Omnichannel Banking

Cisco IBSG Global Research

Banks operate in a challenging world of rapid technological change, technology-savvy
customers, and increasing expectations. In this environment, banking through disparate and insufficiently coordinated channels is quickly becoming obsolete. To prosper and gain a
competitive advantage, banks must begin moving to omnichannel banking while customer
readiness around the world is strong.
The Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) calls this new reality the “Era of
Omnichannel Banking.” Omnichannel banking is different from the current “multichannel”
approach in which banks encourage customers to use the least expensive channel, while
delivering minimal cross-channel consistency and an inconsistent user experience.
Omnichannel banking provides a consistent experience across channels to provide
customers with seamless access to financial products and services—where and when they
are needed.
In the world of omnichannel banking, customers are in control of the channels they wish to
use. For example, they can begin an interaction using one channel (mobile while at home)
and end it in another (branch while on the way home from work). Omnichannel banking
brings the industry closer to the promise of true contextual banking in which financial
services become seamlessly embedded into the lives of individual and business customers.

The branch continues to be the preferred channel for personal attention and advice,
including new services.

  • 26% consumers say they would leave their current bank if advisers and
    personal advice were eliminated from their bank branch.
  • 83% of consumers say they would be somewhat or highly interested in bank
    branches that offered an expanded portfolio of financial and advisory services
    (financial education, legal, accounting, tax, and insurance).
  • 13% of consumers in developed countries and 18 percent of consumers in
    emerging markets prefer to use mobile banking applications for real-time expense
    tracking, personal finance management (PFM), and payments.
  • Those who prefer mobile for these services tend to be younger (Gen Y or Gen X),
    tech-savvy, and more-frequent branch users (2.5 visits per month).

One of the most powerful implications of the research comes from applying the very strong
interest in using the Internet as a banking channel to the estimated role that mobile devices will serve as the primary access point to the Internet by 2014, as shown in picture.

Internet Use via Mobile Devices Versus Desktop PCs (2007-2015 Estimate)


Clearly, mobile has the potential to become the most prominent banking channel in an omnichannel world.

The segment most strongly in favor of mobile banking is younger customers, with an
average age of 33. While these respondents clearly have a preference for mobile banking,
it’s important to note that they do not want it to replace other channels. They visit branches 2.6 times a month on average, compared to 2.3 times across all respondents, and are very supportive of using multiple services in an omnichannel environment.
The most interesting mobility features, according to respondents, are real-time expense
tracking and money management (22%), remote deposit by taking a picture of a check
(21%), and using the mobile phone as a payment mechanism (18%).

While there has been a huge explosion of social media usage, with more than 175 million
Facebook users in North America and 65 million LinkedIn profiles, social banking has been
limited to promoting company brands and monitoring social media sites for customer
satisfaction issues (sources:, 2012; LinkedIn, 2012). In fact, use of social media for banking is very low even among younger consumers. Only 3% of respondents indicated that they had used social media as a banking channel.

For those most interested in social media for banking, the most attractive features were
learning communities, financial incentives to “refer a friend,” and peer-to-peer payments.

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