Retail Banking 2020: Asian Banks worried about talent crunch

SINGAPORE, 5 May 2014 - A global PwC report Retail Banking 2020: Evolution or revolution reveals that senior retail bank executives in Asia Pacific are most concerned about attracting and retaining talent, followed by attracting new customers and new market entrants.

The findings are based on a survey of 560 financial services executives from leading institutions in 17 countries. It also incorporates insights from PwC's global network and its Project Blue work on the future of financial services.

According to the report, 54% of executives believe big banks will retain their dominance in 2020 despite the rise of new players.

Asian Pacific and Emerging Market bankers are most likely (71% and 79%) to consider how global trends (economic growth, regulation, demographic growth and technological changes) will impact the industry in 2020 - compared with the US and Europe, 61% and 67% respectively.

Based on the findings PwC predicts that by 2020:

  • Banks will be organised around customers instead of products or channels
  • Banks in most countries will evolve their customer experience to be more female friendly
  • Social media will be the main medium to engage customers
  • Customer trust will be returning
  • More local markets will be closed to outsiders
  • The playing field will continue to shift from global to local
  • Governments will wield influence through regulation rather than ownership, and regulated banking assets will be significantly smaller.

PwC Singapore's Banking and Capital Markets Leader Karen Loon said:

“Powerful forces are transforming the retail banking industry. Growth remains elusive, costs are proving hard to contain and returns remain stubbornly low. Regulation is impacting business models and economics. Technology is rapidly moving from being an expensive obstacle to a critical part of both customer experience and effective operations. Non-traditional players are challenging the established order, leading by putting their customers at the heart of their decisions. Customers are demanding increasingly higher levels of service.”

90% of executives agreed that six key priorities identified by PwC for success in 2020 are important:

  • Putting customers first
  • Getting to grips with the move from traditional branch-based to digital banking
  • Simplifying business and operating models
  • Ensuring they can harness the power of big data
  • Innovation
  • Proactively managing risk, regulation and capital.

However, only one in five feels well-prepared or is investing to address these priorities.

Alywin Teh, Financial Services Consulting Leader at PwC Southeast Asia Consulting practice, said:

“To succeed in this rapidly changing landscape, banks need to have a clear sense of their position on whether to shape the industry, rapidly follow the leaders, or manage defensively, putting off change. Banks need to have a clear strategy to deal with challenges and address priorities, including considering partnerships with third parties and applying lessons from other industries.

“The level of focus on each challenge and priority depends on a bank’s starting point, and its individual strengths and challenges. However, each priority is important, and success will come from a balanced approach of short term tactical activity and longer term programmes. Designing and running a fiercest competitor exercise is a concrete way to tackle these challenges and identify how and where you need to change to thrive in 2020.”


To download a copy of Retail Banking 2020: Evolution or revolution, please visit

Media Contacts
Daniel Tan, PwC LLP Singapore (Tel: +65 6236 3960 Email: or