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Retail Banking: Reinventing a Profession

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It is time we talked about the future and everything that comes with the next generation, including retail banking. However, before we swiftly cast our gaze over past and present times, we mustn’t forget the following notion: it has always been known that a career in the banking industry earns you big bucks. I mean, the financial world is a ruthless place and people can get substantially rewarded for their efforts, especially in the case of investment bankers, mortgage brokers and foreign exchange traders.

But where does the average retail banker stand at? Also, when you choose retail banking as a profession, how much do you actually earn?

Furthermore, what is so special about retail banking? As the legitimate child of medieval money lending activities, it is a little bit more “human-based”. And because it deals with people directly, it requires a little bit more…feeling. And maybe it’s heart that sets retail bankers apart, because the true retail bankers of nowadays actually choose to stand behind their customers, big bonuses in place or no bonuses at all. You might think of it as simple, but a retail banker’s heart might just be the reason why target-based bonus systems and mock-up cookie jars no longer work. With retail bankers, it’s not about the big bucks. It is ultimately about earning the customer’s trust.

People are claiming that the classic banker has turned into a mythical figure throughout time.

But what if the classical retail banker made a comeback? Sure, he may not be fit the archaic role of olden times, as the retail banker of today would have to take ownership of modern age instruments and tools to further perform his/her job.

These, in turn, could actually help him/her restore the love for the profession he/she is supposed to enjoy. And maybe the mirage of bonus-based pay, as well as the promise of fortune, has stripped him/her away of that, but there might just be a glimmer of hope for today’s genuine retail banker.

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Whether hypothetical or not, there is this promise of re-invention, as far as retail banking goes. Maybe it’s time that the next generation of retail bankers was given his/her individual judgement back, while automated credit scoring technologies would be re-designed, so as to ultimately assist and not actually decide. In view of recent trends, a suppositional change in retail banking professions would have to consider the following:

  • Digital multilingualism: The modern age science of attracting and retaining customers is based on a variety of digital channels that use and synthesize data. This is why the re-invented retail banker would have to be fluent in data analytics. This data custodian role would enable newly-defined retail bankers to effectively collect customer data and fuse together a tailored mix of banking products, to best suit the customer’s needs.
  • Real-time counseling: not only are there multiple channels dedicated to customer data collection in today’s banking world, but there are also a multitude of communication channels that have fundamentally changed human interactions. The modern retail banker will have to capitalize on his/her abilities to communicate his professional advice, by spicing up his customer engagement approaches, so as to deliver real-time guidance and assistance.
  • Advisory craftsmanship: The newly defined retail banker will have to perfect his speech, in such a way that it takes the form of personal advice once again, instead of the sales pitch that it is today. Up-coming generations are utterly knowledgeable when it comes to trickery and deceit, that is why modern age retail bankers will have to work on carrying themselves professionally in a candid dialogue that assists customers with their genuine challenges and needs.
  • E-commerce artistry: Electronic commerce is at its peak. That is why the new age retail banker will have to own the basic knowledge that comes with technologies such as online transaction processing, electronic funds transfers and automated data collection systems. Interpreting basic e-commerce data will assist retail bankers with designing their customer-centric strategies, as well as, developing custom-designed baskets of products for their clients.
  • Advanced analytics: The modern age retail banker has to return to his roots. He has to re-establish himself as the expert and judicious figure of the bank that he represents, as the financial adviser he once was, as the friend and financial guardian that the customer needs. By being granted access to all of the customer’s data – individual savings accounts, personal loans and loan re-payment commitments, e-commerce behaviors, socializing activities and digital inclinations – the newly defined retail banker will be allowed to use his advanced analytics skills to devise a strategy that builds on a unique, authentic relationship with the bank’s customer.
  • Modern age performance metrics: Targets have always prejudiced a retail banker’s identity and pride. Replacing these targets with performance metrics that monitor the quality of client built relationships and maybe the quantity of products sold that suited the customers’ needs, might just be the right motivators for modern retail bankers to start loving their jobs again.
  • Virtual customer consoles: Customer relationship management solutions that synthesize big data and digital customer behaviors, in order to provide the modern retail banker with the CRM tool he needs to best understand and relate to the customer’s needs. Virtual dashboards and customer databases, complemented by friendly interfaces that enable customer data to stand out.

We can only but imagine a reinvention of the retail banker profession, as we have yet to rediscover the retail banker’s role of old. And that was not about self-interest and bonus-driven performances. Once upon a time, it was about working together to be the financial advisers that future generations actually need and trust with their money.

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