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2021 banking and capital markets outlook

Strengthening resilience, accelerating transformation

In our 2021 banking and capital markets outlook, 200 industry leaders weighed in on their companies’ COVID-19 recovery efforts. How can the emerging lessons serve as a catalyst for business transformation?

Key messages:

  • Banks will need to enhance resilience across capital, technology, and talent, as they confront potential new challenges in the short term.    Longer term, banks should accelerate and amplify their transformation efforts across the enterprise.
  • Banks can institutionalize the lessons learned during the pandemic. These may include operating with agility, flattening hierarchies, speeding up decision-making, empowering employees, and introducing flexible workplaces and workforces. Future success may very well hinge on how well these lessons have been internalized and implemented.
  • COVID-19 not only accelerated digital adoption, it has also been a litmus test for banks’ digital infrastructures. Institutions that made strategic investments in technology came out stronger, but laggards may still be able to leapfrog if they take swift action to accelerate tech modernization. Across the board, digital inertia has faded, and more banks are pursuing technology-driven transformation, especially to core systems.
  • To fully realize the digital promise in the front office, banks can elevate customer engagement by deploying an optimal mix of digital and human interactions, intelligent use of data, novel partnerships, and compelling service delivery models.
  • As banks adapt to the economic realities in 2021, they may need to make some hard decisions on the optimal talent models. But at the same time, they should maintain a focus on employee well-being and productivity as the pandemic-induced stress on the work force continues.
  • Banks have an opportunity to become purpose-driven global leaders. Given their unique and vital role in the global economy, banks should be at the forefront of leading social change and mitigating climate risk by reallocating capital, enhancing risk frameworks, providing greater transparency, and improving data and reporting standards. 

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