COVID-19 accelerates digital transformation in the banking sector

The COVID-19 pandemic is fundamentally changing the digital usage behavior of German bank customers. New habits developed due to the virus are maintained, old behavioral patterns are abandoned. For example, customers who previously had an affinity for stationary banking have now come to know and appreciate banking without the branch and new, digital payment processes. A boom in card payments and digital wallets, the expansion of digital channels and a massive increase in the number of online banking users were the result.

According to Sven Krämer, Partner at zeb, this development will continue irreversibly: “"The trend towards more online and mobile banking continues even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided. This largely cancels out the last regular point of contact between bank and customer - the supply of cash - across the board and across all age groups.”

Established market players are now in immediate competition with direct and neo-banks, which can produce the same products in a leaner fashion and in high quality by using digital processes and modern IT. At the same time, the IT environments of many traditional institutions are approaching the end of their lifecycle and will have to be replaced in the foreseeable future. There is a growing need to develop digital skills across the workforce.

Nevertheless, according to Mr. Krämer, promising opportunities are opening up right now for many stationary institutions: “At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in Germany, the established institutions played an important role in their customers’ financial stability. They proved to be a reliable partner and first contact person across all customer groups. They should use this reinforced trust to gain ground in the competitive environment. However, this requires systematic, focused action.”

In a recent publication, zeb recommends eight fields of action that are crucial for success in digital transformation. In the view of the authors of the paper, it is no longer a question of "if" but only of "when" and "how fast" the digital agenda is processed in order to make up for lost ground in view of changed customer usage behavior.

About zeb

As a leading strategy and management consultancy, zeb has been offering transformation expertise along the entire value chain in the financial services sector in Europe since 1992. In Germany, we operate offices in Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Münster (HQ). Our international locations are in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Kiev, London, Luxembourg, Milan, Moscow, Oslo, Stockholm, Vienna, Warsaw and Zurich. Our clients include European large-cap and private banks, regional banks, insurers as well as all kinds of financial intermediaries. Several times already, our company has been classed and acknowledged as “best consultancy” for the financial sector in industry rankings.

zeb Contact

Franz-Josef Reuter
Head of Public & International Affairs
Phone +49 251 97128 347


„We are partners for the media in the field of financial services.“