FT Survey: 78% say UK banks have “surprised themselves” with their adaptability during COVID-19

FT Survey: 78% say UK banks have "surprised themselves" with their adaptability during COVID-19

Under challenging circumstances, the UK Financial Services industry is showing signs of greater agility and innovation in 2020

Appian published survey results examining the response of the UK banking sector to the coronavirus pandemic, revealing that nearly three-quarters of respondents say their organization has become more innovative as a result.

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The “Innovating in a Crisis: How COVID-19 Changed the Way UK Banks Deliver Core Operations” survey, conducted by FT Focus and supported by Appian, shows that banks are rising to new challenges. 78% of banks have “proven more agile than previously thought” and 72% “have grown more innovative in 2020” according to survey results.

Senior UK banking respondents cited “making sales and winning new business” (73%) as the biggest additional challenge posed by COVID-19, followed by “customer services” (72%), then “risk management and compliance processes” (71%). However, one bank’s challenge appears to be another’s opportunity. Showing that the competitive nature of the market remains despite the crisis, roughly equal proportions of respondents viewed the pandemic and Brexit as opportunities or threats to business. Emerging technologies represented the only factor where respondents achieved more of a consensus, with 57% viewing the use of automation, cloud, and AI as opportunities for growth.

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On how banks are responding to COVID-19:

  • Two-thirds (66%) are planning to cut costs
  • 66% are expecting to increase their automation in response to COVID-19
  • 60% are expecting to increase technology spending

In addition to increased remote working and online development, 82% have accelerated compliance and approvals processes, and 81% are using agile practices to increase the pace of new product or service delivery, suggesting that pre-COVID-19 processes are being sped up.

“COVID-19 has forced the banking industry to rapidly adapt to new challenges. The survey results prove that banks are able to be agile, innovate and implement new technologies when the market demands,” said Mike Heffner, VP, Solutions and Industry Go To Market at Appian. “Although cost cuts are on the horizon for a significant number of UK banks, finding new ways to stay efficient and deliver compliant, effective service has probably never been more of a priority.”

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