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Case Study
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Case Study

How privacy and consent built customer trust for a financial institution

A privacy initiative at a financial institution helped it go beyond regulatory requirements, build brand loyalty and increase market share.


How can privacy drive public trust?

Customers increasingly expect data-driven experiences from financial services organizations, but they also want control over that data.

Data consent and preference management is a key area of focus for every organization that handles customer data. Whether it operates in financial services or another industry, such as retail, health care, education, etc., an organization must comply with privacy laws (such as the California Consumer Privacy Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in the US, and the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU).

Regardless of the industry or geographic location, they also need to keep up with changes in regulation and meet customer demand for control over how their data is used. European regulators, in particular, are concerned about the misuse of customer data, especially by Big Tech firms; a new EU law that came into force in October 2022, the Digital Services Act, covers this among other issues affecting online customers.

The financial institution engaged the EY team to meet their dual objective of not only providing a mechanism to comply with emerging US and international regulations, but also to help enable its broader personalization roadmap aimed at increasing share of wallet through targeted and personalized experiences.

Customers should be able to control what information they share with their financial services provider and how it is used, and organizations need to have systems in place to inform customers when and how their data is used for marketing or other purposes.

Ultimately, it is a question of trust. Consumers are increasingly skeptical of brands using their data, especially if they can’t see how it is being collected, stored, used and shared. This transparency is especially important in financial services, where customers are likely to share more of their personal data than they do with retailers, for example.

At the same time, consumers increasingly expect financial services organizations to address their wants and needs seamlessly, no matter the channel or point of interaction. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this demand for hyper-personalized, connected digital experiences. Those experiences are driven by data, so this provides opportunities for organizations to use data management as a tool to service customers at the right time, in the right place, and in the most relevant way to them as an individual.

It was against this background that a large US financial institution engaged EY to build a strategic consent and preference management solution to enable its privacy program. The requirement was not only to provide a mechanism to comply with emerging US and international regulations, but also could help enable their broader personalization roadmap aimed at increasing share of wallet through targeted and personalized experiences.


Privacy and beyond

The EY team deployed a solution that helped the organization go beyond privacy as a compliance exercise to build consumer confidence.

The solution implemented by the EY team leverages the Consent and Preference utility that is part of the EY Nexus business transformation platform. The Consent and Preference utility is designed to boost customer confidence by unifying and applying consumer privacy choices and automatically enforcing policy-driven rules to satisfy compliance obligations, which is key to unlocking an organization’s growth ambitions and personalization agenda. The consumer’s preferences are overlaid with adherence to the relevant privacy laws, which can vary across countries and between US states.

The core solution stores and manages consumer-facing consent and preference choices, and includes a data suppression engine that determines permissible outreach, data sharing and use of data for analytical purposes. This utility centrally manages granular consent and preference choices to understand what channels, products and data are covered, and for how long consent has been given. Through the collection of granular consent choices there is an opportunity to better understand customers and their needs, and to reimagine how to engage with customers in a way that delivers meaningful benefit and value.

One of the benefits of this solution is that it returns a decision in real-time and scrubs the data set based on both the consumer’s choices and applicable data usage regulations. This means there’s no danger of a customer being contacted despite having specified that they don’t want to be. More significantly, it removes the risk of the organization being fined for non-compliance because it hasn’t honored the customer’s stated preferences.

By leveraging the pre-built Nexus Consent and Preference utility, the EY team was able to help the client go into production for the Phase 1 minimum viable product release in less than six months.


Using transparency to build trust

The client understood that giving customers control over how their data is used helps to increase brand loyalty.

Kathleen Calabro, Global Product Leader for EY Nexus, explains that this implementation demonstrates that data preference management is about more than just box-ticking. “The compliance element is extremely important, of course,” she says, “but above all, it’s about putting customers more in control of how their data is shared; this builds customer confidence, which in turn increases brand loyalty.”

To build on this loyalty, in line with the client’s strategic requirements, the solution is underpinned by an architecture that can support sophisticated data-driven marketing techniques to deliver tailored, contextualized communications to customers that honor their preferences and choices.

Over the long term, it will serve as an enterprise-wide privacy and strategic consent solution that connects all business lines to accelerate the speed of compliance with evolving data privacy regulations and policies. It could also enhance personalization and data-driven marketing efforts by introducing mechanisms to better understand customer needs through granularity in preference choices and drive customer lifetime value and brand equity in the long term. The goal is to create value for all stakeholders, from the company’s branch officers and legal and marketing teams to its customers, in the moments that matter.

Amanda Lynch, Global Financial Services Product Leader for EY Nexus, says: “The organization is more digitally savvy than many of its competitors. It’s anticipating developments and looking at the bigger picture – seeing this as a strategic opportunity and as a way to further differentiate itself in advance of new and evolving regulations. It aims to be a leader in this space, and the work the EY team has done is contributing to this and helping to give their customers new choices and more control.”

Of course, data privacy and consumer preferences are important for all organizations that handle consumer data, and the solution the EY team implemented has been designed to help any company that is struggling to manage these issues. It promises to help support the global push for companies to be more open with regards to data, and to protect and grow customer trust.

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