AI occupies an important place at the frontier of digital banking


SRM-commissioned consumer survey reveals changes in digital banking habits amid protracted pandemic environment

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, June 22, 2021– (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – SRM (Strategic Resource Management), an independent consulting firm serving financial institutions and other key industries, commissioned a consumer survey late last year to assess changes in banking habits due to the effects of COVID-19. Leveraging the data collected from the study, SRM’s digital practice, and members of the analysis team from SRM Europe assessed how consumer banking behaviors might change or return once pandemic restrictions are lifted.

The survey, conducted among 2,045 American adults in October 2020, with a uniform breakdown by age group, gender, geography and income level, explored how consumers engage with their financial institution six months after the start. of the pandemic. The questions were largely random, some with multiple answers.

The results show that the pandemic has changed banking habits, but the impact is not uniform. There is a distinction between those who use online banking services for information and transaction processing. Among those who use it to process transactions, there is an appetite for banking services using a virtual assistant.

Financial institutions can use these results to understand how their operating model is currently responding to this changing demand and adapting to consumer expectations after the pandemic.

The main results show:

  • The digital revolution is already won. Consumer adoption of online banking app and service channels is leveling off. Only 8% of those surveyed were new to banking through digital channels. Six in 10 respondents perform an average of 2.9 types of banking activity more often online than before COVID-19. Respondents predicted that number would be reduced to 2.3 after the pandemic restrictions were lifted.

  • The Push vs Pull theory wins by a margin. 55% cited health concerns regarding convenience as the reason their banking habits changed during the pandemic. After the pandemic restrictions ended, consumers of all ages predicted they would reduce the use of online banking services to pay their bills (36% to 30%) and make bank transfers (27% to 20%).

  • Offers of financial assistance are heard. 86% of respondents said they had received offers of pandemic help from their bank or credit union, including credit card payment reductions and canceled or deferred student, auto and mortgage loan repayments. Of these, 30% used the assistance offered.

  • The life stage is important for digital banking needs. Different groups of people want different combinations of digital banking features and transaction methods. Survey respondents aged 65 and over experienced relatively no change from those in the early stages of their lives. People aged 18-24 saw the highest numbers of first-time mobile / online use and an increase in sending and receiving money through a mobile payment app. Ranging from 60% of 18-34 versus 25% of 55+, an average of 43% of respondents’ lifestyles became more digital during COVID-19.

  • There is an appetite for apps, but artificial intelligence (AI) is also appealing. There is a perception that AI-enabled virtual assistants are easier to use than online apps. On average, 1 in 5 respondents said they would prefer to use a virtual assistant (Alexa or Google Home, for example) rather than an app for banking. This number is 1 in 3 among the 35-44 age cohort. With more and more consumers working from home, the mobile banking strategies of banks and credit unions may be better combined with those targeting multitasking and voice-command households.

  • Virtual assistants are in the house. As the use of digital banking features level off, virtual assistants are becoming more and more common. 66% (77% for 18-34 year olds, 40% for 55+ year olds) of respondents used a virtual assistant during the pandemic – most often to listen to music, set timers / alarms, search for information and call friends and family. 35-44 year olds have the greatest appetite for using virtual assistants.

  • There is an emerging preference for core banking capabilities through AI channels. Of those who use virtual assistants, 11% already use them for their banking operations, tied with the 10% who now use AI-enabled thermostats. When asked if they would use virtual assistants for banking transactions, 25% responded that they would, but cited more convenience with functional transactions (e.g. checking account balances and requesting appointment) rather than interactive transactions (for example, initiating a loan or obtaining financial advice).

SRM first and second Surveys have asked financial institutions how long they expect the effects of the pandemic to last. Brad Downs, CEO of SRM, said: “In this third survey, our goal was to assess how consumers have progressed in their thinking since the start of the US pandemic restrictions. With the country still recovering from COVID-19, it behooves our advisers to stay prepared with foresight in these critical areas. By collecting this kind of data, we can also be better guides on a longer journey towards improving operational efficiency, whether through the use of automation or other digital tools.

Downs adds, “As we all move forward with reengineering our technology and processes, the ability to react quickly will determine who thrives. On either side of the Atlantic, SRM analysts will continue to research data on financial services and consumer behavior to help organizations navigate what comes next. “

About SRM

SRM (Strategic Resource Management) has helped more than 1,000 financial institutions add $ 3.6 billion in value to their bottom line in areas such as payments, digital transformation, basic processing, artificial intelligence and l operational efficiency. SRM’s decades of experience have reduced costs, increased revenues, increased productivity, and provided customers with a competitive advantage in an environment of constant and accelerating change. Visit for more information and follow LinkedIn and Twitter for timely and relevant information.

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Cristi Murray
678.781.7209 (o)
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Maggie Sage
678.781.7229 (o)
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