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Banks and financial institutions worldwide are facing a period of 'rapid progress', as new technology alters the way they can do business, the Financial Times reports.

The effects of a 'digital tsunami' are expected to have a major impact on the way banks and brokers operate. A handful of technological developments in particular - social networking, wireless communication and 'cloud computing' - have been identified as the main agents of change.

Financial experts believe that customers should be able to take advantage of the latest changes to get 'better, cheaper and more innovative' services from their bank. However, concerns have also been raised that the fast changes are not wholly welcomed by some banks - some of whom have been left playing 'catch-up'.

Whereas in the past, banks were considered to be at the forefront of the 'data-processing revolution', the new changes brought about by the internet have changed customer expectations and led to the emergence of new competitors.

The number of customers using mobile banking services is predicted to increase from 55 million in 2009 to 894 million in 2015, and some experts believe that the 'key' for banks trying to keep up with the impact of new technology is to 'understand how to engage more with their customers'.

A spokesperson for thinkbanking commented: "In our 'digital age', there are many potential ways for banking customers to take advantage of new technology that could help them manage their finances better.

"Right now, they could look out for services such as internet and telephone banking, for example, or find out if their bank offers SMS services. Different banks will offer different services, so it's important to find out what your bank can do to help you manage your money the way you want to."

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