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Digital Banks digitize … and think it’s done #fail

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Last week, I mentioned that Digital Banks may be losing sight of the customer.  I then had another comment that spins a different angle on the debate: Digital Banks digitize … and think it’s done.

This is another error in management thinking, but is fairly common with banks I deal with.

They look at a problem, create a working team to solve the problem, solve the problem, and then disband the team and move on.

That is how problems used to be solved.

We need to renovate the branch network.

OK, create a team, work out what branches need renovation, plan the renovation, renovate the branches, disband the team.

Job done.

We need to refresh our systems.

OK, create a team, work out what systems need refreshing, plan the refreshment, refresh the systems, disband the team.

Job done.

We need a mobile channel.

OK, create a team, work out what mobile channel we need, plan the channel, implement the channel, disband the team.

Job done.

We need to digitise this bank.

No, I can’t do it.

I could go on, but I’m already getting to the point of losing the will to live.

Y’see, digitising the bank, like mobile deployment, systems refreshment and branch renovation, is not a one act play.

As the marketers would say, it is a journey rather than a destination.

That also makes me feel quite ill as I write it, as it is a bit of a yeuch statement, but it is true.

Upgrading the bank for the digital age is not about a short burst investment program, but about a continual change towards remote customer engagement.

I guess the one act play goes along with the attitude of if it isn’t broken, don’t change it. These are things that are proven to be inaccurate views of management.

The if it isn’t broken view is the reason why core systems are locked in position, so much so that some are almost unbreakable.  Unbreakable and unworkable.

They have locked in the old and constrained the new.

This is why so many banks are finding renewal of systems so difficult.

In other words, we have two management mentality issues in many banks.

  1. If it isn’t broken, don’t change it.
  2. If it is broken, put a point team in place.

Neither view is appropriate in the Digital Bank world of 2014.


  1. If it isn’t broken, should it be?
  2. If it is broken, is it tactical or strategic?

If it is strategic, it needs a continuum of culture change, not just a point team, and the mobile, branch, systems renewal to become a Digital Bank is definitely not tactical.

So get with the program and put a culture in place for the journey, not the destination.

And don’t create a Digital Bank team, ‘cos it won’t work.


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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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