Guest blog: Digital Trends

Guest blog by Matthew Fitzsimmons from Mutual Vision. First published in the Spring edition of Society Matters magazine.

Guest blog by Matthew Fitzsimmons from Mutual Vision. First published in the Spring edition of Society Matters magazine.

For years, building societies and credit unions were seen as slow to catch on when it came to adopting newer processes and even newer technologies. And given the rise of challenger banks like Starling, Monzo and Revolut, mutuals were in danger of alienating a new generation of customers that demand a faster and more efficient online experience when it comes to managing their money.

In 2020 the pandemic turned everything on its head. As high street branches closed, it became essential for mutuals to embrace digitisation to sustain themselves or risk becoming irrelevant.

The pandemic also became a catalyst for a growing environmental and social awareness amongst banking customers as people began to think more consciously about where they invest their money.

Mutuals are well positioned to meet these appetites given the nature of their business structure which supports communities. Ecology are a great example of this, who actively support and promote ecological building practices. It is these values, along with increased digital capability and diverse functionality that will allow mutuals to stay ahead of the curve.

So where is the journey of digitisation for mutuals heading?

Moving to the Cloud

We will no doubt see an increase of building societies adopt cloud-based technologies. Unlike legacy systems, the cloud allows businesses to outsource data storage, reduce operational risks and maintain their data in a way that allows them to focus on increasing the quality of their services and operations. Cloud hosting is also environmentally friendly and reduces carbon emissions. Tackling climate change continues to be top of the agenda for organisations within financial services, moving to the cloud would be a great step in reaching those targets.

Cloud computing also reduces IT cost in relation to more traditional systems which will no doubt be an attractive benefit for mutuals with less capital.

Increased use of Robots

Many organisations have already utilised RPA (Robotic Process Automation) in many ways, for years already (e.g., chatbots for customer support). However, we’re now seeing RPA’s take on more complex tasks, such as opening current accounts for customers and streamlining the loan application process.

As firms still work to reduce the costs that incurred during the pandemic, using RPA’s to streamline time-worn operational processes will no doubt help decrease this burden and allow employees to focus on engaging with and understand their customers.

Through our new technology partner Consectus, Mutual Vision have already seen an appetite for this functionality amongst our own customers and we’re excited to see how utilising RPA’s can enhance customers’ operational efficiencies going forward. Another added benefit of RPA is that customers can integrate it with legacy core banking systems, even if their providers are not as open to such integration.

It’s important to acknowledge that digital transformation is a journey. It’s about recognising the changing landscape of the industry and re-designing processes that continuously evolve with the customer.

A digital journey is not a process that should be undertaken lightly. Assessing the needs of the customer, taking a closer look at operational processes and clear planning, underpin the most basic of any digital strategy. Furthermore, it is essential that organisations work closely with a technology partner that has experience of digitisation and has an in-depth understanding of the sector in which they operate for it to become a success.

For more information: Contact Mutual Vision at info@mutualvision.co.uk to see how we can help you on your digital journey.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.