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Financial Institutions

Industry Challenges

The current financial crisis and the responses of financial institutions—capital infusions, portfolio actions, and initial-cost takeouts—have been well documented. But the crisis has done more than destroy value. It has redefined what financial institutions must do to compete and win.
Unfortunately, the environment for financial institutions will continue to become more challenging. We will likely see slower economic growth, depressed property prices, shrinking global-trade volumes, and higher unemployment levels. Customers’ de-risking and deleveraging will further reduce demand for previously high-margin products and services. Governments and regulators will continue to play increasingly activist roles in the sector.
The industry will see reduced revenue and profit pools as the standard business model returns to being the customer-based model, with less-leveraged balance sheets, that universally characterized the banks of years past. At the same time, the race to build global titans appears to have been halted in its tracks. To succeed in this new environment, financial institutions need to answer some critical questions:

  • How is the structure of the financial services industry evolving? How are industry revenue and profit pools likely to change?
  • What new business models are emerging? What do they signify for the organization structures, operating models, and product and distribution strategies in each of our businesses?
  • How is this crisis changing customer behavior in terms of product preferences, risk tolerance, and the perception of financial institutions? How should we respond?
  • How do we better understand and manage risks in our businesses? What is the likely impact of new and emerging regulation?
  • How do we transform our cost structure to better align with reduced margin expectations?

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