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Irish 2021 Outlook for Banking & Capital Markets

Pressing the reset button

Sean Smith, Partner and Banking & Capital Markets Leader, Deloitte, considers how banks are responding to the challenges of COVID-19

If we wind the clocks back to the beginning of 2020, many banks would have identified pandemic risk on their risk register, but few would have rated its likelihood high on that list. So when COVID-19 struck Europe during the first quarter of last year it meant that banks not only had to navigate a novel and extremely challenging situation, they also had to reassess their business model and the threats to that business. Possibly shaped by their experiences in the financial crisis of 2008, we saw many Irish banks take a cautious and prudent approach whereas we saw many EU banks continue to invest and drive strategic change, particularly where this would give an advantage in the post-pandemic world.

From a strategic standpoint, banks can see 2020 as a reset button. It has given them permission to examine some things they couldn’t look at before. As we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, the change is not over; it is just beginning.

Sean Smith, Partner and Banking & Capital Markets Leader, Deloitte Ireland.

With digital penetration significantly increasing, more banks are looking at digital in a holistic way to serve their customers – giving the customer the experience they want rather than the process that works best for the bank. Although there will always be a portion of the customer base that want to visit banks in person, I expect to see more of them being repurposed to digital hubs and a lot more customers doing most of their banking online. Hyper-personalisation will be key as will be the technology that can identify suitable and appropriate products for customers and treating vulnerable customers appropriately. As the Deloitte Global Outlook survey has shown, some banks are considering a number of digital capabilities for their branches over the coming year.

Read the full Irish outlook here.

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