'Archaic' IT prevents banks selling to females

Recent study has concluded that ageing IT systems in UK banks are to blame for failure to target the lucrative female market

IT systems at UK banks are too "archaic" to target financial products to the lucrative female market, according to a recent study on banking from Accenture.

Natasha Miller, report author and senior executive at Accenture, said IT is the fundamental cause of banks failing to target women, because a typical IT system is based on a 1960s-era mainframe — and there is only so much 40-year-old technology can do.

Miller added that the inability to store and process customer data in useful ways is at the heart of the problem. Banks simply do not have the data in enough detail to identify profitable niches and market to them effectively.

More than half of the 1,000 female respondents to the Accenture survey said they are likely to switch providers if a bank offers tailored financial products for different life stages — such as getting married or having children.

One in five respondents opened an account or bought a financial product with an institution other than their primary bank last year, according to the Accenture report.

Miller said UK banks could create sizeable sale opportunities with women if the institutions were better able to target this demographic with the right products and advice at the right time.

Rather than simply slapping on "pink branding", the key is to deliver carefully crafted products supported by clear, targeted and timely advice using both the internet and well-informed advisors — something banks should be able to deliver, Miller added.


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