Focusing on customers is considered key to success
But how can they tap into new sources of revenue? Most of the banks (60%) agree that a stronger focus on customers is key. Banks that are able to place their customers even more clearly at the center of what they do will count among the winners in the long term. Only a small portion (19%) believe that purely product-focused measures will suffice to generate additional or new revenue streams. This assessment suggests that banks will base their activities even more on customers’ needs and demands in the future, rather than on the range of products they offer.
Clamping down on costs in the near term has to happen before a long-term reorientation can take place
Although the banks recognize that they need to fundamentally overhaul their business models, the focus will once again be on cost-effectiveness in the near term. 39% of banks (prior year: 32%) see costs as a priority issue for the next 12 months. This is the highest figure for the last three years. The stronger focus on costs is also a factor in the debate surrounding future compensation in the banking sector. Almost three quarters (71%) of the banks surveyed indicated that the compensation paid in the financial sector will be lower in the future.
Sustainability has so far only played a bigger role in financial investing, not lending
Sustainable investment has become more of an issue for investors and customers in recent years. The banks largely agree that this issue is more than just hype, and that the sustainable investment trend will persist in the long term (81%). At least a slim majority of banks (55%) expect to be able to play a significant role in the fight against climate change. It is therefore not surprising that 70% of banks intend to increase the range of sustainable investments they offer in the future. Although these survey results show that banks have discovered the topic of sustainable investment for themselves, it seems that this insight has not yet been fully incorporated into their advisory and investment processes or their reporting. The topic of sustainability is a mandatory component of the reporting process for fewer than a third of banks (30%), and just 9% reported that they inform their customers about the sustainability (ESG scores) of their portfolios through regular reports.
The issue of sustainability does not currently play an important role in loan financing by banks, however. Only a minority of 19% of the banks surveyed said that they take ESG factors into consideration when lending, and only 25% had any intention of taking these criteria into account in the future.
Bank customers are largely satisfied with their banks, but only two out of three believe that banks always act in their customers’ interests
The vast majority of bank customers (85%) are largely satisfied with their bank’s services. This is a very encouraging result for Swiss banks, and underscores the high quality of the service and advice they provide. However, the picture is less positive for the banks when it comes to the question of whether banks act in their customers’ interests.