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Forum discusses technology in the future of financial services

May 31, 2018

Brandon Allison, Policy Analyst, Payments, Canadian Credit Union Association

The Mobey Day Forum in Toronto brought speakers and delegates together to discuss current and future technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and changing spending habits and consumer needs in finance.

Two of the main themes to come out of this forum were:

  • Technology is so deeply imbedded in all facets of life that society will have to change around it
  • Changing spending habits, and consumer needs have made it necessary to develop new ways of banking
The speed at which technology moves today makes it all but impossible for culture and institutions to keep up.

The implementation of Artificial Intelligence in the form of “robo-advisors” or “chatbots” has altered the way in which consumers conduct everyday personal banking. It has created a market that focuses on speed and efficiency over customer service. The takeaway for financial institutions is that customer service is not always about a personal touch. For many, customer service lets consumers skip a visit to a branch. AI looks to solve this problem by providing consumers with increased functionality to complete day-to-day banking from their smartphone.

These shifts in the way we think about personal finance come on the heels of a generational shift in the workforce (it is estimated that by 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce). One discussion at the forum focused on the perceived excitement that this generation feels in using technology companies such as Google or Amazon for their financial needs as opposed to convetional banks. There appears to be a developing mistrust in established financial institutions that has created a market for new Fintechs to capitalize on.

The forum highlighted the fact that consumer needs, behaviour and spending habits share an intimate relationship with technology. There was a suggestion that new financial products and services must be designed for the social conditions of the future, not today. This means that financial institutions need to consider their future demographic and how they intend to create products and services to meet its needs.