What Personalization in Banking Really Means

If there’s one thing financial institutions are increasingly agreeing on, it’s that their customers are expecting more highly personalized experiences. Driven by more highly tailored digital experiences that are commonplace in media, technology, ecommerce and retail, bank customers are surprised when their banking interactions do not reflect their specific needs and the scope and value of their financial relationship.

That said, what banks struggle to agree on is what exactly “personalization” means.

three barriers banks face to personalization image


Financial Brand notes that 94% of banks can’t deliver on the personalization promise, defined as “The ability to deliver highly customized, real-time recommendations based on the consumer’s profile, behavior, needs, channel preferences and location.”


Cornerstone Advisors identifies two other definitions for how banks define personalization:

  • “The procedure of collecting customers’ information which helps the firm to create products and services that perfectly provide the customer’s desires and needs.”
  • “The process by which a user customizes a desktop, or Web-based interface, to suit personal preferences.”

They also propose a new definition of their own that we feel is particularly relevant: “Having pertinent conversations with customers tailored to each channel and the type of relationship they have with the company.”

Moving From Information Overload to Contextualized Conversations

In many ways, personalization in banking means cutting through “information overload.” A 2018 Accenture report noted that 45% of prospective clientsopens PDF file have left a website because of too many choices. When considering bank product promotions based on rates, fees and points or other rewards, customers may struggle to decide what’s right for them. Having a trusted expert advise on the right solution can make life easier for your customers while strengthening your brand.


However, personalization is about more than, “We know you want this — trust us to offer what is best for you.” It’s about context and conversation as well. For instance, Netflix doesn’t merely suggest you watch a film. Instead they suggest “based on this movie you previously enjoyed, you should check this out.” In essence, Netflix is able to demonstrate an understanding of your relationship with their service and personalize suggestions based on this. What if banks could do the same?

revenue growth for banks by personalization quote


If personalization is about contextual conversations, it’s imperative banks are empowered with the data to demonstrate their understanding of what is happening across the full breadth of a customer’s banking relationships. Zafin enables banks to create highly personalized products and offers tailored to the needs of specific microsegments.


Interested in learning more? Zafin’s CMO and EVP of Partnerships, Alex Roddy, recently authored an eBook on the topic, entitled “Using Data to Architect the Customer-Centric Bank of Tomorrowopens WORD file “.