Posted on: March 20, 2023
David Webber, chief executive of Whistlebrook says integrated technology solutions can provide valuable data insights on customer behaviour for banks and building societies, helping them adapt to changing external circumstances and develop more accurate predictions of future trends.
Banks and building societies have faced a challenging economic backdrop in recent years.
Since the start of Covid pandemic financial services companies have had to react and adapt quickly to changing circumstances; be it a series of interest rate rises, higher inflation, or the fallout from last year’s ‘mini’ Budget, which saw swap rates increase dramatically, affecting the pricing and availability of fixed rate mortgage and savings products.
At the same time, the regulatory landscape is also evolving. It is now three years since the UK left the EU, but the anticipated ‘bonfire of red-tape regulations’ has not occurred. If anything, the direction of travel has been in the opposite direction — with a move towards more, not fewer regulations across the financial services sector. For example, proposed Basel 3.1 regulations, due to come into force from 1st January 2025, will require banks to hold more capital and require those running financial services companies to revisit and update business plans and forecasts.
Financial services companies are data-driven businesses, and already required to supply business information to a range of different stakeholders; including the public, regulators, shareholders, audit committees and member boards. Increasingly, there is the expectation this information is delivered in a timely manner and in a consistent format.
This can be challenging for banks and building societies who are often sourcing this data from a range of existing and legacy IT systems and spreadsheets. But during periods of economic volatility and uncertainty, where there’s a requirement to report quickly in response to changing circumstances, this can be a more significant challenge.
At Whistlebrook, our systems are designed to give banks and building societies accurate up-to-date information on a range of business activities. This isn’t simply about ticking boxes and meeting regulatory requirements, it is about delivering valuable insights that can help businesses adapt and drive future growth, whatever the prevailing economic headwinds. And for us the key to this insight is reliable, accurate data that helps businesses better understand customer behaviour.
Customers are at the core of every financial services business, so it is critical that decision makers have up-to-date information about how customer behaviour is affected by external factors. Has a change in interest rates led to more defaults on mortgage products, for example? Or higher inflation changed buying or redemption patterns across different customer cohorts?
This doesn’t just give a clearer picture of where the business is today, it can help organisations model future trends more accurately. It is said past performance is not always a guide to future returns — but looking at data regarding customer behaviour is an important analytical tool to map future business trends.
As stated above, banks and building societies already have to collate and report on data across different areas of their business. These can be complex data sets, but at its core it is often the same information, viewed and analysed through a different lens. New mortgage sales information for example will be a core element of annual reporting figures as well as being used to calculate future capital requirements in regulatory reports.
Whistlebrook’s suite of products are built with regard to the integrated nature of this business data, whether it is being used for regulatory, accounting, reporting, forecasting or risk analysis.
The company has designed software products and systems that are each able to operate on a stand-alone basis. But these are also tightly-integrated applications, designed to complement each other by sharing different data sets, giving companies more powerful insights into their business operations. It is not surprising that banks and building societies who utilise Whistlebrook’s core regulatory reporting or financial accounting software often go on to install one or more of our other complementary and specialist products — be it the Treasury or ALM risk reporting software or Financial Planning or Hedge Accounting systems.
In all cases, companies are working from the same data base, giving financial services executive teams access to reliable, consistent data they can trust.
Technology companies sometimes forget the bigger picture, and rather than focus on what their systems deliver for clients, concentrate instead on technical jargon about APIs, AI or content management systems.
At Whistlebrook we do things differently. We understand the specific needs of our financial services clients and how important it is for them to be able to access data across all aspects of their business. Simply put, our systems are designed to help banks and building societies run their business better, without ever losing sight of the fact that the customer remains at the heart of their operations.
The route to continuing business success is having a comprehensive insight into your customer’s behaviour and making business decisions accordingly.