The 2010s are over, the 2020s are here. The last decade has been a highly disruptive decade for the financial sector as a whole with the advent of fintech and ever-increasing digitalization. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that this trend towards digitalization and increased reliance on technology will continue to dominate the industry in 2020.

That’s why we’ve taken the trouble to put together a list of what we think are the most significant trends and challenges for the new year and possibly the new decade.

Seamless Payments

While we’re currently enjoying an era of relatively seamless payments, we believe this is only the beginning. We’re likely to see new and innovative solutions achieved through greater integration of digital services with and increased interoperability between traditional payments systems and emerging payments systems and technologies, such as blockchain and crypto currencies.

At Euro Exim Bank, we’re already gearing for this transformation through our partnership with RippleNet and our reliance on blockchain to settle cross-border trade payments. While the 2010’s saw the rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the 2020s could well see their establishment and coming of age.

Next-Gen Banks & Digital Only Banks

We believe that we’re going to be seeing increased cooperation and partnership between traditional banks and fintech companies for their mutual benefit and survivability. This has already begun, particularly after the full introduction of PSD2 regulations last year. This will lead to greater efficiency, possibly lower transaction costs and enhanced security for customers.

“Digital-Only” banks will likely be a major trend in the 2020s. The technology is finally capable enough and players have already emerged on the scene. Digital only banks and other “digital intermediaries” are now beginning to provide the same or even higher levels of service than traditional banks all with the huge advantage of time savings.

Mobile Apps

It is likely that mobile apps will gain even further traction in 2020. They have become incredibly popular over the last decade and banks should pay attention. Customers want to be engaged with and have access to not just their funds but also to advanced financial tools and mobile apps are a great way to deliver this.

Chatbots, Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence

This may be the holy trinity for creating the most capable and advanced digital assistants and in-app, onsite and online digital assistance. It takes large cadres of personnel to provide high-quality on-demand customer assistance and support 24/7. Automated, AI powered assistants can accomplish this much more effectively and allow human resources to be distributed more efficiently so that only the most critical requests require human intervention.

Robotic process automation also allows for massive time savings with day-to-day internal processes, allowing humans to attend to tasks that actually require human intervention. Contrary to popular belief automation isn’t driving out people, instead it’s allowing people to handle the most important and engaging tasks better.

Big Data

Everybody loves data and this is one of the huge trends of the last decade that’s likely to become even bigger in the 2020s. Data helps service providers, including banks, serve customers better. Using big data, banks can anticipate customer needs better and allocate resources more efficiently.

The Asian Century

The 20th century was coined the American century as the USA was the global centre of commerce, politics and culture. And while the US isn’t in anyway losing its lustre, Asia is certainly rising to shine. This is opening up huge possibilities for the financial sector in Asia and, given the huge amount of development and economic emancipation ongoing in that region, it’s where any bank or fintech company would want to be.

Cybersecurity

As we all migrate to the digital space, it’s becoming more and more of a target for criminals. Cybersecurity threats are on the rise and banks in particular will need to take solid action to ensure the safety of their systems and networks. Everyone from consumers to start-ups, multinational corporations and nation states are vulnerable. Cybersecurity is going to be huge this coming decade and possibly for the rest of this century.

A Final Word The 2020s are going to be exciting. However, every player will need to adapt to survive. Adaptability and success will go hand in hand.