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Top Trends in Retail Banking 2013: New Celent Report

Every year Celent gathers its analysts from across the globe to summarize the top trends in retail banking. These trends are discussed in the new report, Top Trends in Retail Banking 2013, from Celent, an international financial research and consulting firm.

Key findings of the report include:
• This year Celent has chosen to divide the top trends in retail banking into the following categories:

1) Payments

-Offers, Offers, Everywhere. Consumers, particularly in the developed countries, have never been short of merchant offers.
-Contactless Payments: Emergence of a Megamarket. The mobile payment business is very successful in Japan. The Japanese mobile payment market shows huge potential for mobile payments in markets that have government support, close cooperation between financial institutions and mobile operators, low bank card penetration, and high mobile phone penetration. In fact, all these factors are present in China.
-Payment Infrastructure. China's electronic payment industry has been rapidly developing in recent years. Since the setup of the second generation payment system by the People's Bank of China, a number of banks have become pilot banks.

2) Technology

-Core Banking in North America. BBVA Compass has moved deposits to Alnova. Santander is moving their wholly owned Sovereign Bank to their Parthenon core. RBC is moving customer information to SAP. Zions Bank is looking to move off of TriSyn Infopoint. Here are four sizable banks doing core projects moving to core systems that were developed outside of the United States and run real time.
-Bank Data Not Big Data. Big Data is on the lips of most technology vendors. Banks have a lot of data and get to listen to many Big Data pitches. Celent does not yet believe that this is appropriate for most banks. Before banks try to tackle unstructured data they don't own, why not use the structured data they do own?
-Living on Cloud 9. According to many vendors everything running in a data center not owned by the bank, and sometimes running inside the bank (private cloud) is cloud. What ISN'T cloud? The definition of cloud is now so nebulous as to be meaningless.

3) Digital channels

-The Convergence of Online and Mobile Banking. The digital world is moving at light speed, and as banks bolt on additional channel capabilities (e.g., mobile), it is becoming very difficult to manage. Financial institutions and the software vendors that serve them need to come up with a more holistic approach. An ideal scenario would be for the bank to be able to house all of its electronic banking components in a single place.
-One Solution to Rule Them All? Convergence goes well beyond online and mobile banking. Financial institutions, particularly smaller ones, are gravitating towards single solutions. There's one very solid factor driving this interest-cost.
-Startups Are Eating Banks' Lunch. Financial technology startups are giving banks a run for their money.
-Mobile RDC Mainstreaming. Although nascent, consumer remote deposit capture (RDC), using both desktop scanning and mobile approaches, is growing rapidly.
-Social Media: Listening, But Then What? Social media is so hot these days! Most financial institutions, however, while "active" in social media in some way, lack a clear strategy and objectives for social. Still nascent in financial services, social media will be a hotbed of change and activity over the next several years.

4) Branch

-Branch Banking Becomes an Alternative Channel. Self-service is nothing new, but its impact is being increasingly felt in the retail branch.Historically, self-service channels did more to create incremental transaction activity than they did to reduce branch transactions. More recently, however, self-service has taken a bite out of branch foot traffic. Why the change all of a sudden? It's those pesky checks.
-A Tipping Point in Branch Transformation. For years, "branch of the future" was more about talk than action. While substantive branch transformation remains a rarity in North America, there appears to be a growing consensus that the status quo is unsustainable. Celent couldn't agree more! In comparing 2010 and 2012 survey results, considerably more institutions indicate intentions to make modest to sweeping changes in branch configuration.
-Perfect Storm for Workforce Optimization Solution Adoption. Despite the growing activity in "alternative" distribution channels, Celent contends that the branch will remain a relevant and strategically important channel for the foreseeable future. However, the evolving regulatory, economic, social, and technological environment has created an imperative for branch transformation.
-A Teller Capture Renaissance. In the past few years, distributed capture has moved from being an item processing phenomenon to being in the mainstream of retail banking, taking a prominent spot in both branch and ATM channels.

• The geographic emphasis of this report is mostly North America; however, many of the trends are global in nature. Additionally, Celent does touch on trends in China and Western Europe in this report.

• Some of the trends Celent sees in the marketplace are a little too trendy, with more discussion than reality and more light than heat. Celent goes against the grain as appropriate in helping banks sort out what not to think about as well as what to think about.