As new technologies bring a multitude of incisive changes to the financial industries, they open up opportunities for a digital future

Exponential technological advancements, such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), or blockchain, continue to reshape entire industries, including the financial sector. As a result, the traditional banking landscape is set to rapidly change within the next few years, creating vast potential and new responsibilities.

In this series, I will give you an overview of the five key technology trends we discuss in our Banking Technology Vision 2018, our annual forecast of the key issues that are likely to impact financial services over the next three years, in Canada and beyond. There is still time for the sector to rethink and reinvent its business strategies.

The speed of change is market specific

Retail banking in Asia is changing in groundbreaking ways. With over 1.5 billion active users in China,1 services like Alipay and WeChat are reshaping the payments landscape with a deluge of innovations that are making both cash and traditional card payments anachronistic in some cities. As well, India appears to be in the early days of this type of payments revolution, with mobile payment volumes up 22 times in a 12-month period.2

By contrast, the more developed retail and commercial markets are experiencing a slower pace of transformation, and current evidence suggests that incumbent banks have avoided the waves of digital disruption:

  • In Europe, although 20 percent of the players in retail and commercial banking were created after 2005, they have only captured about 6.6 percent of industry revenue.3
  • In the United States, 45 percent of new checking accounts in 2017 were opened at the three national banks, not with new entrants.4
  • In Canada, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) credit and mortgages have remained bastions for incumbent banks.5

Thus, it appears that the speed at which retail and commercial banking markets change depends not only on the speed of technological change, but on the complex interplay between factors such as the regulatory environment, industry economics, levels of customer satisfaction with existing providers, and the structure of competition in the sector.

Despite the slower rate of change we see in the developed markets, new regulations, such as the Revised Payments Service Directive (PSD2) in the European Union, the United Kingdom’s Open Banking Initiative, mandated data sharing in Australia, and the Canadian government’s announcement to review open banking may signal radical change.

Technology is an opportunity, not a threat

However, there is no doubt that technology is a critical driver of change in the banking industry and a key factor that both new entrants and established institutions need to understand.

Of the nearly 800 banking executives across 25 countries whom we interviewed for our global cross-industry Technology Vision 2018 survey:

In the course of the survey, five technology trends emerged that could potentially create the next wave of industry disruption, notwithstanding the fact that markets currently look stable and profitable.

These trends are:

  • Trend 1: Citizen AI
  • Trend 2: Extended Reality
  • Trend 3: Data Veracity
  • Trend 4: Frictionless Business
  • Trend 5: Internet of Thinking

Only by understanding these trends can banks ensure that they are truly future-ready.

In my next post, I will begin my review of the five trends, starting with AI.

Please access our Banking Technology Vision 2018 and cross-industry Technology Vision 2018 reports for more information.


  1. “Alipay and Tenpay Compete Head-to-head for Overseas Marketshare,” Asean Today, September 30, 2017. Access at:
  2. “Cashless Payments Increased 22% in 2016, Mobile Has Fastest Growth,” The Quint, December 16, 2017. Access at:
  3. Accenture Research analysis based on Central European Bank.
  4. “Largest U.S. Banks Extend Their Dominance in Deposits,” Morningstar, March 23, 2018.
  5. “Building the Future-Ready Bank: Banking Technology Vision 2018,” Accenture, 2018. Access at:
Robert Vokes

Robert Vokes

Managing Director, Financial Services

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