Moving on and moving on up…

Two weeks into the year and a couple of themes are already emerging.

Complexities: Rising complexities with trade, increased COVID levels, with new variants, is all leading to a real sense of unease on the economy and going forward more generally.

Different but the same: Back at the start of last year, all of this was new and everything felt unusual. However, this time around it has changed. Although the news is not great, we are now normalising it and are moving on. A sense of a can-do attitude maybe, the will to move on and move ahead.

I not would say there is a sense of optimism, there is not.

However, there is a desire to make the best of it and to move ahead… I suspect this may set the tone for the year.

With all of this in mind there were a couple of stories that caught my attention this week.

  • All eyes on stamp duty, the impact on house prices and lending. I suspect this will get extended. It is probably creating some price inflation for now and may pop any market exuberance if not.
  • 66% of bank customers still don’t trust online. This figure surprised me as it was so high. It does however illustrate a problem for those banks that need to provide a universal service for everyone. Even with lockdown and the great migration to digital, the journey to create new digital habits is still important.
  • Digital processes for back end collections processes have been agreed. Zoom is now allowed to be used for enforcement visits. COVID is accelerating modern ways of working in many areas.
  • Buy-now-pay-later. More pressure for greater regulation on this sector. There are concerns as to whether this could be building up problem borrowing for some consumers and it is all starting to sound very familiar. Porting ideas and experience from other sectors in financial services will no doubt be invaluable here.
  • The importance of psychology in user experience. There is quite a bit of progress in using techniques to drive positive outcomes for customers. This can be in terms of behavior science (nudge) or thinking in the customer’s shoes, it is all very interesting to see this flow through.
  • Lastly, I had a very interesting conversation on simultaneous equations! Not that these are particularly fascinating, but what was interesting was whether we know the equations we are actually solving for (ie. the business problems). These solutions may be different for different parties and how to navigate this is the challenge we all face.

Is it undoubtedly going to be an interesting year…. have a good weekend all.

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