The IT systems of UK banks are too archaic to allow tailoring and targeting of financial products to key consumer groups such as women, analysts have warned.
Research looking at women consumers by IT services firm Accenture found that many were open to switching banks. One in five women surveyed for the research said they had opened an account or bought a financial product with an institution other than their primary bank in the last year – and those with higher incomes were the most likely to shop around.
More than half of the 1,000 women surveyed had accounts and other products from at least two banks and a similar number said they would be likely to switch providers if a bank tailored financial products aimed at women in different stages of their life, such as having children or retiring.
But report author Natasha Miller, a senior executive in Accenture's banking industry practice, warned: "UK banks struggle to even identify which customers are at these stages. Often banks do not hold the relevant information. But even when they do they are often unable to access their data in a way that allows them to create appropriate products and services."
IT was the fundamental problem because bank IT systems were typically based on 1960s-era mainframes, Miller said. "While these have had all sorts of extra systems added to them over the years, there is only so much you get from 40-year-old technology. This is a major stumbling block."
She added: "This inability to store and process customer data in useful ways is at the heart of the problem faced by many banks and building societies. They do not have the data in enough detail to identify profitable niches and market to them effectively."