When I was about ten, I often accompanied my parents to the neighborhood bank branch. It was a simple building and yet the pretense around it was like a fortress. The entry bit was always the fun part. One had to squeeze past the chained gate, making it a challenge for my parents. The cacophony inside, was something else. Long queues, everyone waiting for their turn patiently or impatiently, just waiting. As a 10-year-old, the adventurous entry was exciting and the rest of the time in the bank, I would think of or rather day-dream about one thing. When I grow up, I will have a bank and a bank manager exclusively for me and I will never have to wait like this ever.
The 10-year-old me would have been very proud of me today – my dream is coming true. Banking services have followed customer preferences – from physical branches to PCs to apps on mobile phones. The rising popularity of the Metaverse is again opening up new opportunities and personalizing the banking experience even more.
Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that the global Metaverse market would be in excess of $1 trillion by 2025. It is difficult to imagine the banking and finance sector to remain untouched by this tsunami of virtual experiences. Global banks such as JP Morgan, Standard Chartered, and HSBC have already taken strides in Metaverse. Recently Union Bank of India launched a Metaverse virtual lounge, which is a step towards embracing the new immersive technology and reforming the conventional banking infrastructure. An experiential interface goes a long way in firming up a bank’s relationship with its customers.
While these are still early days, at least for banking in Metaverse in India, the opportunities it throws up are immense. Take financial inclusion as an example. A virtual bank branch can be on any phone anywhere in India. It’s a fact that visual cues are easier to understand and respond to, than written cues. Therefore a replica of a bank branch, easily accessible on a phone, is ideal to make banking easier and to extend financial inclusion to the underserved.
Virtual branches are not a new concept anymore. Today we are looking at more traffic and even more inclusive engagement in the Metaverse. With advances in technology and improving bandwidth speeds, contactless banking will get a whole new meaning in this exciting new world of Metaverse.
Metaverse also allows for smart analysis of customer preferences. Take for instance a personalized bank branch for every customer – a fully customized bank branch that caters to the specific financial needs of a customer. If a customer is looking for investment opportunities, the branch can be customized to provide information about various options, and also upsell and cross-sell products. And on a lighter note, the walls of the virtual and personalized bank branch can be the color of the customer’s favourite color.
This is an opportunity for banks to attract a younger customer base – from students to young professionals. With the Metaverse, banks can speak the language of their new customer segments – creators, gamers, and artists—aggregating multiple sources of income, instant loans, financial planning, concierge services and more.
The Metaverse is here to stay. It will take a little time but the world is moving in that direction. The banking sector is one of the most diverse and dynamic sectors in the world. With banking moving to the virtual universe, one will see the difference it will make to the banks’ customers and how it will redefine customer experience and personalization.
(The author is Mr. Piyush Gupta, Co-founder, VOSMOS & President, Kestone and the views expressed in this article are his own)