While there have been many changes to the banking industry over the last 20 years, some good, some bad, one element continues to attract the most debate - the lack of a personal touch.
Gone are the days when a customer of the bank could build up a relationship with their account manager, gone are the days when the bank would do loyal customers “a favour”. Everything now a days seems to be driven by predefined formulaes and risk assessment, taking out the human touch, and human understanding of a situation.
This seems to have affected the small business market the most, with many entrepreneurs experiencing a none contact relationship with their bankers. They appear to be just another number, another customer, and very often the banks will not have an in depth understanding of the business. Basic figures and balance sheets are fed into the banks main decision making systems, a risk assessment produced, and an instant often non-negotiable decision. No chat, no additional information required, a decision purely based on cold hard statistics.
While the non contact approach by many UK financial institutions has been pilloried by many, there are a number of people who would rather bank on line, and arrange additional finance online. They are very happy to be dealing with a automated system which can give an answer almost immediately, rather than go through the hassle of going into the bank and sitting down with an account manager - who very often has limited control to change or adapt any of the banks initial decisions.
Has Online Banking Assisted Banking Customers?
Without doubt the onset of online banking has been of great assistance to banking customers, whether personal or business accounts. As well as allowing people to receive decisions almost immediately, it has also allowed potential customers to “shop around” all over the country and apply to the most relevant financial institution online, wherever they may be based.
The ability to now monitor your accounts online has also offered great assistance in the fight against fraud and other financial crimes. Very often online checking has allowed customers to spot problems earlier than possible prior to online banking. As reported cases of fraud continue to grow, this online monitoring is becoming more and more essential.
While some still mourn the death of “personal” banking, and there is no doubt that it does have a place in the business community, overall the internet has offered the chance for quicker decisions on loan applications, etc and the ability to shop around.
All in all online banking has assisted in ensuring a more competitive attitude amongst the leading financial institutions, as niche market players enter the online market, looking to attack some of the traditional banking business.