While the world seems to have become more adept in responding to the ever-increasing natural disasters, the new Coronavirus, COVID-19 has taken us all by surprise and exposed vulnerabilities that were never anticipated. In our lifetimes we have not had to deal with anything even remotely close to the magnitude of this pandemic.
Most, if not all countries, will see a complete shutdown of all non-essential businesses and services (banks are essential) as governments try to flatten the curve to slow the spread of the disease. The gravity and speed of this pandemic, is significant enough to change future behavior, to avoid unnecessary exposure to bacteria and disease in all aspects of our lives where possible.
From a consumer banking perspective - this is going to impact two things.
Firstly, is everything to do with any form of money that is not digital - we all know cash is dirty, so are ATM’s, cards, and where they are still in use, cheques. The move to contactless payments, NFC, QR codes/BlueCodes, wallet payments, peer to peer will no longer be “nice to have” conveniences, but rather the preferred option, and if not mandated by governments, it will be demanded by consumers.
Secondly, is how we as consumers interact with our banks, the urgency for digitized interactions has never been greater.
Fortunately, the technology exists, but disappointingly the vast majority of banks globally have been slow to move in this direction, and many have barely even started this journey. This is about to change dramatically and urgently.
The impacts of COVID-19 on the global economy are staggering, the unexpected shortages of everyday items – which will no-doubt challenge some of the ‘just-in-time’ supply chain thinking (despite the efficiencies), will bring uncertainty and fear.
Now more than ever is the increased need for customers to be able to interact with their banks - as the demand for information and the need for financial products to help people weather what lies ahead will be crucial. Even the few banks which have embraced digital as their primary way for interacting, will see a significant spike in interactions. The question is, how ready are banks to deal with this upsurge in demand for interaction, and do they have right products - ready to distribute, in the right way.
You should really rethink your product strategy if you are the last product left on the shelves.
Scientists agree that the chances of another strain of Coronavirus, or another form of a deadly viral pandemic is highly likely – given our exploding populations and the overcrowding of urban areas. The world will need to be better equipped to handle what is next, and the forward looking banks, will not get left behind!