secure payment solutions

Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good – COVID Is A Timely Wake-Up Call for the Banking Industry

NOW is the time for the banking industry to repay the debt that they owe society for the 2008 crash

We have heard some shocking news this morning about the impact of COVID on the UK economy. Nothing surprising perhaps, but still sobering to hear what the Bank of England is saying. Our deepest recession on record, a 25% shrinkage of the economy in the next quarter, and unemployment to double to 9%. Hmmm.

The Role of the Payments Industry

Payments and banking will be at the heart of the regeneration of the economy. Business must be facilitated. Economic prosperity is fundamental in providing the required finance to fight COVID, and probably more pandemics. Enabling payments to be made faster, cleaner and more efficiently for everyone will be crucial. We must also learn to collaborate in order to innovate.

Security can NEVER be compromised. But maybe it is time to forego “perfect” in an effort to achieve what is best for the world. One of my favourite old adages was “leading edge before bleeding edge”. Well maybe no more. Now is the time for us all to tolerate glitches if it means that our feedback will enable “better”.

What Industry Leaders Are Saying

Juan Jimenez Zaballos, Head of Financial Industry Transformation at Santander in Spain commented that delivering faster and better digital solutions will not just be part of the “New Normal”, but will be at the heart of driving it…

“Everything that deals with connectivity is key now and is a priority, to be accessible for our customers digitally in these tough times. Innovation will be more about delivering digital customer solutions – we need to make these solutions available fast”

Panagiotis Kriaris, Head of Business Development, Paysafe Pay Later – Paysafe Group has remarked that COVID is speeding up the development of solutions by banks that are needed in our increasingly digital economy…

“They’ve realised it’s better to go with a state-of-the-art product rather than something that takes a long time to build and could be out dated when it is released… and it doesn’t necessarily have to be their own product.”

One of the industry’s disruptors, Starling Bank, has confirmed that there has been support for their branchless model with more business bank accounts being opened through them since the crisis. Jason Maude, the bank’s Technology Advocate came up with a fascinating analogy about their approach to technology development…

“We continually manage, maintain and upgrade our systems in a way that traditional banks cannot. Where incumbent banks are running software built with a ‘write once then done’ view, like building a building, we take a gardening approach, constantly de-weeding and occasionally adding new plants or flowerbeds”

Who Are We Helping?

The banking and payments industry must understand the importance and needs of SME’s. Solutions to support them must then be brought to market, fast. It is they who will be at the heart of driving the new economic growth that will pay for our recovery.

Credit lines must be improved. The technologies that will enable that to happen must be developed NOW in order to facilitate and drive an ever bigger than forecast recovery in 2021. They must be released before they are perfect, giving business owners the opportunity to live test them with feedback. With the rate of change what it is we must ALL realise that something that changes everything will probably rock up tomorrow. Like a virus.

Collaborate and Cooperate Rather Than Compete

I am convinced that technology and digital payments will be at the heart of the “New Normal”. Enabling that will be co-operation and collaboration between financial institutions, rather than outright cut-throat competition.  Providers are being forced to work together now. Working together will bring opportunities that may not have presented themselves previously.

The banking and payments industry must be at the heart of generating a new global community. This will give us all more time to do what is important and allow more personal freedom. It must be the role of governments to understand the importance of keyworkers, who MUST become our most valued members of society. As a football fan, I would like to see a day where healthcare workers are generally better rewarded than Premiership footballers. Certainly more revered. Probably not in my lifetime, maybe never, but you never know.