Retail banks accelerate their digitization 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 digitization 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 organizations are still building or launching digital strategies. Learn more about the attributes of digital leaders.

Common attributes of digital leaders

Executives producing
results from
digital strategies

Executives building or
digital strategies

Collaborate more efficiently 67% 26%
Are better at introducing applicable innovation 44% 32%
Are better at aligning IT and business priorities 65% 56%
Are more likely to have a very* agile IT supply chain 31% 21%
Use managed services and partners more 92% 77%
More often run a secure IT environment 75% 63%
Feel strongly that environmental sustainability is core
to creating value for customers
69% 44%

* 8-10 on scale of 1-10, where 10 is high


Banking executives


Insights for Retail Banking

Download the CGI Voice of Our Clients research report.