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The 4 Plays of Strategic Success for Banks and Credit Unions in 2024

By Marc DeCastro, Research Director – Consumer Banking Engagement Strategies at IDC

It seems every year the banking industry must plan to overcome “something,” and that “something” often seems like it is too daunting of a task, and much more extreme than that previous year’s “something.”  What is often lost during the elusive process of trying to plan for the next big thing, is what do we focus on today?  How can we take the lessons learned from previous industry challenges and put it to good use to improve the customer and employee experience?

Before unveiling the 4 Plays of Strategic Success for 2024, it is important to understand that there needs to be a blueprint for success within each individual institution that takes into consideration both the short-term and long-term objectives, and how technology will assist in achieving success in the overall strategy.   The term transformation has been around for a while, and it is really more about modernization and recognizing the shift that we are operating in a digital-first world, and our focus must be on the ongoing investment, capabilities and technologies required to run a digital business.  This does not mean we are digital only, far from it, but recognizing that almost everything we do begins by the customer or an employee on a digital device is indicative of where we are in 2024.

When developing your successful blueprint for 2024…
  • First, ensure that you fully understand your strategic priorities, which are the things you expect to accomplish over an extended period of time to achieve your unique digital mission.
  • Second, to support your strategic priorities, it is important to develop several programs that align with each priority.  Each program represents a long-term plan of action to achieve the strategic priorities through a series of use cases. 
  • And finally, the use cases. These are discretely funded efforts supporting a particular program objective. Use cases can be thought of as specific projects employing line-of-business and IT resources including hardware, software and IT services.  Each use case will also have its own unique horizon for implementation – some will be short term, meaning to be completed in 2024, others will be mid-term in the next few years while others will be more long term that are likely to change course as technology and priorities change.
A key priority in 2024 will be to better align the products and services offered by the financial institution with the lifestyles, needs, and interaction preferences of the account holder.

Whether it is a retail consumer, a small business client, or a large corporation, there is a growing desire to align external partners that can add value and improve the customer’s experience. 

Banks and credit unions are implementing several technologies and channel strategies to keep up with digital interactions across multiple channels and are preparing to extend their reach even further with the edge investments, artificial intelligence (AI) – including generative AI and machine learning – and the use of open APIs that are all tied together by internal and external data. 

By eliminating the barriers between modes of communication with their customers and partners and providing employees with improved tools and technology, institutions will be better positioned to expand their relationships through advanced and adjacent products and services. 

The specific 4 plays in 2024 include:

  • Hyper-personalized account holder experiences that guide the account holder quickly to the solution that fits their needs at their specific juncture on their financial journey, and allows them to open, fund and begin using their new product or service quickly and securely.
  • Leverage the industry ecosystem to offer solutions that are more efficient to deploy rather than developing in-house and do not necessarily warrant an entirely separate customer application or solution.
  • Centralize your data, both internally and externally, to better understand your account holders and prospects, to retain customers that might be at risk, and is able to be analyzed to create marketing messages tailored to individuals’ current needs across all channels – including in the branch.
  • Continue to be a steward regarding the safeguarding of personal information, whether it be protecting them from bad actors in the digital world, or protecting each individual transaction.  Continue to build on the importance of trust as the foundation for the banking industry.

For more, download The 2024 Playbook: Budgeting & Strategies for Financial Institutions.

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