The beginning of a new year always sees a swathe of articles and reports predicting how finance and the economy could be set to change. Yet, after more than a year marred with the global economic crisis and the lowest interest rates in history – it seems that savings is set for more changes than usual. So what’s on the horizon for banking?
1. Online Banking Growth
Despite the fact that online banking has been around for 12 years now, 2010 could be the it really explodes. According to Banking Times, this time last year 22 million adults were using the internet to check balances, move money and look at statements, while currently more than 41 million are said to be doing so. With savers eager to search around for the best rates of interest, many may be eager to turn to online to get better returns on their cash. This coupled with faster broadband in more areas is only likely to push this growth even more.
2. Mobile Banking Growth
Similarly, mobile banking also looks likely to hit new levels of popularity this year. After O2 Money was launched last year with the collaboration between Natwest and O2, Orange are set to enter the mobile banking market with the help of Barclaycard and the Orange Credit Card. The launch of the card is the first step as Orange and Barclaycard develop their contactless mobile phone payment scheme, and users will receive reward points for every £1 they spend.
3. New Era of Trust/Transparency
With the onset of new ways to bank and the heightened competition within the industry, the way banks treat their customers may also be set to change quite significantly. As we climb out of the recessionary times, reports conducted by a number of organisations including Which? and the Future of Banking Commission are being compiled in order to give the industry and the government some direction as to how it can be reformed. So far, notions of trust and transparency are tipped to be the buzzwords of the year – with 77 percent of consumers stating that the industry should aim to reinstate customer trust as its New Year’s Resolution.
4. Bank Break-Ups
This last point is a little more speculative, and is likely to be dependent on the outcome of this year’s general election. Quoted at telegraph.co.uk, Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, said: “The age of universal banking has to come to an end. We cannot afford mistakes in the City of London to hold a gun to the head of the rest of the economy.” With reform for the banking industry proving a worthy focus of many opposition election campaigns, and even Alistair Darling’s pledge to strive for coordination on a global level, perhaps the new year will see more smaller banks instead of fewer bigger ones.