BAI Research finds improving the customer experience remains the top business challenge for financial services organizations in 2021

Majority of consumers willing to switch for better digital capabilities and are open to banking with non-traditional

CHICAGO, IL (December 4, 2020)BAI, a nonprofit independent organization that delivers the financial services industry’s most actionable insights, unveiled new research addressing the top priorities on financial services leaders minds and changing consumer attitudes in 2021. The findings were unveiled during a recent webinar, BAI Banking Outlook: What You Need to Know to Prepare for 2021.

BAI recently surveyed 600 consumers across all generations, from Gen Z to Boomer, and 275 financial services leaders representing a cross-section of functional areas across financial services organizations of all sizes. With the focus on understanding the top challenges and priorities in financial services in 2021, leaders provided insight into key business challenges and areas of investment, while consumers shared attitudes and preferences related to what they expect from their provider, what will earn their loyalty and why they would switch to another financial services organization.

Highlights from the BAI Banking Outlook: 2021 Outlook research include:

  • Improving customer digital experience remains the top business challenge for financial services leaders. The top request from consumers is the ability to customize their own solutions, from products to the digital experience.
  • While satisfied with their current digital banking offerings, 54% of total consumers across all generations note they are willing to switch primary financial services organizations for better mobile banking and digital capabilities.
  • 55% of leaders plan to collaborate with outside fintech companies to deliver products and services in 2021.
  • 63% of consumers are open to banking with non-traditional financial services organizations such as Amazon, Apple and PayPal compared to 48% the year prior.

“With the continuing pandemic and challenges from social unrest, 2021 will be a year of certain change in which financial services leaders will need to quickly adapt to shifting market forces as they have over the past year,” said Karl Dahlgren, managing director at BAI. “Aligning priorities and investments to what consumers need most to navigate their changing world will be critical for financial services organizations to remain successful, relevant and competitive in the coming year.”

For more information about the BAI Banking Outlook, or to watch the free webinar providing deeper analysis of the survey’s results, visit BAI Banking Outlook.

About BAI

As a nonprofit, independent organization, BAI has delivered the financial services industry’s most actionable insights for more than 95 years, helping leaders make smart business decisions every day. We provide in-depth, proprietary research to more than 40 of the top US banks, support more than 2,100 financial services organizations with compliance and professional development training, provide trusted, relevant thought leadership through BAI Banking Strategies reports, podcasts and webinars, and offerspecialized events and programs. For more information, visit


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