Banks will harness social media technology to help them serve customers but this will entail more than just jumping on the hype of existing websites such as Twitter and Facebook.
A behind closed doors meeting at the Financial Services Club in London last week revealed an appetite for social media in banking. It also revealed that banks have a lot to learn.
Six panellists from banking, technology and social media backgrounds discussed the future of social media applications in banking.
Social media will help banks build trust and communities of customers. It will also support customer services. But to scale the use of social media up to fit the needs of banks and put it in the corporate requires careful planning.
Household names such as Twitter and Facebook were not designed for corporate use and are only the tip of the social media iceberg, say experts.
The principle of social media is a good one and "there will be a bonus for banks that experiment early with social media", according to one attendee.
"Banks will have to get used to the idea that there will be some customers will want to use the web," says another.
But banks are not as flexible as many businesses due to regulations and legacy IT systems, according to the meeting's attendees.
But banks cannot ignore it and should already be at least monitoring it. One source says, "corporates are already monitoring data feeds to see what people are talking about through mechanical scanning of social media feeds".
Others say:"In financial services we are still in the educational phase" and "two banks ask me to build a community for them every week."