The bonding powers of free consent in relationships
Trust is in the end of the day the only real asset banks can offer their customers… Everyone agrees. Trust is the essential backbone of a happy relationship, be it a loving relationship as partners or lasting friendship. So far no one disagrees.Where it becomes tricky is in finding out how one translates trust into actions, from intention to active management.
We all know, through either failure or success that a happy relationship tends to have a few key ingredients. For one, both parties need to feel secure in the affection held for each other. It should be able to weather a few storms and not be here today and gone tomorrow. Secondly, both parties should feel free to still pursue their own life and choose to include other people either into their own lives or into the relationship. Other people can bring things to a relationship or life that enriches it for all participants involved. Finally both parties need to have a good understanding of the ‘contract’, what is it you and I have agreed upon as the goal and as the boundaries. This clarity offers the freedom and security previously mentioned.
Now let’s take this ‘to the bank’ and see how that works in an Open Banking world. A revival of the sixties where anything goes? A reflection of today’s age of churn we are becoming accustomed to? A world where banks as icons of a world bygone serve no purpose? This much proclaimed black scenario could come true if banks indeed continue to do what they did for so long: talk about trust, without any proof in terms of changing behaviour. As in relationships, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
So rather than organising the banks and its processes inside out towards their customers in terms to be compliant to regulation such as PSD2 and then try to sell that off as being ‘open’, they should look much more intently beyond the APIs, the appstore, the fintechs and their innovation labs.
Trust as a key driver for success
Banks should start with aiming to build a meaningful consensual relationship with their customers – outside in - in which they happily and freely share their data in return for other relevant partners (read fintechs) of their choice. Next, they must provide the safe environment customers still value from their banks through a robust and focused IT department that puts security at the top of their list. Finally, practise clarity of understanding in the relationship by outlining in clear – outside in - language what service they offer and what they expect in return for a mutually beneficial journey.
The critical success factor for Open Banking is trust and a key driver to building trust is ensuring data is not lost, misused or stolen, but that it is also only used for the purposes that customers ‘allow’ it to be used for. Consent becomes the key service enabler for trust. Being customer centric means that the starting point has to be consent driven connectivity rather than transaction driven connectivity.
By doing so they might surprise us all: consent might well prove to be the ‘trust action button’ for banks.