A third of consumers would bank with Facebook or Google – really!

Written by on January 13, 2017 in Opinion with 0 Comments

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The news that a third of consumers would consider moving their personal bank account to Google, Amazon or Facebook is truly a sign of the times. It would also be fair to say that it made the inhabitants of DisruptiveViews HQ feel very old.

The survey that produced this incredible set of results was conducted by Accenture in the middle of last year, across 18 countries. And 32,715 people took part in the online survey.

It is difficult, to say the least, to poke holes in that size of sample or profile.

A few short years ago our own (albeit much smaller) survey showed that almost half of the respondents would not trust Facebook with their money – at all.

Within the data, there are even more worrying statistics. The one that stands out for us is how many people (two-thirds) wanted ‘robo’ advice to help them select their financial product.

The only areas where humans were even vaguely in demand were complaint handling and advice about complex products such as mortgages, with over 60% wanting a human to advise them.

Of course the statistics vary from one region to another – in Brazil, half the consumers would switch, in Indonesia, just under half – but the conclusion is very clear.

Traditional banks have failed – in oh so many ways.

Gone, or going, it seems, are the days when we would trust our money to institutions with vast, physical assets and track records stretching back hundreds of years. Gone are the days when you had lunch with your stock broker to discuss your short-term – 10 year – investment plans.

Instead, it seems, we would trust our money to companies just a decade or so old, that are already seeing threats arise that will probably affect their main revenue stream – advertising – and whose valuations are based on very different criteria, and certainly not physical assets.

It also seems that we would trust AI based advice, when AI is still in its infancy and massively over-hyped. Far from being able to predict the mega trends that might save our investments, AI based financial advice is more likely to trigger a catastrophic event. Stock markets have already suffered from software triggering sell orders that have triggered others, which has lead to massive losses.

It is clear that banks did themselves absolutely no favours almost a decade ago when the financial crisis hit. Everyone was shocked at just how arrogant, greedy and foolhardy they were.

It is also clear that they have not learned. Very recently, banks were criticised for lending Uber money from a leveraged pot whose criteria the company did not meet. And they quite clearly have not addressed the very real issue of the legacy systems that lie behind many of their services. We have shared our own experience before.

Let us hope that this trust in the digital players is not misplaced, and not another symptom of the current anti establishment trend.

Otherwise the ice will only get thinner.

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Alex Leslie

About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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