10 Tech Trends the Banking Industry is Facing in 2022

Innovation and change occur both more frequently and more rapidly within the information technology (IT) sector than many other fields, and that fact is particularly true for the banking industry where technologies are assisting financial services companies in differentiating themselves from competitors. Customers, in fact, have come to expect as much, and that’s just one of the technology issues banks find themselves battling in 2022. 

 As they become increasingly dependent upon technology, banks must address a number of corresponding challenges. Here’s a look at the top 10 technology trends the banking industry is facing in 2022. 

1. Cybersecurity

The pace at which state-sponsored hackers and other malicious actors are identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities, developing new and innovative threats and launching cyberattacks often exceeds the rate at which banks are updating corresponding defenses. With reportedly the highest annual average cyberattack costs of any industry, cybersecurity is among the greatest challenges banks battle in 2022. The trend, unfortunately, will surely continue. 

Cybersecurity risks are so significant and prevalent multiple authorities have taken steps to collect and share resources banks can use to bolster their cybersecurity initiatives. For example, the following resources maintain IT, cybersecurity and corresponding information and recommendations for banks and financial services companies: 

Based on the nature of services they provide, banks will continue to be high-value targets for digital criminals. The banking industry must, in kind, maintain dedicated efforts combatting a range of risks, from in-house threats to fraudulent behaviors, from third-party vulnerabilities to issues introduced by new technologies.

2. Fraud

From sham transactions to fraudulent in-house behaviors, fraud is proving an ever-persistent technology risk for banks and financial institutions. Just how big is the problem? Financial crimes are often estimated as costing the global economy trillions of dollars a year. Subsequently, fraud detection, prevention and corresponding security solutions are a significant concern for banks. 

Banking scams often involve external actors, but not always. A quick headlines search confirms bank executives and employees regularly misstep. Sometimes there’s no fraudulent intention, on other occasions acts are purposeful. Regardless, corresponding safeguards are required. 

External threats demand attention, too, as malicious actors continue attacking banks and their customers. From targeted phishing and social engineering attacks to identity theft and ACH exploitation, there are myriad ways in which criminals seek to defraud banks and their customers. 

As with related cybersecurity efforts, authorities maintain a variety of resources to help banks and financial institutions guard against fraudulent risks, including the financing of terrorist networks and money laundering. The following are among those sources making fraud prevention, administration and recovery information available to banks: 

As with cybersecurity banks, by virtue of their function, will continue to prove attractive targets, both internally and externally. Subsequently, fraud presents a persistent and pronounced challenge for banks and the technical staffs responsible for safeguarding operations.

3. Regulation Compliance

Because banks work directly with money, electronic payments, various forms of financial funding, investments and numerous other sensitive banking elements, the institutions are subject to particularly extensive standards and regulations. Maintaining compliance with banking laws, industry standards and reporting requirements necessitates banks invest significant time and expertise in the corresponding practices. 

The challenge is further exacerbated by the fact the banking industry’s technology standards are regularly updated. Organizations such as the ABA, FDIC and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) maintain resources and guidance banking professionals can reference to help plan, review and confirm compliance. As with other leading technology challenges banks must manage in 2022, standards compliance and reporting responsibilities will continue to prove significant functions requiring dedicated resources and investment.

4. Changing Customer Expectations

Changing customer expectations place additional demands on banks and the technologies financial organizations adopt to service customers. The topic repeatedly appears on lists of challenges facing banks, so prevalent is the issue. 

From consumer demand for seamless virtual payments, including using Apple Pay, PayPal and Venmo, to customer preferences for simplified digital banking interactions, changing customer preferences are particularly impacting banks. Banks must remain in lockstep or risk losing customers. 

The same is true regarding customers’ desire to speed communication with their banks. Customers are increasingly seeking quick virtual customer service support and engagement via social media. Banks, subsequently, are pressed finding ways to accommodate these needs, while also maintaining security and guarding against fraud and criminal activity.

5. Outdated Applications

Like many other businesses, banks are dependent upon a range of software applications to fulfill everything from daily operations to complex functions unique to their industry. Whether supporting standard operations, customer service needs, customers’ online and mobile application experiences, cybersecurity initiatives or disaster planning and business continuity management requirements, banks must maintain several critical platforms. 

All these disparate systems are integral to a bank’s success. Yet, each software solution has its own requirements, incompatibilities and maintenance nuances that can conspire to make it more difficult to deploy industry-leading solutions and keep every application current. 

In fact, some industry reports state new technology adoption is the biggest challenge within the financial services sector. Regardless, the challenge remains. Banks must also dedicate time and investment to replacing legacy solutions growing long in the tooth in the interest of deploying more contemporary solutions providing the ease of use and safeguards both banks and customers are increasingly demanding.

6. FinTech Innovation

Much attention is dedicated to financial technology, frequently shortened to FinTech. Four key elements—commonly referred to as the ABCD of FinTech—are Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cloud and big Data. These FinTech variables are impacting everything from customer expectations for banking innovation to banks’ needs to improve AI-powered loan financing, daily service operations and cybersecurity protections. However, these elements are still evolving and can change rapidly. 

Great volatility, for example, is occurring within blockchain and corresponding cryptocurrency technologies. Whereas cloud services are maturing and are increasingly proving essential in powering business continuity strategies, among others, many banks and other financial institutions are still struggling to effectively integrate big data functionality within their operations. 

Mastering any of these FinTech elements is likely a way off for any bank. These are, after all, ever-evolving technologies regularly subject to their own innovations and changes. But these ABCD elements will only grow in importance as banks seek to leverage technology to differentiate themselves from other financial institutions and gain competitive benefits that translate to operational advantages.

7. Operating Expense Pressures

As competition increases, customer expectations grow (including the desire for more effective virtual banking and support experiences), cybersecurity threats intensify and compliance standards and reporting requirements place additional demands upon staff, so too are pressures increasing to reduce operating expenses. Bank IT departments are no exception, making the difficult combination of needing greater efficiency and capacity with reduced costs a reality. This is another challenge with which banks must operate in 2022 and beyond. 

Fortunately, IT can prove a discipline in which more can be done for less. Applications are improving and can automate more functions than before. Developers are getting better effectively incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to improve software capabilities, including for automation common operational processes and cybersecurity protections. 

The trick is to properly research, plan and deploy new applications and systems that better assist banks in fulfilling their mission, while also safeguarding customer information and financial transactions, enabling services in intriguing new virtual ways and meeting or exceeding compliance standards and reporting requirements. Identifying and implementing new solutions that assist minimizing operating expenses—including potentially through the adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), in part—is another challenge banks should begin addressing in 2022 if they haven’t already.

8. Inflation

Applicable to numerous industries, banks are no exception. Inflation is placing pricing pressures on companies across the board and raising the costs of essential products and services—including real estate, electricity, fuel, paper, salaries, benefits, consulting services, software and hardware. Banks must wrestle with the corresponding increased costs, while also managing the impact of shifting interest and lending rates, forces influencing nominal financial instruments, potentially enhanced asset risks, changes in customers’ financial behaviors and the effects of related economic trends. 

As just listed above, inflation poses another challenge to banks in that the corresponding financial impact serves to frequently raise the costs of software licenses, cloud services, support contracts, computers, network gear and other equipment. Monitoring, planning for and controlling the effects of inflation, subsequently, mark yet another significant issue with which banks are particularly and, in some ways, uniquely exposed.

9. Supply Chain Constraints

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, which seriously disrupted both in-person retail bank service operations and in-house corporate workflows, as well as triggering resulting shifts in on-premises employment, banks’ need for more and different computing equipment shows no signs of abating. Because banks frequently place a priority on minimizing hardware lifespans and maintaining pace with contemporary cybersecurity-related equipment, they cycle equipment more aggressively than organizations operating within other industries. 

Unfortunately, supply chain constraints continue occurring and are forecasted for the foreseeable future. Banks, therefore, must more carefully plan and predict their hardware needs. Desktop computers, servers, routers, firewalls, network switches, telephones, ATM upgrades and other necessary devices are all dependent upon semiconductor chips and improved supply chain efficiencies. Many observers, though, suspect supply chains will require at least another year to recover, and the benefits expected from boosting semiconductor availability due to passage of the CHIPS Act of 2022 will require time to materialize. 

In the interim, banks and other financial institutions already dependent upon semiconductors for their operations and looking to new innovative technologies to improve operational efficiencies and gain competitive advantages while also hopefully assisting in lowering expenses must deal with these additional pressures. Working with technical consultancies that buy equipment in bulk and whom often establish productive relationships with hardware distributors and aggregators can help, as will more intentional hardware and procurement planning. 

10. Employee Retention

Because banks and lending institutions operate within an industry sector that’s particularly dependent upon technical platforms, software solutions and cybersecurity systems to meet customers’ service expectations and fulfill industry compliance requirements, the need for qualified technical professionals within the industry is unusually high and often exceeds that present within other sectors. And just because a bank possesses the technical personnel it needs today is no guarantee it will tomorrow. 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, which introduced historic changes in occupational philosophies and prompted the Great Resignation, millions of professionals are quitting their jobs each month. In fact, almost 50 million people quit their jobs in 2021, and the trend continues in 2022. 

As a result, banks must take steps not only to better recruit technology professionals to fulfill new positions, the financial institutions also need to remain competitive and retain the technical professionals they employ. Banks should be prepared to pay higher salaries, enhance existing benefits and offer more flexible working arrangements as they battle this challenge in 2022 and beyond. Working with a technology services provider, meanwhile, can assist addressing any technical skills and expertise gaps that might arise. 

Does your bank or financial organization need help addressing these challenges? 

If your bank, credit union or financial services firm is wrestling with any of these challenges, needs help with compliance standards and reporting or could use assistance better supporting and leveraging technology within its operations, call Louisville Geek at 502-897-7577 or email [email protected].