Why Financial Institutions Need Personalized Financial Services

Personalization in banking isn’t a new trend. Instead it’s a re-imagining of the business model that was central to retail banking before the era of mass marketing. This business was once highly personal – loans were made on a handshake, tellers knew almost everyone who came in and so on.

Now advances in technology enable banks and credit unions to know their customers again – their preferences, interests and where they’re at in their life journey. And this technology allows this to happen at scale – something that wasn’t possible in the days when loans were made on a handshake.

It’s coming just in time as banks find themselves being leapfrogged by retailers and tech-savvy companies that put personalization at the center of their business models. Call it what you will – the “Netflix” or ”Amazon effect” – consumers expect how they interact with their banks and other financial institutions to mirror the highly personal, digital experiences they enjoy with these and similar technology giants.

Similar to how these firms use technology to craft recommendations, banks will be able to use data and analytics to anticipate individual needs, target “segments of one” and build deep relationships that can stand the test of time.

And it will be worth the effort. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that for every $100 billion in assets a bank has, as much as $300 million in revenue growth can be reached through personalized customer interactions, resulting in driving “material competitive advantage for first movers that embrace it over the next five years.” 1

What Does Personalization in Banking Really Mean?

The underlying premise of personalization is not to just “sell more stuff” but to become trusted advisors – in effect bringing banking full circle. As a recent JD Power study showed, almost 90% of retail banking customers claim they “definitely will” reuse their bank or credit union for another product if they give great financial advice. 2 However, it’s difficult to give good financial advice when you don’t know a customer’s goals or priorities – and only 6% of banks claim to have the capability to provide highly personalized outreach. 3

For banks and other financial institution, this means going far beyond segmenting and microtargeting or even customizing homepage messages and digitizing the customer journey. Instead it requires hyper-personalization – the ability to use data and analytics to develop a deep understanding of each customer’s needs and orchestrate a set of tailored experiences across digital and human channels. Hyper-personalization solutions integrate customer data from multiple sources to create comprehensive profiles that are then used by predictive analytics tools to generate the most relevant recommendations and products.

Examples of Personalization in Banking

Imagine looking for a new home: you point your phone at the house of your dreams and talk directly into your banking app. Your bank tells you not only how much your monthly mortgage repayments would be, but also provides details about local services and taxes by drawing from public information.  

Sound farfetched? We’re not there yet but as you can see from the following examples, the industry is on its way. Likewise, we sell consumers getting more comfortable handing over their data in return for services that deliver greater personalization. This is critical because the more information a bank can collect about a consumers (within the confines of evolving and increasingly strict privacy regulation) the easier it is to provide services that are truly relevant to an individual’s specific needs.

Benefits of Hyper Personalization

Ultimately, if done well, hyper-personalization can provide a set of “hard” and “soft” benefits for financial institutions including:

1. Foster customer loyalty by driving customer advocacy

Customer advocacy is when a customer perceives their financial service provider has their best interest in mind. Advocating for your customer is providing content they find valuable, whether its letting them know how their spending compares to their peers, pinpointing specific areas where they can save, or providing advice for their unique situation. By showing customers that you know them, understand their needs and want to help them reach their goals, you’re taking engagement to a whole a new level.

2. Establish trust for greater share of wallet/ higher customer lifetime value

While all industries benefit from being trusted by their customers, banks are in a position to derive the most financial gain. If they can become the trusted provider of financial products, services and advice for the majority of a customer’s financial life, they have much to gain.

3. Shift from sales funnel to flywheel model

Banking has traditionally approached sales as a funnel, where you attract, cultivate and close prospects in a one-way, single-destination fashion. But some banks are beginning to treat sales like a flywheel, where meeting one need perpetuates another because they’re able to tailor opportunities based on people’s specific needs, thanks to end-to-end personalization.

4. Deliver operational improvements

The sophisticated data aggregation and leading-edge AI and machine learning techniques needed for analytics also enables operations managers to better measure efficiencies, service channels and customer satisfaction. And automation, already an important part of consumer banking, will become more pervasive, delivering benefits for a bank’s cost structure.


Introducing Envestnet | Yodlee's Financial Insights Bundle

Hyper-personalized digital experiences aren’t possible without access to consumer financial transactional patterns and trends, and as the industry leader in data aggregation and analytics, Envestnet | Yodlee is uniquely positioned to deliver these insights.

Based on the very best data, data science, security and privacy practices in the industry, Envestnet | Yodlee Insights Solutions combine actionable insights, peer benchmarking data, personalized views, and critical data needed for segmentation to enable contextual, hyper-relevant customer interactions. Insights Solutions can be delivered through simple APIs and apps to create a strong emotional connection across the customer lifecycle and on all touch points.

To learn more about how our financial data intelligence platform can help with your hyper-personalization efforts, visit Envestnet | Yodlee today.

1. https://www.bcg.com/publications/2019/what-does-personalization-banking-really-mean.aspx

2. https://thefinancialbrand.com/82916/personalization-banks-credit-unions-data-marketing-customer-experience/

3. Digital Banking Report Research, September 2018