Sunday 21st January 2018
January 19th 2018: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme looks to be a continuing stumbling block for Democrats who were expected to ink the US government spending bill, with an attendant effect on the US dollar. According to Miles Eakers, chief market analyst at Centtrip the dollar continues to show weakness ahead of possible US government shutdown. “Late last night the House of Representatives passed concessions on a major increase in defence spending and a hardline immigration bill. But Senate Democrats said they would likely block the measure unless President Donald Trump and Republicans include protection for young immigrants. An impasse could result in Trump celebrating his first anniversary in office with the first shutdown in four years, despite his party holding a majority in both houses. After reports of the vote, [the market] saw continued, but muted, dollar weakness, pushing the GBP/USD pair back above $1.39 and EUR/USD nearer the $1.23 resistance level.” The question is now whether a short=term patch will be agreed today, or whether the Republicans and the White House will be compelled to get serious about a longer-term solution. The last time a short-term bill was passed was December last year, which passed by a grand majority of 66 votes to 32. This time round it looks more difficult - Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets commented to clients this afternoon: “Equities are positive to close out the week, rebounding from a negative US close and ahead of a key Senate vote to stave off a government shutdown tonight. Weaker than expected UK Retail Sales have seen the UK’s blue-chip index take a leg higher, benefiting from Sterling's retreat from fresh post-referendum highs earlier this morning. Interestingly, Germany’s DAX is the rank outperformer, this in spite of additional Euro strength after hawkish ECB comments, whilst US equities point towards a positive open this afternoon. The FTSE has climbed higher thanks to GBP weakness benefiting names such as ULVR, BATS, SHP, RELX, CCL and GSK, while Miners are embracing the weaker USD's fillip for metals. This is easily offsetting weakness for BP (Oil lower on IEA report), HSBC (US forex fine), BT (pension scheme deal) and KGF (Carpetright profits warning). Germany’s DAX outperforms with just Linde in the red, as Thyssenkrupp, Adidas, BASF and Fresenius lead the way higher. The FTSE 100 has broken back above 7715. The DAX 30 has broken above 13350 to flirt with a 13420 breakout. Dow Jones Futures have rebounded to re-test 26055. Gold has broken back above $1332.” --

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The open age of banking: technology’s role in driving customer trust and loyalty

Tuesday, 19 December 2017
The open age of banking: technology’s role in driving customer trust and loyalty In the age of choice, where consumers can switch services at the click of a button, the only provider that has remained constant for many is their banking provider. UK consumers generally give a high amount of trust to their banking provider, with 85 per cent of customers saying that they trust their bank with personal information and to manage accounts efficiently. By Dik Vos, chief executive officer of SQS. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/media/k2/items/cache/473202fcc949b66f64f30c3d7a7e4ff0_XL.jpg

In the age of choice, where consumers can switch services at the click of a button, the only provider that has remained constant for many is their banking provider. UK consumers generally give a high amount of trust to their banking provider, with 85 per cent of customers saying that they trust their bank with personal information and to manage accounts efficiently. By Dik Vos, chief executive officer of SQS.

While many banks interpret this as consumer loyalty, the reality is that many people stay with their chosen provider out of fear of the presumed upheaval switching providers entails, and concern that their data and money will be put at risk. Our research shows that 48% of banking customers would worry that direct debits and standing orders would not be transferred accurately during the switching process. However, this is all subject to change with Open Banking coming into effect in January 2018.

Open Banking will make it easier for customers to understand what’s available to them and more able to compare and switch providers, which means more will have to be done to retain customer trust and loyalty in the long run. In this open age of banking, trust can easily be broken if something goes wrong. For example, 62%  of customers admitted that they would quickly lose trust in their banks, if the bank suffered a data breach. Similarly, 55 per cent mentioned the same if they were to become a victim of fraud. However, it’s not just these high-profile instances that can impact a bank’s reputation. Failure of the technology to “just work” is also a trust turn off, with 37 per cent of respondents stating they would lose faith in their provider if the website or mobile app isn’t functioning properly.

The onus, therefore, is on banks to ensure that their technology is robust and reliable across all channels to prevent such situations from occurring, in order to build trust and a loyal customer base.

Technology is playing an increasingly greater role in our lives and, as such, our research has shown that customer preferences are changing. Customers are embracing digital banking and are choosing to interact with their banks more and more through mobile and online channels. In fact, 90% of UK consumers report that they are signed up to use online banking and 95% feel that it is making their day to day, current account banking quicker. When asked, 91% of respondents actually expressed a preference of checking their balance digitally and 74% cited this means as their preferred way to change personal details. Now, more than ever, it is vital for banks to ensure their customer experience is digitally focused. Banks need to be delivering a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints – both digital and physical.  With more than 482 bank branches closing down across the country this year alone, and RBS recently announcing a further 259 in the near future, delivering in-branch, personal experiences will become a thing of the past.

It will not be enough to rely on the loyalty of the customer of yesteryear, a more technologically advanced and less loyal younger consumer is now coming into play.  Our research shows that the rising tech-friendly millennials are less loyal than their older counterparts; 38% say that they would be likely to switch their bank with Open Banking compared to 13% of over 65 year olds, and banks need to be mindful of this in order to retain them as customers. Whether customers need to transfer money, check their account balance or even apply for a mortgage, banks need to be able to provide these services confidently online, just like they would in branch to meet the expectations of today’s customer.

Think different with digital

As well as using technology to provide a better user experience, banks can also use it to differentiate themselves from their competitors. With the emergence of fintech and challenger banks, the retail banking sector has become much more competitive, meaning traditional banks have to be able to offer something different to be able to compete with the upsurge of this potentially more agile and customer responsive set-up.

With customers having so much more choice, banks will need to think creatively to stand out from the crowd and technology will be a key differentiator in the sector. In many ways technology can deliver the in-branch human experience via different formats: chatbots can give loan advice or mortgages can be discussed via video calls. Integrated channels will mean that customers can start filling in applications via their smartphone on their daily commute and then picking them up from the same position on their desktops when they get home.  Moving forward, banks will need to use technology in innovative ways to meet the needs of both existing and potential customers to retain and gain market share.

With Open Banking due to come into play in January next year, it will be easier than ever for customers to vote with their feet if they lose trust in their bank and are frustrated with the technology it offers. However, with this rise in importance of banking technology and more of it being implemented, there is also more potential for things to go wrong. To avoid this, banks need to ensure quality assurance is consistently at the heart of all their banking systems. To retain and attract customers in an ever more competitive market banks will need to ensure the stability and reliability of the systems their customers rely on, from the smallest to the biggest transactions. After all, when personal information and finances are at risk, customers will be able to move to a more trustworthy provider a lot quicker with the new Open Banking regulations.  

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