In brief

In brief

  • Our new Banking as a Living Business report examines how banks can become hyper-relevant, driving growth in a low-growth environment.
  • We discuss the evolution that makes Banking as a Living Business effective in drawing in more consumers and better at converting interactions into sales.
  • Eight enablers of Banking as a Living Business—powered by data and advanced technology platforms—equip banks to successfully pivot business models.

Traditional banking industry strategies for growth are struggling to keep their promise. The average operating income growth rate across the top 100 banks globally by total assets was one percent (based on three-year CAGR, 2014-2017 in U.S. dollars). Even in such a low-growth environment, igniting growth is possible. But only for those banks that truly understand and meet the imperative for customer hyper-relevance, winning at the point where customers and prospects evaluate their buying options. We call this Banking as a Living Business, where a bank focuses on deeply-personalized experiences to be hyper-relevant in the eyes of customers across multiple physical and digital channels.

The average operating income growth rate across the top 100 banks globally by total assets was 1%.*

*Source: Accenture research analysis on S&P Global Market Intelligence data

The evolution of Banking as a Living Business

The spark for igniting growth is the way in which Banking as a Living Business operates. It can make good on every interaction to engage with and sell to consumers by taking on three market positions: become a Trusted Financial Services Advisor and progressively create ecosystem gateways, namely being an Orchestrator of Ecosystems and being a Participant in Ecosystems “On GAFA*”. By combining these three in a single gravitation force that draws in more consumer interaction and better converts on that interaction—empowered by eight key enabling capabilities—banks can maximize revenue growth well into the future.

A fundamental transformation is happening in the Banking sector

Banks are moving to a Digital Driven Economy and an Open Ecosystem business model, as a variety of companies like Salesforce, partner to provide a much richer and wider customer experience. This means companies will start fulfilling the financial customer needs across different segments that incumbent banks and insurers cannot satisfy. Also, financial institutions will move from a Financial Life Management approach to another that looks to serve the customer in all aspects, while interacting with them in relevant life moments.

Banking as a Living Business: Evolving beyond being a trusted financial services advisor


  1. Trusted Financial Services Advisor as a growth pre-requisite
    As a Trusted Financial Services Advisor at the center of a growth-inducing banking universe, banks deliver relevant financial advice and traditional services—mortgages, wealth management, credit cards, consumer loans, payments and so forth—in best-of-digital ways. Here, banking is a thoroughly modern machine that offers speed, convenience and simplicity in real time on the customer’s preferred channels. Banks can shine brightly in this area, meeting customer expectations in the moment better than others and maintaining that advantage (in terms of conversions and loyalty) even as customers’ needs evolve.
  2. Orchestrator of Ecosystems to become hyper-relevant
    A bank-controlled platform, this ecosystem merges its customer journeys with other providers—for example, obtaining a mortgage with house hunting, legal services or relocation services. These are typically “life moment” areas in which banks have traditionally played an essential yet supporting role, such as starting a family or improving health. The bank acts as an aggregator under a bank-branded platform, consolidating needs and information from multiple accounts.
  3. Meaningful Participant in Ecosystems “On GAFA” to accelerate journey to hyper-relevance
    This way of banking explores growth opportunities and origination of bank products within third-party ecosystems that lie beyond the boundaries of the traditional banking domain. Customers can access their bank, in real time, while on other platforms to make buying decisions and purchases. Here, banks package and make available financial services on platforms controlled by others. They also package and sell digital services that are native to the financial services industry to help ecosystem participants improve their business, such as algorithms, data and platforms for processes such as Know Your Customer, risk scoring and digital identification.

Enablers of hyper-relevance and growth

Banks will need to focus on and activate key enablers of Banking as a Living Business to stimulate growth and increase Return on Equity. These range from a mobile-first approach, an application programming interface factory and AI-powered experiences to digital products and services. Fundamental to most of the enablers are flexible and scalable technology platforms that help banks respond and adapt quickly. Based on our experience and analysis, banks can aspire to achieve a number of key performance metrics, including double-the-market revenue growth and double the customer acquisition rate.

We are helping banks reap such rewards. Contact us to see how we can help you.

There is room for banks to achieve double-the-market growth, despite the industry dynamics.

Piercarlo Gera​​

Global Managing Director – Accenture Financial Services​

Alessandro Secchi​

Offering Development Lead – Accenture Financial Services

Luca Gagliardi

Senior Principal – Accenture Research


Beyond Digital: How can banks meet customer demands
Global banking industry outlook

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