Financial Services Ireland


2021 Global Banking Outlook

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Can banks turn today’s disruption into tomorrow’s transformation?

In last year’s Global Banking Outlook, we forecast challenges to banks that could threaten their revenue generation. What we didn’t expect was a pandemic. Covid-19 has been an unprecedented challenge for all sectors across Financial Services, including banking, but the industry has shown a remarkable ability to manage change and to play a leading role in sustaining the economy. Our 2021 Global Banking Outlook, based on research from our global banking team, suggests that banks now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate transformation and cultivate the innovation that will build a more successful future.

As we emerge from what we expect to be the last stages of Covid-19 there is a heightened sense of activity from home offices across the banking industry.

The 2008 global financial crisis drove most banks to ruthless deleveraging, and under close regulatory scrutiny, what became a uniformity of strategy to reduce costs and seek to stabilise returns for investors.

Banks locally and globally are now starting to look and behave differently. Technology investments are being leveraged and growth opportunities like sustainable financing are driving banks in different directions.

Our 2021 Global Banking Outlook is a useful summary of the financial context but also of those business opportunities. Regulatory scrutiny will remain but banks are now better at embedding regulatory considerations into business decisions. Regulation has been a significant burden but also sets a high wall of protection for the industry that big technology is still shy of. It will be an interesting time for local and global banks and for those who advise and observe the industry.

The report outlines key actions to help banks accelerate successful transformation, and focuses on the following areas:

  • Beyond the pandemic: creating opportunities from uncertainty
  • Building a more resilient enterprise to enable agility
  • Rethinking cost management as the foundation of profitability
  • Enabling greater customer-centricity through data

The last decade has seen banks and non-banking players lead the race to innovate, through outstanding customer experiences and agile innovation. But the pandemic has demonstrated that scale and profitability are also necessary to the resilience required to survive in difficult conditions.

Now, traditional banks have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate transformation, to take the lead in both the race to innovate and the race to greater scale.

Download the report below and, if you have a question about any of the issues raised, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

You may also be interested in attending our webcast which will discuss the report and share perspectives on what to expect and prepare for in the coming year and beyond.

Cormac Murphy

International Banking & Capital Markets, Sector Leader
Cormac's Full Profile

EY 2021 Global Banking Outlook

Can banks turn today’s disruption into tomorrow’s transformation?

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