Online banking is extremely convenient, and is understandably one of the two main ways that consumers interact with their banks (along with mobile banking). But there is still a significant contingent of banking customers who want physical branches.
Despite an overwhelming reliance on digital banking channels overall, and the resulting decline in branch visits, consumers have maintained a preference for depositing checks in-branch, according to a recent Fiserv study. More than half (53%) of respondents said their top reason for visiting a branch in the past month was to deposit a check, compared with 41% who went to withdraw cash, and 36% who went to deposit cash.
Still, there’s no denying the rising prevalence of online banking, which has led to other innovations such as open banking. This system, implemented in the U.K., involves sharing customers’ financial information electronically and securely, but only under conditions that customers approve.
Open banking forces lenders to offer a digital “fire hose” of data that any third party can use to get standardized access — provided the startup is registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the customer agrees to share their data.
Investment banking is a type of financial service in which a person or company advises individuals, businesses, or even governments on how and where to invest their money. For decades, this has been a human-to-human process that led to a mutually beneficial relationship.
But now, with the rise of robo-advisors, artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to infiltrate the money management space. Predictive analytics can help investors make wiser and more profitable decisions before the market moves. AI can, in some cases, also help identify M&A targets. Lastly, AI can help validate an investment banker’s hypothesis and lead to more informed future decisions.
Banking as a Service (BaaS)
Because of tight regulations (particularly in the U.S.), not everyone can just open a bank. This is where banking as a service (BaaS) comes in to fill the gap.
BaaS platforms enable fintechs and other third parties to connect with banks’ systems via APIs to build banking offerings on top of the providers’ regulated infrastructure. So, launching BaaS platforms helps banks benefit from fintechs entering the finance space, as it turns them into customers rather than just competitors.
While BaaS technically falls under the umbrella of open banking, it shouldn’t be confused with the aforementioned Open Banking system in the U.K. Open banking encompasses all actions in which a bank opens its APIs to third parties and gives those players access to data or functionality. The UK’s Open Banking focuses on providing third parties with data from incumbent banks, while BaaS looks at how these players can get access to banks’ services.
Banking is involved in almost every aspect of American life, from consumers to businesses to stocks. Because of this, the federal government has instituted numerous regulations on the banking industry, though the severity of those restrictions has waxed and waned in the last decade.
After the financial crisis of 2008, the Obama administration enacted the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010. Dodd-Frank overhauled the U.S. financial regulation system in the aftermath of the crash. The most sweeping and impactful changes from the act included:
- The elimination of the Office of Thrift Supervision
- The creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to protect consumers against abuses and unfair practices tied financial services and products such as credit cards and mortgages
- The reassignment of responsibilities for agencies such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
- The creation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Office of Financial Research to analyze potential threats to U.S. financial stability
- The expansion of the Federal Reserve’s powers to regulate particular institutions
In 2018, current President Donald Trump signed into law the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA), which rolled back some of the Dodd-Frank changes. Specifically, EGRRCPA raised the threshold under which the federal government deems banks too important to the financial system to fail from $50 billion to $250 billion.
It also eliminated the Volcker Rule (a federal regulation that largely forbade banks from conducting particular investment activities with their own accounts and restricted their dealings with hedge funds and private equity funds) for small banks with less than $10 billion in assets.
Despite the rollbacks, it’s still difficult in the U.S. to get a banking license, which has hampered some banking startups. On the other hand, this has increased mergers and acquisitions activity. As a result, regulation will be a key focal point for the banking industry in the coming years.
Banking Industry Analysis
With so many different facets of the banking industry undergoing change, it’s crucial for those connected to the banking industry to be informed and stay ahead. That’s why Business Insider Intelligence is launching Banking, our latest research coverage area, to keep you up to date on the latest banking trends and shakeups.
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