In brief

In brief

  • The pandemic can already be seen as a watershed in the evolution of banking, thanks to a confluence of trends that are reshaping the industry.
  • COVID-19 has caused banks to become more proactive, to question their long-held assumptions, and to become more adaptive and innovative.
  • Instead of looking backwards at their progress, they are more likely today to be looking forward at the opportunities that lie ahead.
  • We’ve identified the 10 trends we believe will be most influential in disrupting banking in 2022 and enabling an exciting new future for banking.

"I see an incredible future for banking. I see this as a discontinuity, a point in time that we're going to recognize, looking back, as the moment when everything changed fundamentally. It’s going to be a different world going forward."

— MICHAEL ABBOTT, Senior Managing Director – Global Banking Lead

History is rich with watershed moments, most of which are only obvious in hindsight. For banking, however, the pandemic is a demarcation point that is apparent in real time.

Banks in 2021 abandoned the reactive posture they had assumed in the wake of the Great Recession. They became proactive and started to question many long-held assumptions. They discovered they could transform far more quickly and radically than they’d supposed.

They are also shifting the focus of their digital innovation from enhancement to invention. The signs of this are all around us, as banks abandon yesterday’s mindsets to reimagine banking from a blank slate.

Michael Abbott, our head of global banking, has been closely studying the forces that have made the pandemic a watershed. These are the 10 trends he sees poised to shape the banking industry in 2022.

Banking Top 10 Trends for 2022

1. Everyone wants to be a super-app

Super-apps are dominating more aspects of the digital world and human interaction. Banks face a high-stakes choice to compete or collaborate.

2. Green gets real

As ESG concerns grow, banks are being urged to become guardians of our planet. There will be costs—but the returns are sure to make it worthwhile.

3. Innovation makes a comeback

To keep up with fintechs and other competitors, banks are rediscovering their creative mojo and asking a simple, powerful question: “Why not?”

4. Fees… a magical mystery tour

“Free” products from digital-only challengers and BNPL firms are forcing banks to be more transparent—and more creative—with fee structures.

5. The digital brain gets a caring heart

Banks are looking for ways to have meaningful conversations with customers in digital spaces. Technology like AI can help make the human connection.

6. Digital currencies head for college

With crypto currencies here to stay, experiments like CBDCs are gathering momentum. The search is on for use cases that prove the economic benefits.

7. Smart operations put zero in their sights

Artificial intelligence and machine learning in banking now surpass humans in some tasks. Applying this tech will bring zero waste operations within reach.

8. Payments: anywhere, anytime … and now anyhow

The next payments revolution will stem from open networks, which empower banks to reimagine their payments offerings for newly-demanding customers.

9. Banks get on the road again

The search for growth will include international markets in 2022. Expect cross-border players to seek out digital banks positioned to attack.

10. The war for talent intensifies

The pandemic disrupted the supply chain for banks’ most critical asset: talent. Competition is rising. Winners will transform themselves as employers.

View All

You can find more detail in the full Banking Top 10 Trends for 2022 report.

To see where you’re going, it helps to know where you’ve been. Michael Abbott and Alan McIntyre discuss the hits and misses of our Top 10 Banking Trends from years past. Watch the thought-provoking and fun video below.

Accenture Banking Top 10 Trends: A look back

View Transcript

Frequently asked questions

We believe that the outbreak of COVID-19 was an inflection point for the industry. The specific future of banking is impossible to predict, but many of the most powerful forces shaping that future can be closely tracked. They include the influence of digital tools like machine learning and cryptocurrency, the role of industry outsiders in driving banking innovation, and the growing willingness of banks to challenge their own deepest assumptions.

Digital disruption, rising competition, regulatory change and post-pandemic economic fluctuations are all important issues in the banking industry today. Tomorrow’s winners will take steps to not only mitigate or manage these issues—they will find creative, disruptive ways to address them proactively.

Among other applications, artificial intelligence (AI) can help banks provide personalized advice to customers at scale, aggregate and analyze customer data for insights, and improve the efficiency of middle- and back-office operations.

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