Covid-19 Has Accelerated Pre-Existing Trends In The Financial Services Sector

Covid-19 Has Accelerated Pre-Existing Trends In The Financial Services Sector
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Game changing technologies continue to transform the way financial services are used and delivered, reveals new Efma review that looks at how banks and insurers handled a year of disruption.

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Changing Consumer Habits Are Forcing Banking And Insurance Companies To Change Their Business Models

Paris, February 23rd, 2021 – Efma, a leading non-profit organization for banks and insurance companies worldwide, has released the latest edition of its annual review series organized around four topics: How Covid-19 has accelerated pre-existing trends, SME banking and its crucial support for businesses, open banking and partnerships, and insurance and insurtech. Throughout it all, a constant theme emerges: changing customer habits are forcing banking and insurance companies to update their business models for a digital present and future. Whether it’s through mobile tools or artificial intelligence and machine learning, companies are ramping up their focus on personalized services. These are game changing technologies that will continue to transform the way financial services are used and delivered.

Efma’s latest report features the many ways financial institutions adapted and delivered for their customers in an unprecedented year. Digital payments and online shopping, growing trends pre-Covid, exploded with people staying home. Online’s share of total retail sales grew by an incredible 35% in just one year. Customer and employee habits were thus turbocharged due to the nature of this pandemic.

From workforces to SME banking to payments, the events of the past year have obliged major reassessments at financial institutions. Efma is highlighting the many ways major retail banks and insurers have responded to the dramatic changes and looks at how are they crafting their digital strategies to adapt to the evolving financial services landscape.

Highlights From The Report

Efma Review 2021 is organized around four topics:

How Covid-19 has accelerated pre-existing trends

As people are doing their banking remotely, top-performing companies have embraced AI to deliver personalized mobile experiences to their customers, with these tailored experiences increasing brand engagement.

SME banking

The SME segment was traditionally viewed as costly to serve. But that view is changing as banks recognize the major opportunities in the segment. Utilizing digital dashboards, data-driven models, and fintech partnerships, banks are moving beyond mere financial services to meet the holistic business needs of their SME customers.

Open banking and partnerships

Banks everywhere are building digital ecosystems full of new product offerings. Customers now have access to instant loans, mortgages, and loyalty programs thanks to online marketplaces that continue to grow.

Insurance and insurtech

From wearable technology to IoT in homes, insurers have more data available to them than ever before. They are finding novel ways to use this data to transform the traditional insurer-customer relationship that had revolved around accidents and reward customers for healthier lifestyles.


When looking back on this past year, it was impressive to see the many ways institutions handled the adversity. With Efma Review 2021, we wanted to highlight the major trends that have driven the conversation in our industry,” said John Berry, CEO of Efma. “We want to thank our members from all over the globe who contributed their experience and insight. As people will see in the report, all players, large and small, recognize the importance of collaboration and innovation in order to keep pushing the industry forward.

This report looks at the firms that are best placed to come out of the current situation in a stronger position. It also includes numerous expert opinions that can help inform the strategies of decisionmakers when it comes to the future of work, banking partnerships, and insurance. The pandemic has served as a catalyst for further digital dependence and the plans that are being put into place now will determine success in the industry.

The full report is available at

About Efma

A global non-profit organization established in 1971 by banks and insurance companies, Efma facilitates networking between decision-makers. It provides quality insights to help banks and insurance companies make the right decisions to foster innovation and drive their transformation. 120 financial groups in 133 countries are Efma members. Headquartered in Paris. Offices in London, Brussels, Andorra, Milan, Stockholm, Bratislava, Warsaw, Moscow, Istanbul, Beirut, Dubai, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney and Montreal. Learn more:

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