The COVID-19 outbreak has affected countless lives from all over the world. No industry has been spared, and banks certainly become the receiving end of repercussions—slowed sales, job losses, and declining profits. Despite these challenges, banking customers continue to flock to banks for financial relief, with government institutions from all over the world encouraging banks to help the people.
Apart from managing the economic impacts of COVID-19, banks also struggle to come up with plausible solutions to protect their employers and customers from the risk of contracting the virus. One of the most common solutions is remote working, but some transactions still need to be done in-house.
Customers, on the other hand, become increasingly wary of spending time in public spaces. With social distancing rules to follow and lockdowns to navigate through, banks struggle to come up with new processes to keep up with the “new normal”.
The “new normal” challenges faced by banks
With a limit to in-person banking transactions and physical distancing rules in place, banks continue to look for alternatives to keep processes as undisrupted as possible. Contactless payment, for instance, has been advised by the World Health Organization. Banknotes are discovered to be carriers of the fatal disease, as the coronavirus has the ability to live on money for days.
Banks from all over the world have made measures to quarantine bills, keeping money isolated for weeks before allowing them to circulate once more. Others have decided to disinfect notes, all in an attempt to curb the further spread of infection.
More than paper notes, however, people who work and transact with banks are considered as the biggest potential coronavirus carries, so banks continue to migrate into more contactless channels, which includes digital banking.
The paradigm shift towards digital banking
Due to social distancing and fear of catching the fatal disease, consumers are now primed into completing most of their everyday transactions online, such as grocery shopping, credit card payments, and of course, banking.
The trend of digital banking has been around long before the coronavirus, but recent developments have urged banks from all over the world to invest in online systems. One thing is clear: the pandemic has intensified the people’s need for digital transformation, which is why online banking should now be considered as a matter of urgency.
Banks who wish to preserve their profit margins, on the other hand, should continue business operations as usual. The best way to do this is by migrating into digital platforms, which includes real-time text messaging updates, online forms, uploading of IDs and other documents, and the need for eSignatures.
Meanwhile, customers in need of guidance are contacted via phone, especially when it comes to completing online transactions that seem difficult first-hand.
Although challenges continue to arise, customers no longer need to visit the banks in-person, which can potentially be dangerous and stress-inducing trips.
Banking, COVID-19, and beyond
With no treatments or vaccines still in sight, the end of the pandemic remains to be seen. As banks around the world continue to serve their customers digitally, experts postulate that digital banking may be staying for good. Even as the COVID-19 threat passes, the relative ease and relevance of digital banking are undeniable.
For this reason, digital solutions will likely be enduring post-pandemic. The dawn of the digital age has always been upon us, after all. With the rise of fintech and neobanks, it’s no wonder that traditional banks will now be forced into adapting the digital for good—for survival’s sake, they must.
If there’s anything positive that the coronavirus has to offer, it’s accelerated the digital transformation. For those unwilling to bend, survival is impossible.
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