Wavestone launched an initiative to think about the banks and insurers of the future. The aim is to develop a research program with its teams, clients, and partners that will imagine the future of the financial sector. The starting point: an invitation to open yourself up to a new perspective – one that looks beyond the horizons that companies typically consider.

In search of a new role for banks and insurers

The fast-paced transformations that banks and insurers are living through today have multiple causes: high levels of market liquidity, following central banks’ post-2008 money creation policies; uncertainty about the growth potential of the global economy on a planet with limited resources and deteriorating living conditions; the disappearance of financial-sector barriers to entry, especially as a result of new technologies; regulatory pressure fueled by a society that wants to protect itself from speculative spirals and bubbles; the strong imperative to automate processes; the need to reduce headcount to protect margins; and others. However, this myriad of reasons masks the fact that the special bonds that bind banks and insurers to the societies in which they operate are being weakened. The ties that bound them closely to local areas and communities have been eroded: financial activity has gone global, money deposited in one country can flow to a project on the other side of the world; offerings are aimed squarely at individuals, with the concept of the common good being eroded. The quest is for personal relationships, the search for a “segment of one”. This raises the question of what the new link will be between financial players and society.



of those surveyed believe that banks will need to play a new role in society in the next ten years; one that goes beyond merely incorporating new technologies.

To speak of a bank’s purpose as being to serve society is neither an ideal nor a new concept. Through their past actions, banking and insurance players have already proved their capacity to contribute to society and its development.

Beyond satisfying personal interests, customers want to see banks and insurers take up large-scale social and environmental challenges: climate change, biodiversity, health, living conditions, migration, and others. The status and size of financial to influence. While still continuing to develop its technological and organizational capacities, the financial sector must reinvent its promise to society. An opening for a “bank for good”?

Françoise Mercadal-Delasalles

Françoise Mercadal-Delasalles

CEO of Crédit du Nord

The survival of banks, like all other financial organizations, will be determined by their usefulness. Younger generations
are more expressive of this sensible, and ultimately right, need to feel useful.

Strategic directions


of customers think that banks will be providing services that go beyond mere financial offerings.

Calling into question the purpose of banks and insurance companies inevitably involves considering changes in strategic direction. Geographic reach,
support for customers, and the sharing of social values are the key areas in these new directions.

From these new directions, driven by a changing world, must flow a model for banking whose strategic focus is serving its ecosystem, rather than simply making use of it. The concerns and aspirations of society will become the new extra-financial indicators used to steer the performance of the banks and insurers of the future.

Laurent Mignon

Laurent Mignon

CEO of BPCE Group and Chairman of the Board at Natixis

Twenty years ago, societal questions were viewed merely as issues for governments to deal with; today, they are seen as everyone’s concern – including that of businesses.

Technological strategies


of Europeans think that their banks ought to be at the cutting edge of new technologies.

The financial sector has embarked on a race for technological innovation to improve its value proposition and bring itself in line with the evolving behavior and expectations of customers. Technology must go hand in hand with the transformation of banking models in order to create offerings that generate real added value for all stakeholders rather than just supporting customer retention.

Among the technologies that now feature in the financial landscape is artificial intelligence (AI), which has become a core technology, providing personalized and intelligent digital support, as well as a better understanding of customer expectations. The emergence of fintech, combined with advances in AI, offers banks an exceptional opportunity to reinvent themselves against a backdrop of increasing competition between traditional banks, online banks, and neo-banks.

However, the financial sector is not limited to the technological innovations discussed above, since it also makes use of Augmented Reality, Blockchain, and security solutions that can meet the latest financial security and data protection regulations.

Vincent Bastid

Vincent Bastid


The promise of AI will only be realized if banks embark on far-reaching data transformations. Banks will have to acquire new skills, such as those of data scientists, and build a data culture in their business functions, IT, and senior  management. Attracting and retaining talent will be essential. The agility offered by fintech, cloud providers, and new organizational designs is the way to go.

Customer relations


of French people say that engaging in activities that are useful to society plays an important role in their choice to remain a customer of their bank.

The emergence of new societal aspirations (sustainability, social connectivity, sharing) and the advent of new technologies, have changed the relationships between banks, insurers, and customers. While providing efficient personal services is essential, the challenge for banks and insurance
companies is to succeed in creating customer relations that fit within a framework of improving living conditions for the entire community in the
geographical areas they serve.

The objective for these organizations is to succeed in an approach known as a “segment of one”: a single bank, which specifically addresses a single customer. The time has now arrived for end-to-end personalization and customer support.

Léonor Lopes-Gil

Léonor Lopes-Gil

Director of Strategic Programmes & Marketing, BPCE

New technologies are helping our advisers to be more efficient, but nothing can replace social ties.

Organizational models


of banks are aware that they will have to change their organizational models to meet new societal expectations.

It’s as a reflection of evolving societies that customers will consume evolving banking services. Banks and insurance companies must adapt their organizational designs to meet new consumer aspirations and put customers back at the heart of their models.

The transition to an agile organization, across the entire company, is becoming a new ideal for the organizational models of financial players. This
model enables, on the one hand, the customer experience to be placed at the heart of the organization, by the ability to regularly adapt offers and
services and therefore meet the new expectations of consumers; and, on the other, to transform the employee experience, by giving the responsibility
for the end-to-end project to a team. For banks, there’s also a question of finding the balance between the use of new technologies and the importance of human interaction in customer relationships.

Delphine Asseraf

Delphine Asseraf

Head of Digital Marketing and Distribution, Allianz

It’s important to define an organization as serving a customer need and not a product.

The drivers of growth


of French people aged 18 to 24 say that their bank’s involvement in activities that benefit society is an important factor in choosing it.

Society’s new aspirations are drivers of growth for banks and insurers. Regional anchoring is one of the growth drivers identified. Through a regional presence, financial players can tackle questions of collaboration, local matters, and the creation of social ties. Consumers also aspire to improve their well-being through their banks, a service that could make their daily lives easier by the development of tailored offerings. The ecological transition and questions of energy sustainability also act as positive drivers of growth for banks.

Tomorrow’s growth drivers won’t simply operate through the regular adoption of new technologies, but through a search for consistency with the new aspirations of society.

Marie-Claire Capobianco

Marie-Claire Capobianco

BNP Paribas Executive Committee member and Director of Growth Development and Corporate Coverage

Groups like BNP PARIBAS can act on two levels: we can strengthen our network of branches across an entire region, with the measures that digital makes possible, thus maintaining employment locally; and, we can play a strong role in the development of these same regions by facilitating useful connections between different types of players within an economic fabric that we know very well.

What will banking and insurance be used for tomorrow?

In developed countries, the business model of universal banking is being strongly challenged under the combined pressure of several factors. Banks are, today, responding mainly with strategies based on technological innovation and modernizing existing uses.

All the elements are coming together to provoke deep thinking about what banks and insurers should look like tomorrow. There are new models to be created, and core businesses that need to be redefined. The initial work carried out highlights that the future development of financial services seems to turn on balanced growth, the quest for a relationship better in step with the times, the definition of a new role for technologies, and perhaps the rediscovery of “community living” and maximum inclusion.