Digital Bank: Strategies to Launch or Become a Digital Bank

Digital Bank tracks the innovations in banking and how the mobile internet is changing the dynamics of consumer and corporate relationships with their banks. The implication is that banks must become digitized, and that is a challenge as becoming a Digital Bank demands new services focused upon 21st-century technologies.

Digital Bank not only includes extensive guidance and background on the digital revolution in banking, but also in-depth analysis of the activities of incumbent banks such as Barclays in the UK and mBank in Poland, as well as new start-ups such as Metro Bank and disruptive new models of banking such as FIDOR Bank in Germany. Add on to these a comprehensive sprinkling of completely new models of finance, such as Zopa and Bitcoin, and you can see that this book is a must-have for anyone involved in the future of business, commerce and banking.

Users Comments:

  • Chris Skinner provides a framework and point of view to understand what’s happening and why in the swarm of digital space activity and (if you’re thinking about your bank’s digital strategy) how to anticipate where the movement is going and what to do about it.
    His argument rests on the foundation that “[E]very single one of the 7 billion people living on the planet can now communicate, share, transact, and trade with each other electronically, one-to-one, globally… [This] is the reason why … data is the new battleground for commerce…Unfortunately, this is where banks are failing. They are too slow to change….”
    He outlines three major themes through the book.
    Theme 1: Component-Based Banking – Banking will evolve to “banking as a service” in which each bank integrates best-of-breed specialists into its platforms as ICICI Bank, a full service bank in India, has done, rebranding Smarty Pig as iWish in its social banking offerings.
    Theme 2 – Digital Core, Access, and Security – Banks should stop thinking about separate-but-related delivery channels (branches, call centers, Internet, mobile) and start thinking that there is just one, single digital core that provides the foundation for all of these through multiple access points used for both internal and external purposes. As a result of this shift to a digital core and dozens or hundreds of access points, the bank of the future will have shifted from being the safe keeper of money to the safe keeper of data. Digital cores will be more secure than current data bases. Data will become the new currency and real-time tracking of access and attacks will become the new competitive battleground.
    Theme 3: Trust and Attraction Digital banks will build trust around their brands and attract people naturally to become fans and users of the banks’ apps and services, advising them at their point of living. Digital banks will develop their own branded versions of “cool.” Through social media, social networking, social banking, and social money, digital banks will build trust around their brands and attract people naturally to become fans and users of the banks’ apps and services instead of pushing smart ads through channels.
    Because activity in the digital space can feel a bit chaotic, it’s worth the read to understand the details and see how the pieces fit together.
  • Brilliant book. An excellent insight into how the financial services landscape is evolving, with the new ‘fintech’ players challenging traditional banks. For someone who doesn’t quite ‘get’ social media the author explains how it increasingly impacts in people’s daily lives, including in the context of banking and financial services. The author compares and contrasts the traditional / present-day ‘bricks and mortar’ bank often still centred around extensive physical branch networks, with the new providers of banking services for this digital, inter-connected age: the digital bank.
  • An excellent introduction to the coming changes in banking. Although the author is more enamoured with the nonbranch banking startups than I am. I agree that the second wave of blockchain implementations will cause significant changes in the transaction processing parts of the business. Enjoyed the interviews with the bank execs at the end of the book. Definitely recommended reading for any new banker and anyone working with the financial services industry. I would like to have seen a calendar of changes infograph between now and 2030 based on optimistic and pessimistic projections of change.
  • Chris Skinner not only has the pulse of the banking industry he drives it toward a better more responsive less costly but safer banking (data and information safe haven) industry. He is connected to us the customer, and the bank executives are listening.
    Break up the silos within the banks, harness your data and become the banks of information to serve your customers.
    He blogs on this topic every day- and has for the last seven years- you can’t be more on top of a topic than that!
    Get the kindle version and in a few train trips you’ll be a better banker or banking consumer than you were before.
    Craig, Rye, NY.
  • Skinner starts Digital Bank with his central recommendation, which is that banks need to “turn their model on its head and focus on electronic platforms, where physical distribution is the cream on the cake, rather than the other way around.” That is, banks need to recognize that a model of physical distribution — with paper checks and local marketing campaigns at the core — can no longer work. Instead, banks need to embrace a data-driven and networked platform.
    Most bankers probably agree that change is inevitable. What they might not see, however, is how to make the transition to become a digital bank. To this end, Skinner gives a painful (though honest) answer. He says, “The only way to do this is to cannibalise the organisation and create friction within the bank.”
    Steve Jobs highlighted this same idea when he said, “If anybody’s going to make our products obsolete, I want it to be us.” Just as the iPhone has cannibalized the iPod, mobile banking is set to cannibalize other channels.
    Forward-thinking bankers recognize this and embrace it. They’re willing to adopt digital solutions and keep their customer base, even if it means that some customers are less likely to visit the branch as a result.
    Another major argument of Digital Bank is that a truly digital bank negates the need for the phrase “omnichannel banking.” Skinner says that “banks should stop thinking of channels and just recognize that they are digital enabled. Call centres, ATMs, the branch, Internet, mobile … everything is digital enabled.”
    To a degree, it’s a point well taken. Once a bank is totally digital at its core, there won’t be fractured channels, each with their own set of information. There will just be the channel — the bank — and account holders can access that single channel through their various devices.
    However, until banks can implement a fully seamless digital core, the term “omnichannel” has meaning. This point surfaces when Skinner talks about a customer who inquires about a mortgage through various channels. He says, “the bank needs to recognise that as the customer moves through those channels, all the information … is carried across consistently through those channels.” In other words, the bank needs to adopt omnichannel banking.
    Perhaps it’s a matter of semantics, but it seems as though until banks arrive at the ideal Skinner mentions — a seamless digital core — the word “omnichannel” still has meaning. Either way, the ultimate goal is to create a single, cohesive banking experience.

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