Top 10 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions for 2018

This massive annual report combines the results of a major global research study with insights crowdsourced from a panel of 100 financial services influencers, industry analysts and banking providers.

10. Testing Blockchain Technologies

Satoshi Nakamoto, the unknown person or persons who designed the cryptocurrency, went on to say “digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending” in the original whitepaper.

In the proposed solution, the “network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed.” He further described the concept of miners where “a majority of CPU power” would generate the longest chain and outpace attackers or malicious intent.

Today, blockchain is no longer just about bitcoin or the broader category of cryptocurrency; it’s an exploded view of the underlying technology. It’s unique and differentiated in that it’s an immutable ledger with a single version of the truth of the transaction.

And unlike other immutable datastores, it is also a shared or distributed ledger across a peer-to-peer private or public network. It leverages a consensus mechanism to create permanent records of transactions through a distributed and decentralized network, removing the need for a central authority.

Ultimately it intends to create a trustless exchange of goods, services and/or real assets in a more trustworthy way. And with a potentially much lower cost of transaction.

Why should we all care? While financial services is the sector most likely to be disrupted, blockchain technology is poised to improve customer experience, streamline product features, and enable our global economic system to reshape market structures that will impact us from Wall Street to Main Street.

Financial services marketers, retail bankers, product managers and customer service executives will all be impacted by the progress of blockchain technology. One of the first overarching impacts could be in the development of a system of universal identity verification, that will impact everything from new account opening to cybersecurity.

Leaders must be prudent and act now in evaluating blockchain as the types of deployments evolve, while regulators need to re-evaluate policies and processes given the enhanced transparency the technology promises.

“It has long been anticipated that blockchain will eventually transform the way we transact – largely by automating processing and reducing costs.  2018 will be the year banks get real traction with their blockchain initiatives and when we see banks implement solutions that address areas like KYC, loan fulfillment and cross-border payments.”

Nick Bilodeau, Head of Insurance in Canada for American Express

“2018 is when banks start to realize the value of crypto currencies and start offering mainstream wallet services for normal people to store their crypto currencies. The current offerings (like coinbase) have so much friction  that this market is ripe for taking for banks.”
Deva Annamalai, Director, Innovation and Client Engagement for Fiserv

“Blockchain will definitely see the light in banking in the field of Supply Chain Finance, saving tedious paper work, reducing settlement times, risks, fraud and costs and increasing transparency.”
Maria Jose Jorda Garcia, Chief Innovation Officer at BBVA Microfinance Foundation

“The hype around block chain, and specifically bitcoin, has risen to fever pitch. The trend next year will be to consolidate interest in blockchain, as a technology having the capacity to disintermediate many financial services companies altogether.”
Don Peppers, Futurist and Founder of CXSpeakers

“Blockchain technology will start to be used more extensively in the financial services industry in 2018. Permissioned distributed ledgers will be used for the sharing of contracts, documents, data and the processing of certain payments. Then the technology will fade into the background, just another piece of the IT machinery for many companies.”

Penny Crosman, Editor at Large for American Banker

“2018 will be the advent of the Hashgraph (blockchain competitor) opening disconcerting cases of decentralized use of applications such as micro-payments, distributed capital markets, live collaboration applications, distributed MMOs, auctions and more.”
Jean Baptiste LeFevre, Intrapreneur for BNP Paribas

Some Closing Thoughts from Our Panel

“The monetization of underused resources that started with Uber and Airbnb will become mainstream in financial services. Thanks to secure decentralized systems, untapped sources of individual capital can be invested and lent in new ways. The larger trend behind that is the emerging tokenization of the economy.”
Sebastien Meunier, Senior manager at Chappus Holder & Co.

“The great advancements we saw in finance digitalization and fintech creation will strongly impact financial inclusion in 2018, helping democratizing finance for the 2 billion adults missing in the game. It is time for a new digitized banking ecosystem to reach more people, allowing for more business creation and economy improvement.”
Maria Jose Jorda Garcia, Chief Innovation Officer at BBVA Microfinance Foundation

“Diversity and inclusion will become a primary topic in board room discussions and strategic plans. Seats at the boardroom table will be a new metric that matters.  And yes, the 2017 climate impacted this dynamic.”
Lisa Kuhn Phillips, VP at Allied Payments Network

“2018 should be a year of very visible divergence, where the most tech-savvy companies will accelerate their investments in innovation and new strategies, while those slower to adapt will just try to automate their processes.”
Huy Nguyen Trieu, CEO of The Disruptive Group

“2018 will be known as the year of action. There’s been a lot of conversations, meetings, demos, plans, etc, but there is an urgency now to get projects planned and funded to create new customized engagement models and variety of products/services from which to choose for more personalized client experience.”
April Rudin, Founder and CEO at The Rudin Group

“There is an ever growing talent gap that is keeping banks and credit unions from maximizing their digital growth potential. In 2018 the leading banks and credit unions will bridge this digital talent gap through short-term outsourcing or partnering, while they plan for ongoing training .”

James Robert Lay CEO at Digital Growth


I would like to thank the more than 100 members of this year’s crowdsourced panel who accepted our invitation to be interviewed for this expansive annual report. The insight shared was extraordinary, and the continued support of this effort is greatly appreciated.

I would also like to thank the more than 300 banks, credit unions, suppliers and vendors who took the time to help us prioritize the trends from both 2017 and 2018. We know you’re busy, so some special thanks.

I would also like to thank Carol Ryan, Jim Booth, Jeffry Pilcher, Geoffrey Rucinski, Ron Shevlin, Brett King and the rest of the Fintech Mafia for the daily support, inspiration, insights and laughs. My wife, Linda and son, Cameron also get a huge thanks for putting with me daily (it’s not easy).

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank the sponsor of this year’s research, Kony, Inc. Without their support, this research would not be possible.

I don’t think there is any annual research available that provides as in-depth a review of annual trends from such a diverse audience. But I’m always open to suggestions.

This article was originally published on . All content © 2024 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.