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Banking 2034: where will you be?

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Thinking about banking conferences over the years, there are three main messages that are presented by people on stage:

  1. Banks won’t exist in ten years
  2. Banks will exist, but it’s all going to be very different
  3. Banks will exist, and it’s going to be a lot like today

Let’s take #1: Banks won’t exist in ten years.

Well, I’ve heard that for decades in my life and it hasn’t come true. Back in 1996, Bill Gates said: “we need banking but we don’t need banks anymore” and, as I’m delighted to point out in all of my presentations, he was wrong. Doesn’t happen often. Banks area still around thirty years later and will be around thirty years from now. The question is: what sort of banks? That leads to the second statement.

#2: Banks will exist, but it’s all going to be very different

This is closest to the truth. Banks continue and yes, there are some new banks for a change, but the most likely outcome is three or four big banks will dominate. Every market is dominated by three or four big players. Coke and Pepsi; Ford and BMW; Microsoft and Apple; and so on. But then there’s Tesla and NVIDIA. Times do change and things do become different. However, my prediction is that ten years from now, banks will still be banking and the big banks will be the big banks. The real question is: will be big banks buy the neobanks and challengers?

That leads to the third statement.

#3: Banks will exist, and it’s going to be a lot like today

Well, that’s complete baloney. Think back to 2014, 2004, 1994 or even 1984 if you’re that old (in 1948, George Orwell thought that was visionary), every ten years sees massive change. Thererfore, in ten years, in 2034, banking won’t be anything like today. By 2034, we will have seen the massive impact of AI, cryptocurrencies, 6G+ and more on the banking world. We will probably be adopting quantum computing and have real-time services connected globally in a Finternet.

Anyone who thinks the world of tomorrow will be just like the world of today is a fool, and there is the critical point. Are you changing for the world of tomorrow or letting the world of tomorrow hit you today?

Change is the only constant. Change is the only thing we can deal with. Change and managing change to be different for tomorrow is the most important role of anyone in management and leadership.

Therefore, looking back at the three statements, in ten years banking will be completely different and the role of people in banks is to manage the transitation from today through tomorrow. It’s like that old saying: there are those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who ask what happened? Boy oh boy, I would much rather be in the first camp than the last.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

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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