Banks must get digital offering right, says HSBC

Customers are now expecting their digital services and products to improve, meaning banks have no choice but to 'get it right', according to HSBC Kinetic’s head of risk.

A drive towards digital banking services triggered by the pandemic has exposed more customers to ways in which the digital economy works, said Vinita Ramtri, head of risk at HSBC Kinetic UK, at the Branch Transformation conference.

Now many customers who once were hesitant are more comfortable with using digital services, she said.

Customers are now also using digital options for a wider range of products and services.

“First, it was about branch with or without digital,” said Ramtri. “Now it’s about digital with or without a branch.”

But she warned that banks should not choose digital transformation and automation for the sake of it.

Implementing technology must always be about giving customers the right experience and getting the right product or channel, she said, adding that with "infinite data" it’s so easy to get lost.

“You need to be clear on what you want to get out of it,” she added. “Rather than saying I’m going to automate 20 per cent of the business, It’s better to have a target relevant to a problem, scaling it right back to think of the right strategy.”

Ramtri also highlighted some of the key risks that banks must be aware of when rolling out their digital channels:

• The risk of the technology itself and its impact on other risks like service availability and suitability

• The risk around doing what the branch is doing in a digital format; how well will customers understand the product they once acquired in branch?

• Consideration for vulnerable customers; it’s very difficult to identify a vulnerable
customer full stop, but it’s even harder on digital channels to work out who probably needs more help.

• Potential for fraud - it’s much easier to trick people online.

• Third party risk: partnering with people can highlight issues around who has a bank or customer’s data and what is being done with it.

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