Retail banks accelerate their digitisation to meet unprecedented customer demand

Based on this year’s findings, retail banks are maturing on their digital transformation journeys, with a healthy 35% of executives saying they are producing results from their digital strategy, up from 27% last year. Yet, even with these gains, digital leaders face the challenges of cultural change, as well as the limitations of their legacy infrastructure as they reinvent for the future.

Key findings from our conversations with retail bank executives in 2021 follow, or download the PDF.

Top retail banking trends and priorities

Top trends
  1. Increasing customer adoption of digital as the primary channel
  2. Digital transformation demands straining legacy banking infrastructure
  3. Growing threat of cyber and other financial crimes
Top business priorities
  1. Improving the end-to-end customer experience
  2. Accelerating digital client-facing transformation
  3. Protecting the bank and clients from regulatory risk and financial crime
Top IT priorities
  1. Delivering client-facing digital transformation
  2. Automating business processes
  3. Aligning IT capability with the business


say their IT supply chain cannot respond quickly enough to changing business needs
say they are increasing budgets for new applications and infrastructure
rate the degree to which legacy systems pose challenges to their digitisation strategies as “high”

Among the 35% of retail bank executives who report achieving results from their digital strategies, some common attributes emerge. The table below compares responses to questions from these digital leaders to those from executives whose organisations are still building or launching digital strategies. Learn more about the attributes of digital leaders.

Common attributes of digital leaders

Digital leaders

Digital entrants

Consider their business model to be highly agile 30% 6%
Have highly aligned IT and business operations to support the digital strategy 74% 36%
Have deeply integrated IT and business operations to drive execution of the digital strategy 67% 33%
Are implementing or fully operational in delivering client-facing transformation 98% 44%