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Revolutionary enterprises need trust beyond a mantra

Banking is indisputably an industry in a transformational era if not undergoing a revolution. The forcible overthrow of the old ways and in with the new is underway. The force of change precipitated with diminished trust, legislation, changing behaviours and economic events has left behind a legacy.

The revolutionary impact on banking brings massive change. New entrants are not shackled with the past. Their future is faster, innovative, ditching legacy through enabling technology, data intelligence, embracing legislation and exceeding customer expectations.  

Bank “bashing” has been a pastime for some. Rebuilding trust requires more than branding: underneath the front public end of the bank experience lies many decades of tech decay; centuries of hierarchy and outdated cultural models. Internal structure, silos, rewards, and failures are well publicized. Getting out of the mistrust, tech debt, reengineering, cultural change, and new operating model requires courage.

Why the trust mantra is not enough

Say it often enough then it becomes the “truth.” Repeating “we are customer-centric and to be trusted” is not enough. It won't change the belief by many, that large corporations such as banks are out to get us. Advocating trust then failing due to outages, legacy experiences and outdated processing—adding unnecessary cost—hinders that mantra.

The 'Hierarchy of Trust’ model (fig. 1) is easy to comprehend. The words echo trust; however, moving from reliability and confidence to trust is conditional on having the best endeavours every time.

The truth is banks may never be trusted in the same way they once were. New service providers are better placed to win with new technology that enables one-touch purchase through to fulfilment and proactive, personalised engagement. Building confidence comes through digital identification, reliable tech, simple process, integrated finance and products that work. Trust comes later.

Challenges fall deep and run wide, yet opportunity lies ahead

Banks still have customers in the millions. They are trusted to hold money and provide services for the mass. Banks have recognised their mistakes, planned and prepared for the future, but it won't be enough to simply transform the old, hope collaboration or acquisition of a new Fintech will plug the gap, or reinvent in the wake of this revolution.

Revolutionary and responsible organisations win

Trust is about reimagining the future and building the platform now. Trust takes time, and so does the building.  The opportunity to build services within marketplaces where financing and delivering financial products has become the “plumbing” means services are where the value exists. Digital makes it easy, frictionless, but fair is different.

Customers recognise trust as being a partnership with the highest implicit level of trust. By proactively helping their customers, saving them time and money, and being custodians of their plans and future events, organisations become life partners. Trusted advisors are invaluable when times are tough like divorce or death. Trusted friends do that and give good counsel too.

So where next for the revolutionary organisation that chooses to craft a different destiny for itself and its customers? The clock is ticking.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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