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EXTERNAL LINK: Read more about the survey here Every two years, the Accenture Banking Consumer Study is conducted, a global survey in which over 50,000 consumers worldwide answer questions about how they view the relationship with their bank. In Sweden, a thousand people are asked, and two years ago their answers were disappointing reading for the banking sector: only twenty percent of consumers believed that the bank had their best interests at heart. This year, on the other hand, that figure is sixty-four percent, an increase of over forty percentage points. – It is a monumental increase, but a lot has also happened in these two years, notes Gunnar Wijkmark, Nordic head of business area banking at Accenture. – The has become war in Europe, inflation is high, and many are worried that they may soon lose their jobs. Consumers have been marinating in worry since the last time we did the study, and in times when you don’t even know if your salary will be enough for cheese next month, something happens to your priorities.

This is good news for traditional banks.

– In times of worry, people turn to what they know, what feels simple and what provides security and a sense of control. This includes the traditional banks. Hence the high figures in the Accenture survey, which also shows that customers not only trust that the bank has their best interests at heart, but that they give the same high marks to the question of whether they trust the bank to handle their data in a good way.- Then the question is whether this is because the banks have done a fantastic job, or whether they have only profited from the worries? The answer depends on who you ask, but it is clear that customers have more confidence in the banks handling their data in a safe manner than various niche players and tech companies do.

Worse for niche banks

Because while the report is a high score for traditional banks, it is more boring reading for the niche players who only have digital offers. When asked if the consumer believes they can be trusted, only around six percent give a positive or very positive answer. – There is a huge difference in how customers experience different actors! But as I said, if you worry about losing your job, it becomes more important to have a bank that feels safe than one that offers cool new services.This is not to say that it is a quiet street for the big banks going forward. Accenture’s study clearly shows that there is potential for improvement, and that the banks could on average earn around twenty percent more per customer if they adapt their offer better to the customers’ wishes. – We see in the study that customers are asking for two things: they want the banks to be more proactive, and they want the opportunity to get a broader offer that extends beyond traditional banking services.

Want more advice and support

Regarding the first request, it is very much about being a partner who sees and understands the customer’s situation, and at the same time contributes knowledge about how the customer can get a better economy. Many banks would probably also say that they do, but Gunnar Wijkmark believes that the reality is different. – Fifty percent of the customers in the study do not even think that the bank would notice if they were hit by a big financial blow, and a third feel that it is difficult to get the right help when they have a slightly more difficult banking matter. We see from the customers’ responses that the banks need to do more, and I, who meet a lot of banks in my role as a consultant, feel that many of them talk about these things, but few reach the end and get the whole chain together. In addition, the banks really need to think on how they can get a more personal treatment. Fifty-eight percent of customers respond that they like to see bank offices in the cityscape because then they feel secure that there is someone to turn to when they need help. Almost the same high figure, fifty-six percent, comes from young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four, i.e. those who grew up with a mobile phone in hand. – This does not mean that customers necessarily want to do their banking at a physical bank office, but they do not want to have an impersonal bank. The important thing is not that you have a relationship with a special person at the bank, but that you can receive personal treatment, especially at the most important events in life.

A wider offer is desired

The second major wish that the customers put forward in the study is that they want to receive a broader offer from the bank. – The customers want help to manage their everyday finances and they trust the bank. Why then only borrow for the home from the bank, why not also get help with housing insurance, life insurance, alarm services and relocation assistance? And if you can get housing insurance, then it can be nice to have personal insurance, health services and the like in the same place. This does not mean that the bank needs to offer all the services itself, but that the bank, as the guarantor of the offer, ties together a number of services in an ecosystem .- If you have now gained the customers’ trust, it is a good idea to spend some time on broadening your offer in order to get a share of a larger part of the customer’s everyday finances. In the study, the impact on customers of increased interest rates is not yet fully visible. – Unfortunately, many of the banks with a high level of trust have no transparency towards customers about how their loan interest rates are set. Customers generally find it difficult to negotiate interest rates while their price sensitivity increases in times of crisis. It will be exciting to see how it affects customers’ trust and actions in tougher times. EXTERNAL LINK: Read more about the survey here

Figures for the Swedish market from the Accenture Banking Consumer Study 64 percent of private customers trust that the main bank works for their financial best interests and that their data is handled well. Only 6 percent trust a digital-only bank to do the same. In contrast, every other customer (50 percent) does not believe that the bank would even notice if their financial situation would be affected, and a full 30 percent have had difficulty getting personal help when they have needed it. 58 percent like to have a bank office close by because it provides stability and accessibility, and 63 percent are interested in receiving a comprehensive offer regarding, for example, housing. Fact box: this can make Swedish consumers switch banks Competitive price, recommendations from family and friends, fast/efficient service and ESG offer (sustainability) are the most important reasons for switching banks.

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