Blog series – David Duffy

In advance of our event at the Bank of England on 21 March 2017, we asked interested parties to write on the theme: Worthy of trust? Law, ethics and culture in banking…

Since our inception, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank has been a community-based bank known for multi-generational relationships with our customers.

We have gained the trust of these customers by supporting them over the long term, through both the good and the bad times.

Today our powerful retail and SME franchise is based on over 100 years’ experience advising and lending to households and businesses across the country’s key sectors, like agriculture and manufacturing.

In a world where banking is evolving at lightning speed, with new technologies and disruptors continually coming on the scene, the question is asked whether firms can maintain these levels of trust and consumer confidence.

Our answer to that is that they must, as trust and confidence is becoming more important than ever.

We know just how strong consumers’ appetite is for using new technology when it comes to how they manage their money. We’ve seen how quickly they have adopted first telephone, then online and now mobile banking. In the last 5 years, the number of customers using their bank branch for day-to-day transactions has fallen by a third. At the same time, we’ve seen a dramatic shift by customers to multi-banking.

Many new players are entering our different channels and in most cases are delivering those channels more effectively and at a lower cost than the traditional bank model. In addition to the disruption and disintermediation of competitors, regulatory changes driving open banking will have a very significant impact on how customers interact with banks.

Technology is also having a dramatic impact in every consumer space and in particular banking. When you combine the accelerating impact of Moore’s law, cloud computing and the leveraging capability of artificial intelligence, it is easy to imagine that the traditional model of banking could be extinct in the near term rather than the long term.

Certainly the old world of a proprietary bank model has gone forever.

Today, banks are no longer entitled to customers – we have to fight for them within a consumer-focussed model.

Ultimately we believe that banking transactions will exist in some form of social media ecosystem, where consumers will order goods, pay for them, compare pricing of products, while at the same time accessing instreaming products and a variety of social media such as Instagram, Snapchat and messaging services. Banking aggregators will further disintermediate the relationship with the customer.

However, while the scale and pace of change we’re witnessing might, on the face of it, reduce the importance of relationships and trust, we believe the opposite.

We believe consumers will see as the norm, the choice, convenience and flexibility, that automation and technology can deliver.

But their demand for a relationship with their bank based on trust and confidence will be stronger than ever. Rebuilding this trust is a critical part of the role of leadership in banking today. Cultural transformation will be at the heart of this.

Some of the trends underline this – fewer than 1 in 10 consumers say they would consider opening an account with a digital only bank in the next 3 years and the branch remains by far the dominant channel for opening current accounts, savings accounts and applying for a mortgage, suggesting that the need for face-to-face interaction and advice when required, remains high with consumers.

Perhaps more tellingly, and understandably, trust in a firms’ ability to handle customers personal data remains a key issue – -two-thirds of people say they would not open a current account with any financial provider, new or established, if it shared their financial data with third providers.

That’s why we believe consumers will place a premium on service, advice and the level of confidence and trust they have in their bank in the future – even more so than they do today.

And that’s why at CYBG we’re excited about the future – because we believe long term survival will be based on our ability to combine the best of our history of local touch relationships and advice, with a world class technology service that supports those relationships.

Technology should not be viewed as being ‘instead of’ but rather ‘in support of’ the customer experience – and it’s this experience and the ability of banks to build relationships based on service and trust, that will be the battleground of the future.

Too often digital challengers adopt single or limited offerings which push product at the customer. We believe that we need to prioritise the customer and their experience and not the product, utilising technology to enhance their experience, not change it. To this end, in our app, B, we have developed the first true AI application in the market on our open API platform. This app helps you manage your money and puts the customer at the heart of the discussion, prioritising convenience for the customer.

We are expanding this technology across all of our products and services to ensure that the customer, as an individual or business, can access services where they want, how they want, when they want and with the best experience in the industry.

As excitement grows around the evolution of technology, banking is absorbed into the conversation in a generic fashion – but trusting a third party with your life’s savings, your family’s security or the growth potential of your business, is not the same as storing your pictures.

As our world evolves at a fast pace it is interesting to observe that the best banking model is likely to require the relationship capabilities of the past, the technology of the future and a consumer orientated culture.

This is the bank that CYBG is building.

David Duffy, Chief Executive Officer, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank