The pandemic may have accelerated digital transformation across the world of financial services , but behind the scenes, banks and lenders still face a significant tech debt, and many organizations are committed to continuing the innovation.

That’s for good reason. Today’s consumers increasingly expect a digital-first customer experience. The days of visiting a local bank branch to access financial services and products are fading away. Fintechs have risen to the occasion, transforming the market and meeting the growing digital demand. For traditional banks and lenders, waiting to innovate is no longer an option—it’s a must to remain competitive.

So what comes next? Here’s a look at the technology trends that stand to impact and transform financial services as we advance.

1. The rapid rise of low-code/no-code solutions

According to a recent survey from TechRepublic, nearly half of companies are already using low-code/no-code solutions (LCNC). The same report also notes that among companies not using LCNC solutions, one in five plans to begin within the year. The driving force behind this trend is the global shortage of digital skills, from software development to data analytics to information security. The pool of technical talent has long been smaller than the demand, and the Great Resignation has only exacerbated the problem. For instance, 75% of software developers  report they’re currently looking for other jobs. Amidst this ongoing talent shortage, there’s another stressor—the need to deploy technology products to market faster and faster. LCNC solutions answer these challenges by making doing so easier and quicker. The technology democratizes software development, allowing business users—or citizen developers—in different functions to design and deploy applications. With the skills gap likely to continue, the interest in LCNC solutions will too. LCNC solutions enable financial institutions to keep pace with technology changes and meet the digital demand, even with limited technical resources.

2. Leveraging data will require adding value—and engendering trust

Financial service organizations have used advanced data analytics to provide consumers with more personalized products. And consumers have been on board as long as they see the benefit. For example, a 2021 consumer survey by Experian showed that 42% of consumers would share personal data, and 56% would share contact information, if it improves their experience. However, this research speaks to growing tension between consumers and financial service providers. The first want more personalized services, but they are also more selective about which companies they share data with. Consider a recent McKinsey study that revealed that 44% of consumers don’t fully trust digital services. As we advance, organizations that want to build and keep consumer trust will need to be thoughtful about the data they ask for and increasingly transparent about how they plan to use it.

3. Doubling down on AI but looking for ROI in the process

AI has proven helpful in multiple ways, from powering recommendation engines and chatbots within the retail world to improving fraud analysis and prevention in the banking industry. But there’s still so much more organizations can do, especially with the AI they already have. Financial service and fintech companies have funneled massive resources into AI solutions. However, only 20% of AI models are ever used in widespread deployment. What’s more, the current average return on AI investments hovers around 1%. This year, expect to see more organizations examining the ROI of AI-powered technology and looking to get more from the investments they’ve made. Technology partners can help by identifying additional opportunities for AI models to drive customer engagement, validate credit scoring, and protect businesses against fraud.

4. Banking-as-a-Service will yield even more choices and more competition

There have long been high barriers that protect traditional financial service organizations from much new competition. But the advent of open APIs and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) is knocking these barriers down, yielding a considerable influx of startups that provide banking-like services. And this wave of new fintech has captured consumer interest. Consumers have shown that they’re willing to try financial service products from an array of providers; they’re not married to sticking with traditional banks. In fact, 27% of global consumers  have relationships with neobanks, and 40% report using financial apps outside of their primary banking app. However, the gold rush towards BaaS will yield a few winners and a lot of losers. The question for the near-term is who will survive in this crowded market. Consumers will also begin to figure out what makes sense in terms of how many financial organizations they want to connect with and when to say enough is enough.

5. Embedded finance is the new black in retail

In a similar theme, the influx of embedded finance products into retail experiences continues to gain traction. There’s only more to come. Multiple leading retailers, both longstanding and new D2C brands, have incorporated Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) payment options into their checkout process, and shoppers are rapidly adopting these new payment methods. One-third of consumers report they’ve used BNPL before . Though the payment method still lags far behind other forms of credit, awareness of BNPL and other embedded finance solutions is rising, especially among younger consumers. Looking forward, expect to see embedded finance make inroads not only with more retailers but also across other industries such as hospitality or entertainment.

These pressing tech trends are reshaping financial services. In the process, they’re bringing new solutions to consumers and new opportunities to banks and non-traditional lenders. Organizations that keep pace with these trends will lay the foundation for their next generation of customers as well as the future of their business.

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