Chris JL, Flickr
Antony Jenkins
Monday, October 31, 2016

Why I want to transform banking

I’ve long believed that banks can leverage technological innovation to offer customers much better, faster and cost-efficient services. Today, after much planning, I’m excited to announce that I’m launching a financial technology business that will aim to build that better banking world – 10x Future Technologies

After many years as a senior bank executive, this might seem like a surprising move. But every day I see the signs of the huge changes that have taken place since I first started out in banking 30 years ago. Back then, I couldn’t have imagined that today’s financial services would give us contactless payments, or let us pay bills on an app, for example. 

Yet despite making life far easier for customers, most of these innovations have not been truly disruptive because they have not much affected the hierarchy of the banking world itself. Customers still use the same banks they have for many years – it’s just that now we can view our account balance on our mobiles, make payments online and use cards abroad. 

There’s still so much more that must be done to ensure that new technologies deliver the best impact possible on the customer experience.

Have you ever received an official bank letter about a financial matter you settled years ago, or been told incorrectly that details on your account are wrong? That’s because the pillars that underpin the existing banking infrastructure are often dated, overlapping and inefficient, and core banking IT systems are sometimes so cumbersome that it’s difficult to get them to talk to one another.

Even if you have a mortgage and a current account with the same bank, for example, the systems that underpin those two services might not effectively communicate with each other. They reduce potential returns for investors, slow down the customer experience and encourage the complicated banking products that make it virtually impossible for customers to compare providers and get the best deal.

I’m convinced that 10x Future Technologies can offer the solution. We’ll provide the technology to enable banks to unify those systems into a centralised interface, creating much better customer service in the process. Our technology will help banks offer more personalised credit cards, loans and accounts, among other products. It’ll also allow them to crack the information hidden in the personal data they hold about their customers, which means they could anticipate when a small business owner might need a more flexible line of credit, or offer personalised mortgages that allow you to overpay to reduce your debt, or skip a payment when you need extra cash at Christmas.

We’ve already assembled a team of top talent working in financial technology, and are in advanced talks with a number of potential major clients. But we’re rapidly expanding and are on the lookout for more exceptional individuals to get involved. Head to the 10x website to find out more.

Transforming the customer experience

I’ve always been excited about the ways new technologies can change our lives. Look at how cloud-based online storage has made working on collaborative projects significantly easier, or how smartphone maps mean you can now find the nearest ATM or supermarket at the touch of a button. 

Yet it’s fair to say that this kind of data innovation has not been fully implemented in banking – and it if were to be, it could transform the customer experience. That’s why introducing new technologies has been a significant part of my career in finance. When I was CEO of Barclays, I made it the first bank to issue all cards with contactless technology, focused on the bank’s digital and app offering and launched the peer-to-peer money transfer platform Pingit, which uses an open data architecture.

These kinds of changes aren’t just good in themselves. I see the current climate as providing three broad challenges to banks for which technology is a potential solution:

  • New companies are providing banks with greater competition. Market entrants such as online brokerages are capitalising on their sophisticated technologies to offer better prices and more efficient services than the banks can give in specific business areas. Customers now have many more options. But a leaner, digital infrastructure would allow banks to offer an improved service in the face of this competition.
  • Economic conditions are affecting banks’ bottom lines. Persistently low interest rates mean they are making less money on loans and investments. With new capital controls forcing banks to move away from riskier activities, it’s clear that they need to move away from the aggressive practices that characterised the pre-2008 period. But by unifying their often incompatible legacy systems into a modern, digital infrastructure, banks will be able to cut their costs while providing a significantly improved service.
  • New regulatory changes could expose banks to areas of competition where their businesses had previously been insulated. A recent Competition and Markets Authority report, for example, asked them to develop a single, cross-bank interface to make it easier for customers to shop around and for competitors to overcome current barriers to entry. 10x’s technology could contribute to the creation of that interface, allowing banks to satisfy new regulatory requirements without losing a competitive advantage.

Banks need the better technology customers deserve – and it starts from the bottom. 

Those banks that take decisive action in the face of this situation will be the winners. 10x Future Technologies will offer them the means to do this. 

I’m convinced that financial services and other businesses need to return to a position where they play a critical role in enabling social and economic progress, with a clear focus on long-term sustainability rather than short-term gain. As an independent company with inherent neutrality in the market, 10x will help this process by providing the services to help companies consider the long-term impact of their actions, build a sustainable business and do right by their customers.

As new technologies proliferate, boosted by the 10x platform, we’ll see a great deal of innovation in financial services, reinventing the way we all use and move our money. Overhauling the banks’ infrastructure would have no small impact on how we manage our finances, so we’re determined to make sure that the result works for everyone. Our long-term goal is to truly democratise banking: to deliver the ten times better service that banks need and that customers and society deserve. We at 10x Future Technologies believe that technology can create the transparency, lower costs, fairness and competition that mean everyone wins.

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