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IT high on agenda as more banks create innovation plans

Majority of global retail banks say they are becoming more innovative and IT is an important component in achieving this

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Over three-quarters of global retail banks believe they are becoming more innovative and IT is seen as an important component in achieving this.

According to research sponsored by IT services supplier Infosys and carried out by banking association Efma, the proportion of banks with innovation strategies in place has increased from 37% to 60% over the past five years.

Some 77% of banks surveyed are increasing investment in innovation. The same study last year revealed that 70% of respondents were planning to increase their spending on innovation, with the mobile and online channels seen as the most important delivery channels for innovation. In 2009, the height of the credit crunch, the study revealed only 13% of banks had increased investment in innovation.

This year’s study reveals that mobile innovation is gathering pace, with 77% of banks deploying or planning to deploy a mobile wallet. To improve customer experiences, almost half (45%) are already using or planning to invest in gamification, and 61% of banks currently allow or plan to allow customers to do some form of product personalisation.

It also revealed that banks are trying to overcome the barrier to innovation that legacy systems create. Large and medium-sized banks said one of the main barriers to innovation is legacy IT systems, and 58% said the ability to deploy new systems in components would allow them to innovate more.

“This year’s study indicates a global convergence of innovation practices around overcoming the barriers presented by legacy technology and ensuring that customer experience channels are optimised. Many retail banks are now creating innovation strategies and underpinning them with investment, which tells us that global economies are beginning to recover," said Patrick Desmares, secretary general at Efma.

"As banks once again target growth process, channel and operational innovation, this will only increase in importance," he said.

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