Sustainable banking business models
Winners and losers
Sustainable banking business models will look very different from today’s. Banks will have
to decide whether they want to act as suppliers or orchestrators. Suppliers provide financial
products and services, act as a link between market actors and leverage specialist knowledge
or economies of scale. Orchestrators control the interface to the customer and can even bundle
complex solutions from different suppliers into a seamless customer experience.
The range of sustainable business models available to banks will also depend on whether the banks can
leverage a strong local presence or are aiming for a broader multi-regional positioning.
In the evolution scenario, local banks can aspire to leverage their local presence and become
a “local incumbent”, who covers all financial needs within an economically strong metropolitan
region, or slim down to an “ascetic banking model” for regions with lower economic activity.
Banks which are active in multiple regions will either need to become “client champions” or
focus on a “monoliner model”. Those banks that cannot decide or are simply too small will slip
into precarious models and lose relevance due to an unclear positioning, e.g. The “victims of
consolidation” and “the undecided”.
In the disruption scenario, banks need to change even more: they can aspire to become a
“guide in the digital jungle” for their clients, a “risk partner”, who is able to absorb and process
highly structured risks, or an “invisible bank” which is deeply integrated into “plumbing”
of other services so that clients do not even recognize the involvement of a bank anymore.
There is a considerable risk for banks to turn into “museum banks” that continue to try in vain to
cover all products and the entire value chain themselves, or (particularly for smaller local banks)
become irrelevant local access points similar to “telephone boxes”.