How can the sector differentiate itself in a digital future?

We talk through the BSA's co-sponsorship of a future report from Whitecap Consulting looking at how the sector can differentiate itself as digital becomes a central part of financial services.

The BSA recently held its fourth Digital Mutual conference virtually, with the event once again showcasing how many members are updating and transforming their systems and processes. 

All of the sessions underlined the considerable change going on within the sector and without. Technologies like APIs, data standards, data analytics, Cloud-based services, Open Banking and apps and chatbots are opening up unprecedented new possibilities and challenges for the sector.

Our second Understanding Fintech course at the end of November, also highlighted a key desire within the sector to understand more about digital, how it is changing the financial services landscape and the opportunities it presents for the sector.  

So, given the importance of digital as an area, the BSA has agreed to support a recently announced report on the building societies sector being put together by Whitecap Consulting, looking at how the sector can use technology to differentiate.

In addition to the BSA, a number of external firms are also supporting the research, with sponsors so far announced including Mutual Vision Technology, Sopra Banking Software, DPR, Shoosmiths, Phoebus Software, EQ Credit Services, DMW Group, Mambu and Sandstone Technology.

For the BSA’s part, as digital becomes a central part of financial services, we are keen to find out how the sector can differentiate itself,  the key trends specific for the building society sector and to identify how building societies as regional and mutual organisations can continue to thrive. 

Individual building societies have various strengths such as deep member-relationships, trusted regional brand presence, as well as product expertise. The research will investigate how these can be leveraged in the future.

The report will be based on data analysis and interviews with, we hope, the majority of leaders within the building societies sector, with additional input from external organisations. The team at Whitecap will be actively making contact with senior teams at building societies over the next two months.

Questions will cover strategy, the impact of Covid-19 and pivotally from the BSA’s point of view, the extent to which the sector can maximise key differentiating factors such as its mutual ethos, regional focus and the role of branches.

The final report will be published in March 2021 and we hope it will be a valuable aid to strategists and leaders within building societies as they develop the visions for the future for their societies.