Our first vignette paints a hopeful future of how the coronavirus will affect the world. We asked experts from Ipsos and beyond to react: How will financial services change in this best-case timeline?
We — the government, business leaders, civil society — have the ability to shape the COVID-19 recovery to reduce historic inequities rather than perpetuate them. We can locate more virus testing sites in low-income and minority neighborhoods, and prioritize hospitals in those communities in distributing ventilators and other life-saving equipment. We can add more buses to routes that run through higher-risk communities, like Chicago’s mayor did, to enable essential workers to spread out during their commutes and reduce the spread of the virus. We can create pools of capital dedicated to ensuring the survival of minority-owned businesses.
President and CEO, Financial Health Network
Increased adoption of digital channels and payments will increase as more consumers download banking and payments apps to be able to make purchases during the pandemic. The COVID-19 stimulus was a catalyst for many Americans to shift their banking needs online, using remote deposit capture, direct deposit and online bill pay for the first time at a high rate.
The ease of use of these channels and payment activities vs. physical channels will increase overall demand and usage of mobile payments and online payments. This will be supported by the continued need to social distance. Peer-to-peer payment adoption increases across demographics that have resisted previously and the behaviors are sticky. Digital and contactless in-store, in-app and online payment adoption increases, reaching critical mass by moving past the early adopters and into mass adoption, lagging segments of the population.
Senior vice president, senior client officer at Ipsos
With the economy slowly coming back online after the government has successfully managed the public health threat, bank branches will be one of the first places consumers visit once restrictions are lifted. Impacted customers who have fallen behind on debt payments and may have been unsuccessful to date in reaching a professional on the phone, will want to speak with a banker to understand their options. Unimpacted customers will have delayed inquiries and financing requests. SMBs will want to know about lending options to get businesses back up and running. All customers will have been “scared straight” and will have varying degrees of demand for wealth management services.
As digital banking has held up reliably during the pandemic, most customers will have diminished needs for transactional services at branches and therefore, staffing requirements and skills will need to be updated to meet new demands. Additionally, an aversion to cash and even plastic fostered during the pandemic will stick as contactless payments and online shopping become the norm for an increased population of customers.
As a result, decreased ATM usage will continue as customers demand cashless payment options more and more, and financial services institutions continue partnering with merchants and tech companies to increase acceptance. ATMs continue to advance in capabilities, and some are repurposed to accommodate live discussions to meet the increased demand for personalized service at branches.
Vice president, client officer at Ipsos
The financial sector can be heroes. It’s obvious that facilitating funds to small and medium sized businesses and other enterprises is key to get people back to work. PPP disbursement was a herculean task that was probably undervalued by the general population, and could possibly be leveraged for more goodwill creation. However, financial services may need to consider new services beyond their core. An example might be advisory services that help SMBs maximize return per square foot. A second area where financial service can play a role is accelerating viable sanitization technology (e.g., UV-C). Obviously, banks could fund this technology development, but insurance companies could also think about writing policies in a way that reduces near term risk for manufacturers and users.
Financial advisors will have to expedite a better understanding of the role of sustainability and purpose in company valuations with the increasing trade-offs between profit, job preservation, and facilitating publicly subsidized ‘new works’ programs. “The winners” will be those with dogged focus on consumer inclusion and corporate reputation measurement to avoid exacerbating a growing wealth gap.
President, chief client officer at Ipsos