Why can’t a bank have a Billion customers

I have seen this challenging sentence, and the arguments used to reach this conclusion are very basic and naive: the complexity of the current IT architecture is so high and the purpose of IT is just to keep the IT processes up and running.

I believe that this is a good goal that traditional banks should pursue: 1 billion customers.

Why? The situation today is that traditional banks are now seeing how new transaction markets, new ways to access to credit, new other banking services are growing up around the traditional banks services. For sure the core of bank activities has a strong regulation that supposes a big barrier for enabling others to compete in the market. Right now is not a big competence, so traditional banks are not needed to react to it. This status-quo is still not threaten, so there’s no need to move from it.

But, look at the marketing industry, there are IT consulting companies taking part of the market to the traditional agencies (Ogilvy, DigitasLab, RazorFish…) because they are understanding better the digital consumer behavior and how to reach them. Traditional marketing is died digital marketing is the new market, and here IT companies and consulting firms are playing an important role, and taking a big part of the pie.

Paypal is a good example, but it is not a thread to the traditional banks. Companies as Google and Apple are starting to define their vision and strategy about how to get into the banking business, they are working at long term, and evaluating regulation hurdles they have to overcome; to me this is a serious thread to some of the traditional banks.

Do you really want have 1B customers? traditional banks probably no, but Google and Facebook probably think in a different way.

To me, the only way to reach the 1 billion customers is through technology: building services for customers at different niches of the market, understanding how to take the digital consumers, addressing new needs of a global citizens…

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