Banking Fintech UX

Principles of the reimagined bank

Principles of the reimagined bank. Image: agsandrew,
Written by Chris Skinner

Let’s imagine you could start your bank from scratch. What approach would you take? Chris Skinner explores the options for a reimagined bank.

There are some clear lessons we can learn as base foundation principles when reimagining banking for the 21st century:

  • Everything is peer-to-peer networked.
  • It’s all in real-time globally.
  • Commerce isn’t just person-to-person but more machine-to-machine.
  • We’re looking at the exchange of value between machines and individuals, not just money.
  • Transactions are the least interesting piece of the new ValueWeb, as advice via analytics is far more useful.
  • Open sourcing the system is a critical part of the approach. There’s no place for proprietary.
  • Take the examples of marketplaces and platforms rather than products and services.
  • Focus on delivering the best experience on the platform in terms of engagement and investment rather than trying to imagine target demographics.
  • Continually enhance and invest in the platform experience – nothing is static.
  • Don’t make strategic plans, just innovate daily with a relentless focus on the user experience.
  • Don’t use regulations as an excuse to avoid doing something. Change the regulation.

I could go on, but I’ve already shot myself in the foot several times. Banks rarely see regulations as an opportunity, and see the product and profit first, the customer and technology second. This is where the wheels start to come off. All of the fintech startups I meet are far more attitudinally geared towards thinking like the above. If banks cannot change their thinking, they will sleepwalk into disruption. It’s time to wake up.

Let’s put it another way: if you could reboot the bank, how would you do it? Would you still have deposit accounts that you use as a way to cross-sell cards, loans and more? Would you still have branches? Would you still create a savings account based on interest rate churn?

What would you do if you could reimagine the bank from scratch? Would it still be a bank? Is it just a faster bank?

I think it’s time to bring design into finance and use design logic to create the next-generation financial platforms. Design thinking starts with the basic question: what is the user trying to achieve: a journey (Uber), a memory (Facebook), an answer (Google), fun (Apple) … a payment? No. It’s nothing to do with a payment. It’s fulfilling a wish. How would you design a bank based on a wish?

Design for fulfilling dreams. It’s got nothing to do with banking.

– This article is reproduced with kind permission. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations. Read more here. Image: agsandrew,

About the author

Chris Skinner

Chris Skinner is an independent commentator on the financial markets through the Finanser, and chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club, which he founded in 2004. He is an author of numerous books covering everything from European regulations in banking through to the credit crisis, to the future of banking.

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