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What will ‘the bank of the future’ look like?

"The bank of the future will allow me to understand everything and do everything myself online, while still offering hyper personalised service" - "A centralised simple bank where you can receive and make payments in less than two swipes" - "No more paper or plastic waste, everything online" - “A safe data bank above all" - "Why not a love currency?"

These are just a few of the vox pops we gathered in response to questions about the bank of the future. What will it look like? What will future customers expect or be able to expect? Opinions differ widely. But one thing you can be sure of: ING will continue to be there to transform those expectations into reality. Just as we’ve done for over 150 years. 

Ever since the beginning of the 21st century, ING has spearheaded the transformation of the banking sector, championing operational excellence and customer focus in shifting from a bank with only physical branches towards a true multi-distribution bank. Part of that process involves a continuous analysis of changing customer behaviour and preferences. All with a view to creating the best (digital) experiences for those customers. Today, we know that the number of ING customers using our digital channels continues to grow. And access to remote digital advice from ING experts is given high satisfaction scores by our customers. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Which is why we continuously ask ourselves: what else can we offer? What’s next? 

Digitalisation

Process automation and digitising interactions represent fundamental changes in any sector, no less in banking and financial services. As a result of the trend, we can expect that all kinds of banking services will become seamless, automatic, personalised and even invisible in the future. Fortunately we have always been evolving with you. And as the mobile bank, you’ll always have your bank in your pocket with ING. Available for all ING Belgium customers since this summer, Apple Pay is just one example.

“I think banking will go completely online. No more cards or paper bills, all payments will be made by fingerprint or facial recognition.” (Tim D, entrepreneur)

That means that people will interact with their bank via different channels according to their needs. And they’ll be able to choose between going fully digital, keeping a mix of digital and face-to-face interactions or resolutely choosing a smaller, local bank where direct contact is still more important.

At ING, our goal is to offer our customers a genuine mobile experience where they can carry out the majority of their operations on their own. The new ING Self Invest platform is one example. Our new ING Banking app is another. At the same time, however, we are always here for our customers when they need us and continue to offer expert, one-to-one human contact for assistance and advice. 

New actors

Digitalisation also means globalisation. “Traditional operators like Visa and American Express will have to compete more and more with GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon),” says Roland Gillet, Full Professor at University Paris 1 Sorbonne Pantheon and full professor at the Solvay Brussels School of Management.

This means that some banks will follow the “bigger is better” principle in order to compete with the “Big 4’’. Some will just want to fall back on local markets and remain very “human”. While others will segment and target a specific target group (think: liberal professions or the self-employed). 

Data security

The main concern for many people, however, remains the security aspect. Consumer confidence, after all, remains critical. ING uses the latest technologies to protect its customers data and above all their money against fraud.

In this context, many people wonder about the status of cryptocurrencies. Can they be trusted? Will they eventually supplant conventional fiat currencies? According to Gillet, “Cryptocurrencies won’t become an alternative means of payment. They fluctuate too much and are much riskier than conventional cash issued by central banks.”. 

“A safe data bank above all, which must regain my trust." (Catherine A, psychologist)

Sustainable banking

The future banking sector as a whole must be dedicated to promoting sustainability in a structural way. Imagine a credit card that’s automatically blocked whenever you exceed your CO2 limit? Or a house that you can only finance if it meets certain sustainability criteria? Why not? Sustainability is - and remains - an integral part of everyday life and our entire economy. ING’s deep-seated commitment to sustainability is already visible in numerous ways. Just think of our green loans, sustainable investments, sustainability loans for companies and more. And it’s a commitment that will continue to define our future path. 

“A bank that invests my money according to my values: ecology, society, soft mobility, etc. with simple and regular proposals.” (Bram D, teacher)

We do not shy away from trends and have always been a pioneer in innovation. But even though society is increasingly becoming DIY, for example, people still hire professional photographers if they need really good photos for a special occasion. The same goes for banking. And whatever it will be that you need from us, or whatever direction we will evolve, we are simply glad to still be the bank that helps you make your dreams come true. We’ve always been at the forefront of innovation. And today that means being a data-driven digital bank. One that’s constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of our customers.