Be prepared to be caught off guard

Be prepared to be caught off guard

Jim Johnson

Head of Financial Institution Payments and Wealth at FIS

Views 1803

Be prepared to be caught off guard

06.06.2020 01:30 pm

The current Coronavirus pandemic will echo through history as a prime example of why preparedness by financial institutions (FIs) is so essential. But how can an organization fully prepare for an event such as this? Well the honest answer is you cannot. It is impossible to fully prepare for something of this magnitude which has rocked the world’s economy and has turned the world’s largest cities into temporary ghost towns.

COVID-19 is unfortunately not the last of these “Black Swan” events that we may still see in our lifetime. That is why it is crucial to learn from what has already happened and to have a strategic plan in place to fight against the event. By focusing on employees, arming themselves with the right technologies and developing a focused, transparent plan, financial institutions can stand a chance against these inevitable crisis’.


Employees are key to weathering the storm

It is the employees who are on the front lines that are servicing clients, representing the business, and who are the true face of the company in times such as these. It is critical to keep employees in a strong state of mental health as the fear of the unknown is unsettling and stressful. This means that your organization needs to show tremendous adaptability and be able to adjust work schedules, meeting times, etc. in order to meet the new normal. Not only do FIs need to be flexible, but they also need to keep employees updated with every new development in the situation and how the organization is adapting to it on a national, local, financial, and human level. Organizations cannot assume that employees are able to sift through the avalanche of information and pick up on key messaging, so establishing transparent communications at a consistent time keeps employees aware and in turn helps them assist your clients. By making employee health, both mental and physical, the top priority, FIs will see the benefits through customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Focus on customers through technology

Regardless of the situation, financial institutions need to ensure their customers that their money is safe and that they can still use it how they want. Trust in your brand is paramount during a Black Swan Event and a financial technology provider needs to ensure consistency, stability, and safety for both their FIs and consumers. That means that alignment with these providers needs to be stronger than ever before to keep systems and solutions at 100%. The same omni-channel solutions that banks provide customers need to be available without a single hitch in the process. During a Black Swan event, consumer trust is tested to its maximum and the brands that rise to the occasion will be known for being an organization centered on doing the right things for its clients. 


Preparation is 9/10 of the law

The old saying is that “Possession is 9/10 of the law”. However, when talking with my own leadership team as well as when I address my organization as a whole, I like to adjust the saying to “Preparation is 9/10 of the law” When I say this, I am reminding employees that if you are properly prepared for an event, meeting, project, etc. you dramatically increase your ability to adapt to the Black Swan event. I mentioned earlier that there really isn’t a way to be 100% prepared for a Black Swan event and that is true. The reason for the name “Black Swan” is that these events are so unpredictable, so no preparation plan will be perfect. That is why organizations need a dedicated crisis team, filled with representatives from across the organization, whose entire mandate is to adapt to the unpredicted impacts of the situation. It’s a team that has processes and governance prebuilt to try and handle the unexpected shock of the event. This team will be stressed to the maximum during each new development that occurs, however, the ability to take lessons learned from each crisis and adjust your action plan accordingly will lighten the impact. By being fully transparent about this plan with employees, customers, business partners, etc.  financial institutions can potentially limit what can go wrong to just that last 1/10.

Latest blogs

Granville Turner Turner Little

The Lockdown Money Revolution

Many Brits have found that lockdown has been beneficial for their money, having cut back on personal spending and managing to put away some extra cash. According to eToro, Brits with unspent discretionary income are set to accumulate £75.5bn in Read more »

Sandra Higgins Sysnet Global Solutions

Are You ‘Prescribing’ the Right Security Solution to Your Merchants?

When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, eating the right food, taking regular exercise, and maintaining a positive mindset are key. However, despite these best intentions and practices, you still might not get all the nutrients your body needs Read more »

Robert Flowers DivideBuy

It Doesn’t Have to Be the End – How Retailers Can Grow in Light of COVID-19

It’s no news that the retail industry has been flipped on its head by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the lockdown, most in-store operations have been shut down, and nationwide furloughs, reduced pay and steady streams of income at risk have fuelled a Read more »

n/a n/a

4 Ways to Protect Your Small Business Against Cyber Attacks

Just because you are running a small scale business doesn’t mean you are beyond the reach of hackers and attackers. Many small businesses have this thought, which is why they do not invest in their cybersecurity. Unfortunately, every year small Read more »

Kirston Winters MarkitSERV, IHS Markit

IBOR transition update: €STR grabs a foothold?

In the latest development in the IBOR transition, on the weekend of July 25th, we saw the major CCPs perform the much-anticipated Euro discounting and price alignment transition from using EONIA to EuroSTR (a.k.a. €STR) for all Euro OTC interest Read more »

Related Blogs

Graham Brooks Cradlepoint

Financial services firms must ‘cut the cord’ in order to weather the COVID-19 storm

This year, the financial sector’s plans have been thrown off course by a global pandemic that sent a wave of disruption rippling through the business world. The resulting national lockdowns sparked a flurried uptake of remote working tools by Read more »

Ray Brash PPS

“Repair the roof while the sun is shining” – why fintechs were COVID ready

During his 1962 State of the Union Address, John F. Kennedy declared: “The best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining”. While the original philosophy behind the sentiment wasn’t intended for organisations, per se, it’s an apt quote when Read more »

Owen Kilbane Kofax

Post COVID-19, a “Remote First – Remote Validate” Mindset is Needed

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for financial services companies to have a “Remote First” mind-set. When we look over the past number of weeks, consumers are interacting and doing more and more business online, using a new set of Read more »

Marcus Treacher Ripple

Supporting vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic with faster and more affordable remittance payments

There’s no denying that COVID-19 has disrupted the global economy as hundreds of millions of people around the world have had to grapple with job losses, business closures and lockdowns. Read more »

Denise Dunne

Riding the Wave of Demand for Online

Undeniably businesses all around the world today find themselves grappling with the profound changes we are experiencing as the world comes to terms with the impact of the first wave of this pandemic.  All across the world, businesses - from the Read more »

Free Newsletter Sign-up
+44 (0) 208 819 32 53 +44 (0) 173 261 71 47
Download Our Mobile App
Financial It Youtube channel