrequently.
According to McKinsey& Company, In the United States, the most satisfied customers use digital multiple times per week, the second-most satisfied customers do not use digital at all. The least satisfied banking customers are those who use digital tools infrequently, less than once per month. This is because customers go through a learning curve as they adopt digital tools, and most banks under-support their customers in the adoption journey. In the current environment, banks should redouble their efforts to smooth customers’ transition to digital. Here’s how:
• Easy-to-find and clear communication
• segment-specific campaigns
• remote coaching and advice,
• And unified experiences across each journey, such as written and video explanations for how to accomplish specific digital tasks, along with ways to try them out.
Banking services that involve branch interaction, digital tools can still play an important role by providing information on adjusted hours, essential services, reduced staff numbers, heightened safety precautions, social-distancing measures, and digitally-enabled queuing.

Keep employees morale up to get back on solid ground

One of the first things that can go for a toss in such challenging times is the morale of employees. It is natural for employees to feel frustrated. The uncertainty of the company's future, the fear of recession, and uncertainty around jobs can damage motivation, productivity, and can create a lot of fear among employees.
This entails bank managers to set precise directions for remote teams that are pursuing common goals. Bank managers should also take this opportunity to delegate and empower their employees for decision making. Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation through rewards, clear spans of control, and meaningful appreciation can go a long way in supporting employee morale.
A vital portion of the employees is working from home facing operational challenges, such as internet-bandwidth issues, network connectivity, technology glitches, and childcare priorities. Following practices could help these banks perform a more effective distributed-work environment:
According to McKinsey &Company, following practices could help these banks perform a more effective distributed-work environment:
• Enable technology setup and infrastructure for remote work.
• Supporting remote-work technology and infrastructure
• Assisting employees with home-office setup
• Ensuring adequate VPN bandwidth
• Providing remote application access
• Adopting a suite of digital tools that facilitate effective communication, and decision making, such as videoconferencing, file sharing, real-time communication, coediting, and task management, and
• Ensuring that agents have the necessary tools and resources to handle calls from home while maintaining customer-data-confidentiality standards.
With all these features, it is also critical to ensure that agents are well-equipped with the necessary tools and resources to handle calls from home while maintaining customer-data-confidentiality standards.

Leverage digital and traditional channels

The more frequently a person sees a message, and in more places, the more likely they are to engage and take action. Banks need to maximize awareness by promoting their message across channels. Promote it in their branch and online, on ATM screens and in the call center.
Banks can also find ways to cross-promote digital banking. For example, during the new account opening process, it should encourage consumers to enroll in online banking. Or, if a bank or credit union is doing a credit card promotion, they can use it as an opportunity to cross-promote its mobile app.

Enable Seamless Customer Experience

For banks, spending on customer experience was essential before the current crisis, both from a “good business” perspective and a “good bank” perspective. Now, these aspects are even more relevant. It is highly important for banks to make their genuine concern for their customers clear and to make customer interactions with the bank as easy as possible.
COVID-19 has brought customers already under health and financial stress. They will need ready access to bank products and services. It is now more important, then, to reach customers through digital channels, stay connected through innovative communication channels, meet the needs of vulnerable populations, and stabilize critical infrastructure.
• Banks should encourage more customers to use remote channels and digital products whenever possible.
• Enhancing current digital offerings, identifying key functionalities, that can be improved quickly
• Speeding up the procedure to increase limits on online transactions and simplifying password reset.
• Keeping clients involved via SMS, mobile apps, and digital media
• Minimize disagreeable surprises to customers (such as potential branch lockdowns)
• Encourage fraud-prevention measures, clarify the availability of solutions on digital channels, and
• Define preventive measures to ensure the health and safety of clients and employees in branches.
According to McKinsey & Company, some financial institutions will need to address such technology gaps in order to offer a seamless digital customer experience. This will require planning ahead by scaling infrastructure capacity and network bandwidth, stress testing and scenario planning, managing near-term patches, and identifying urgent weaknesses in architecture.
Learn more:

All in All

Coronavirus difficulties provide an opportunity for new businesses to thrive based on a new digital reality – completely digital and contactless. Digitalization has found a new meaning and it is going to reach newer areas. The world is thinking about implementing ways to lessen the disruption caused to humanity. This is the perfect time to focus on digital transformation by realizing the necessities accelerating it.


National Bank of Abu Dhabi

FAB, the UAE’s largest bank and one of the world’s largest financial institutions offers an extensive range of tailor-made solutions, and products and services, to provide a customised experience. Through its strategic offerings, it looks to meet the banking needs of customers across the world via its market-leading Corporate and Investment Banking and Personal Banking franchises.


COVID-19 and its Impact on the Banking Industry

Article | March 26, 2020

European central banks have little ammunition with which to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments will soon be forced to balance the health of their citizens with economic stability and their own debt. After more than a decade of unprecedented economic growth, the world is facing another global economic recession. Since the 2008 crisis, governments have had time to accumulate enough wealth to prepare for the next crisis.

Read More

Warning: PayPal will kill cash within 5 years

Article | March 26, 2020

You heard that right. It’s not “if” PayPal will replace cash — but “when”. But, where’s this coming from? Well, we already know 73% spend money via apps. So, it was time to speak with 200 PayPal and Venmo consumers to understand their shift to mobile app payments. After watching them leave these apps, we sent a survey. And, I can tell you…they think cash is a thing of the past. Here are 3 reasons why. Reason #1: It’s familiar. Branding is the foundation of familiarity. And PayPal is comin’ in hot — even if 6% of this group isn’t familiar with PayPal. Now, that’s interesting, huh? It may be that Venmo users aren’t aware PayPal owns them. Either way, it’s not stopping PayPal. Think about Bandaid and Kleenex for a sec. When was the last time you asked for a bandage or tissue? Exactly. Their brands are so strong, they’re actually nouns now. If PayPal can reach that level…cash has no chance. They’ve already got a following…Right now, 66% of the people we spoke to prefer their mobile app payment to cash or credit card. This isn’t a phase either, 8 in 10 people have used a mobile payment app for at least two years. So, it’s not a trend. Electronic payment apps are very top of mind for these users. In fact, 43% use a mobile payment app weekly. They’re in such high demand, 34% say it’s very important to have multiple payment apps – an option for every scenario. Payment at the push of a button. Speed at its finest. Reason #2: It’s instant. This isn’t business, it’s personal. You love instant gratification, so do I. And everyone loves speed when it comes to money. So, with 94% of the people we spoke to on PayPal for personal use, instant access comes in handy — 49% are here to pay back friends. Here’s what else they’re doing… Why are there so many use cases? Well, it’s simple. Yes, 72% use PayPal because it’s easy. Think of it this way. You spy a beautiful red sweater online, a must-have. You’re going to buy it. But first, you have to make a choice. You can walk to your purse… and fumble through gum, cough drops, and kid toys until you find a credit card… Or, you can just log into PayPal. It’s easier. Maybe that’s why 43% of PayPal users hand over the app at grocery stores, and 42% use it at restaurants and retailers. With more places adding app payments each day, it’s easy to see why the group we surveyed loves it. Already, 52% use it in lieu of cash or credit. Imagine what will happen when all merchants accept it… We’ll see the death of cash and credit. Here’s why. Reason #3: It’s secure. That matters. 73% of PayPal users say it’s their go-to payment app. They’re relying on the safety of the app and that’s important. Why? Well, because 15% choose to use a mobile app payment for its security. If you’ve ever lost a lot of cash or had your credit card stolen, you know how valuable that is. Peace of mind. Not only are mobile payment apps familiar, easy and instant — 37% use them because they’re secure. At this point, you may wonder, “if everything is so positive, why hasn’t PayPal already replaced cash?” Timing. Those we talked to, who don’t use PayPal — or other app payment options — as often, can’t because it’s not as widespread. Yet. Give it time and you’ll soon see buyers getting rid of credit cards and killing cash. It’s a matter of time. Now what? This is what your buyers want. 61% of PayPal and Venmo users believe mobile payment apps will soon replace cash/credit cards. Now is the time to prepare, as cash may not last another 5 years.1 Do the work now, so you’re ahead of the game. This is market research. You can actually survey the same group of people we spoke to here. Or, grab a whole new group of consumers to dive in deeper, based on the app behaviors you need to understand. Stay on top. Use consumer behavior to stay a step ahead of your competition.

Read More

How has Fintech helped with battling Covid-19?

Article | March 26, 2020

As the pandemic known as Covid-19 is changing the way we live our lives, there are a couple of innovative technologies that have made this transition period much easier. We don’t know much about this virus but so far it has completely turned the world upside down. Not only are we running a risk of overwhelming our healthcare systems and possibly losing thousands of lives to this virus, the effect that COVID-19 has had on the economy could easily be compared to the 2008 crisis.

Read More

At Dunkin' tapping to pay is the safe and sweet alternative

Article | March 26, 2020

Retailers and restaurants are increasingly offering contactless payments as a safer alternative to cash in the new-normal of COVID-19 while improving the overall customer experience. Tapping to pay in the U.S. has increased 150% year over year from March of last year. More U.S. consumers continue to receive new contactless cards, with more than 80 million Visa contactless cards added in the first six months of 2020 and 300 million expected in market by the end of the year. It’s clear: workers and consumers alike want to minimize personal contact as much as possible.

Read More


National Bank of Abu Dhabi

FAB, the UAE’s largest bank and one of the world’s largest financial institutions offers an extensive range of tailor-made solutions, and products and services, to provide a customised experience. Through its strategic offerings, it looks to meet the banking needs of customers across the world via its market-leading Corporate and Investment Banking and Personal Banking franchises.