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Banking Briefing: FIs go all out on talent acquisition

  • From talent acquisition to mastering AI, digital transformation covers a whole lot of areas.
  • This week, we take a special look at what Citizens is doing to ace AI.
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Banking Briefing: FIs go all out on talent acquisition

Briefings ago, I mentioned something Jamie Dimon said during JPMorgan’s earnings call:

“I think wages going up is a good thing for the people who have the wages going up. CEOs shouldn’t be crybabies about it. They should just deal with it.” 

And there may be some truth to that. 

Competition for talent in the financial industry is heating up. Major banks like Chase and Citi say they’ve been paying competitively to get dibs on top talent. 

But money isn’t everything – there is also the subject of perks. Financial service providers have been stepping it up in that respect as well.

Monzo, which just moved out of beta in the US, announced last week it’s sending its employees that have been at the company for at least four years on a three months’ paid sabbatical, as a way to create a better work-life balance. This comes following the challenger bank’s move last year to give employees paid leave after pregnancy loss.

All this may be to say – hey, that slightly unstable digital bank that had to lay off 120 employees in 2020 due to the economic situation…that’s not us anymore!

And Monzo is not the only company presenting new employee-centric policies. In November, Atom Bank started experimenting with a four-day working week, without cutting pay. 

Meanwhile, Wise recently announced it’s adding some new leave policies of its own, like three paid self-care days, 15 paid sick days, and 18 paid weeks' parental leave. It’s also giving 10 days paid leave to people with recent pregnancy losses.

The world of perks and benefits may be non-negotiable. And who knows? As banks start looking more like tech firms, so might their company policies.

By the numbers: consumers on the future of digital banking

Citizens’ survey end of last year indicates the shift in consumer banking behavior to be permanent. 

Almost 80% of the consumers surveyed said the changes made by Covid in the way they interact with their bank will be permanent. Meanwhile, almost all consumers said they do at least some of their banking through digital channels.

Additionally, more is being expected from banking institutions in terms of the role they play within society. 70% of those asked said banks should play a role in serving the communities they’re in.

“The survey reaffirmed that across the board, customers want seamless in-person and digital interactions. This trend started long before the pandemic and has accelerated dramatically over the past two years. Digital offerings are increasingly key in terms of initial consideration. Most consumers now choose their banking partner based on mobile and online banking capabilities, with 40 percent of consumers saying it was the most important factor, while only 27 percent cite the convenience of physical branch locations as the most important factor.” – Beth Johnson, chief experience officer at Citizens

3 questions on implementing AI with Beth Johnson, chief experience officer at Citizens

Ah, the aroma of digital transformation is in the air! And of course, one classic way to speed up services is to sprinkle some AI into the cauldron. 

Why is the use of chatbots and AI important for banks today? How has Citizens been leveraging AI and how has it been leveraging chatbots?

Emerging technology like AI can offer a smoother customer journey - if implemented correctly. Chatbots are a great example of this in practice because they can facilitate seamless, live 24/7 customer service. Automation is a critical part of the digital experience for consumers and businesses, and our research found that AI and big data are paramount in helping to see around corners and anticipate their future needs. By leveraging these technologies, banks can eliminate tedious, time-consuming tasks and free employees up to offer their advice and expertise. We have great colleagues who can offer meaningful customer-facing experiences and address more human-centered decision making and problem-solving activities.

What has Citizens done to improve chatbots and AI?

We've invested in and implemented a lot of robotics technology. For example, we're using chatbots in our call centers to reduce the call volume and be more efficient. We’ve implemented Robotic Process Automation (RPA) that allows us to automate some of the back-end processes in our operations groups as well, so they can avoid a lot of the manual work they did in the past.

What are the biggest challenges that banks are facing today with this technology?

Security remains a primary concern. At Citizens, we are focused on providing a safe digital experience and educating customers on the risks and how they can take precautions to help them stay protected. It’s important to carefully explain the benefits of automation to customers and partners to maintain the relationships that are critical to our continued success.

What we’re reading

Valentine’s Day is in the air: new challenger bank Coupl is launching in India (Fintech Futures)

Senior Oliver Wyman adviser joins Credit Suisse as vice chairman of investment banking (Reuters)

Could SAFE Banking, Congressman Ed Perlmutter’s marijuana banking bill, pass the senate? (The Denver Channel)

From crypto and DeFi to platform business models – here are some trends changing the banking model (The Financial Brand)

Could Monzo be entering the investment and wealth market? (FT)

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