Book Review–Bank 3.0

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, talking with and sometimes consulting to organizations in what I think of as traditional sectors about how the rise of a new way of doing business, of communicating and of personalization affects them. From telecommunications carriers to airlines, from retail to banking there is a number of players in a world of pain. But this world of pain brings a world of opportunity as well. Lately banking has been a bit of a theme for me – I’ve written about the so-called rise of Banking 2.0, a new way of doing banking, of delivering services and of embracing a financial services ecosystem.

Anyway – recently I came across Brett King, another thinker in the banking space. King sent me a review copy of his book, Bank 3.0. Bank 3.0 follows on from King’s earlier book, Bank 2.0 and, while I haven’t read that earlier book, it would appear that Bank 3.0 leverages that work heavily and adds some new content to keep it current.

First let me say that Bank 3.0 is a must-read for anyone in the banking space. I know bankers and am all too aware that they spend their days trying to minimize risk while meeting sales targets – they haven’t got time to delve deeply into the future of their industry. Nor, more importantly, do they have time to look to parallel industries to see the challenges those industries face and the novel approaches they take to solving them. This after all is the value an independent broad-ranging thought leader brings – looking at a problem set from 60000 feet and applying solutions they’ve witnessed working in other areas. Bank 3.0 is an excellent way for bankers to understand what social media, engaged consumers and ubiquitous connectivity means for the future of their organization. In the words of King:

The stuff that you consider ‘new’ as bankers, stuff such as Facebook, iPhones, internet and NFC is not new for the Y-Gen customers of today. This stuff is just life. It’s normal.

King is all to aware that the metrics and delivery models that bankers are used to – heavy on a physical presence, tied up in layers of compliance and risk mitigation and, most importantly, comfortable in a captive customer base – are ones that will soon be rendered unimportant in the face of new technologies, mobile access, disruptive forces and the like. As such the book really is an excellent clarion call for the industry. He suggests ways in which the traditional branch needs to change and adapt to be both more efficient at solving its customers problems while losing the heavily transactional focus.

For tech industry insiders however, looking for a deeper understanding of the opportunities within the banking sector, the book falls a little short. Other than the latter chapters which take a deep dive into the mobile payments space and plot the author’s view on how the landscape will develop, the book is primarily an explanation of new media and customer engagement as it relates to banking operations.

The world is changing quickly – traditional industries need to reinvent themselves in order to survive in the medium term. Anyone even remotely connected with retail banking should grab themselves a copy of Bank 3.0 and study it deeply.