What will become of the nuns, the homeless and Bank of England governor Mark Carney as retail banking goes fully digital?
Since the 1970s, Banco Popular of Spain has relied on unique contracts with the Catholic Church for nuns to supply back-office support. Digitalization, email and apps may render their non-spiritual roles obsolete.
And in the Nordic region, cash is fast becoming a rarity. Banks no longer worry about germ-laden banknotes and robbers equipped with guns. But how do you give money to the homeless if physical money no longer exists? Luckily, Denmark’s MobilePay has an app for that.
What if fiat money disappears entirely? Will Bank of England governor Mark Carney be made redundant if cryptocurrencies become the norm? No, but government-sanctioned e-currencies are a real possibility.
The 4th Annual Economist Intelligence Unit global retail banking report finds an industry in flux, but more certain about its future.
In previous years, banks feared that FinTech firms would steal all their lucrative business lines. But domination is harder and more expensive than assumed. Fully automated banking may never happen. Although retired investors love Skyping their grandchildren, they do not want to talk finance with a chatbot.
So incumbents and FinTechs must learn to mix old and new. Collaboration might even make us love our banks.