Financial Services and Social Change – the Year Ahead

To get myself psyched up, back in work mode and energized for the new year, I started my Monday morning with a cup of coffee and Deloitte’s predictions for the financial sector in 2021. There are 2 ideas/trends that caught my eye.  


For many years, the financial sector has pushed to bring their customers and clients online. The pandemic and lockdown forced many individuals and businesses to make that change. That would seem like great news for the financial sector. The cost savings alone make the push to digital interaction more than desirable for any financial institution. Sounds like a win – but it’s a win that presents new challenges. 

Customer satisfaction scores are down across the board. To create happy customers, innovation is key. 

The end user is now on the platform. How do you evaluate what they like about it, what they don’t like and what features will improve the experience? Firms that can answer these questions will win market share. 

Don’t be surprised if you see ATMs with video screens allowing actual interaction with a human being. It is the missing human element that is causing low scores right now.  


The financial sector takes responsible investing seriously because their investors take responsible investing seriously. In addition, ESG is profitable and helps firms avoid long-term environmental and reputational risk (as a counterpoint to my glowing review of ESG, I invite you to listen to this podcast by venerable private capital proponent, Ross Butler).

The trend that is worth watching in 2021 is how far financial institutions will be willing to go to support social change. The role that banks play in our wider society is evolving —  and winning banks and asset management firms will be the ones that can demonstrate they are in tune with the changes their customers want to see. 

I’m starting to believe that for multi national b2c companies the future lies in giving their customers a voice. 


All in all, it is going to be a challenging year for financial institutions and the financial sector as a whole. At the same time, an exciting year for innovation and social change. And personally, I’m keenly interested in how far the remote-by-default/work-from-home movement will go and what effect that will have on people and processes — including operations and cost efficiency. 


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr