Only 17 percent of banks have succeeded in digitally transforming at scale, according to the 2019 Innovation in Retail Banking report. 

Legacy technology and system integration challenges are perceived as the biggest barriers to digital transformation, followed by time and cost required to bring concept to reality. The report found that the majority of banks are not confident about how digital transformation has successfully impacted their organizational objectives. Only 39 percent of banks believe their digital transformation strategy has had high or very high impact in accelerating product and service delivery and 33 percent say it has helped enhance innovation processes.

Additional key findings include:

  • Very few financial institutions – just 14 percent – believe they are innovation pioneers; 51 percent admit to being mainstream or lagging in innovation.
  • 50 percent of respondents said their organizations would continue to operate as full stack banks across retail, business and corporate banking segments; only 26 percent of respondents mentioned evolving towards platform/ open banking models such as marketplace organization, manufacturing bank, and distribution focused organization. The remaining organizations plan to hone their focus on select customer segments.
  • The industry is increasing investments in mobility, advanced analytics and open banking APIs. These technologies are expected to make the biggest impact on banking in the next 12 months.
  • More than 75 percent of banks said Open Banking will attract a lot of new investment.
  • 50 percent of banks are considering co-innovation with business partners as a key strategy for innovation in the next 12 months.
  • Looking beyond efficiency, 88 percent of banks said they are increasing investment to improve customer experience, while 79 percent are investing towards new products and services.
  • While banks expect mobility, advanced analytics and open banking APIs to impact their business the most in the coming year, most are not ready to apply these technologies to create expected business outcomes.
  • Only 30 to 35 percent of respondents said their organization was at a high or very high level of readiness with respect to open banking APIs and advanced analytics. In the case of Blockchain or Internet of Things, the percentage of respondents with high or very high readiness dropped to 12 and 13 percent respectively.
  • Results from this study suggest that in the next 5 years, the biggest threat to the banking industry will be from large technology companies, fintech startups and challenger banks. More than 75 percent of banks think that consumer technology giants and fintech firms will lead banking innovation.