In the media

Do banks really understand customers’ needs?

By Davide Montagner

The Banker

04 January 2024

PA Consulting's Caroline Wayman talks to The Banker on how banks can better support customers and comply with Consumer Duty, drawing on insights from PA’s FS cost-of-living pulse survey. 

Commenting on this, Caroline says: "While banks and financial institutions are responding to the new regulations, there is still a long way to go and this is not a one-and-done thing."

When asked about understanding vulnerable customer's needs, she explains: "Banks can help vulnerable people and marginalised groups access better products and services and help them feel financially empowered by learning more about their personal needs. Gathering information on your clients and helping them feel comfortable is part of the answer, but banks should work on designing brilliant, straightforward and easy-to-understand products that are accessible to everybody."

Adding "One of the biggest challenges for the financial sector is to have people engage with banks and have them come forward when they need help. The consumer duty will help ensure good outcomes for people, but financial institutions should be more open to receiving complaints because they are an opportunity for feedback and a chance for banks to engage with their customers."

In a discussion on whether AI can help smooth communications, Caroline asserts: "It is not surprising that people are distrustful of AI because they are still unfamiliar with the technology. AI is brilliant at recognising patterns and doing things really quickly, but a conversation between people and banks needs to happen in order to build trust in the technology.”

Concluding: "Oftentimes, people think that unconscious bias is something that belongs only to AI, but it’s important to emphasise that humans also have a lot of unconscious bias. In some cases, AI could actually reduce the risk of bias in decision-making, by designing out human subjectivity."

Read the full article in The Banker

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