Banking has not been immune to the volatile conditions of today's rapidly changing world. From the COVID-19 pandemic to a rise in artificial intelligence to new cybersecurity threats, banks continue to face large challenges that are ultimately changing the way they operate.
We've seen large shifts in 2021, but we expect even bigger changes to the landscape of banking features in 2022.
Here is a preview of what we expect to see from banks in 2022.
10 Banking Trends to Watch For in 2022
No one can tell the future, but we're constantly analyzing banking trends to predict what's next. Here's what's likely to come in 2022:
1. A Shift in APYs
Following the pandemic, APYs (annual percentage yields) plummeted at both banks and credit unions. Each month, we monitor the best savings accounts and best checking accounts, and a large factor in our methodology is APY.
Pre-pandemic, we were seeing some banks, especially online banks, offering APYs upwards of 2.00%. But when COVID-19 shut down the economy, rates plummeted. And while the economy has been on the mend for a year and a half, APYs have not fully recovered.
Sure, the best online banks often boast that they have APYs 10 times as high as the national average, but when the national average hovers around 0.05%, that's not too impressive.
In 2022, we expect APYs to continue their gradual return to pre-COVID numbers, but it may take more than another year to reach those historic rates again. And let's remember we've still got a second winter to weather during this pandemic, with a Delta variant that could spell bad news for industries across the board.
2. A Shift in APRs
On the flip side, buying a house will likely get even more expensive so it's best to take some time to learn how to buy a house. It's been a seller's market for more than a year now, with home prices at historic highs. While this seems to be showing signs of slowing as supply increases, borrowers aren't likely to get better deals from their banks.
Economists are predicting that interest rates on mortgages will start to increase. So while home prices may plateau, the money you'll pay for those borrowed funds will be on the rise.
3. No Shift in Credit Card Interest Rates
There is one last percentage to watch out for with banks: credit cards. Unlike slowly growing bank account APYs and quickly growing home loan APRs, credit card interest rates are likely to remain steady.
That's both good and bad: Good because it means interest rates won't get any higher but bad because these interest rates are already unbelievably high.
At the start of the last quarter of 2021, credit card rates averaged more than 16%. Expect that to remain true into 2022. Understanding how to pay off credit card debt will be as useful next year as it was this year.
4. Elimination of Overdraft Fees
Overdraft fees continue to be one of the most criticized fees assessed by banks, as opponents argue that they are targeted at the poor. Those who live paycheck to paycheck are the ones who are likely to accidentally overdraft (they pay more than 80% of overdraft fees), and the additional fee just makes it more challenging for them to climb out of poverty.
In other words, overdraft fees just make the poor poorer.
In 2020 alone, Americans paid $12.4 billion in overdraft fees. That's billion. With a B.
But in 2021, Ally Bank, America's largest digital bank, officially eliminated its overdraft fee. Not to be outdone, Alliant Credit Union followed suit just a couple of months later. Then, in December, Capital One, the nation's sixth largest bank ditched all overdraft fees, giving up $150 million in annual revenue in the process.
So who's next? As large brick-and-mortar banks struggle to compete with the advent of online banks, which are leading the charge in dropping overdraft fees, can we expect more of these national bank chains to drop their overdraft fees in 2022? Check out our review for the best online banks of 2021.
Even those banks that choose not to drop their overdraft fees may feel the added pressure to at least alter their policies. Many banks have begun to introduce options like 24-hour grace periods, multiple linked accounts and other solutions to make overdrafting the absolute last resort for customers.
5. Branches Are Cool Again
While visits to the in-person branch have been on a steady decline overall, a few leading organizations are trying to bring back the heyday for branches by making them engaging hangouts with increased digital services – from interactive kiosks to digital financial education modules and more. Branches are excellent marketing tools for banks because they provide great opportunities to engage customers and provide highly personalized financial education. Expect further investment in employee training and branch redesigns as leading organizations continue to deploy digital financial tools.
6. Digital Is Here to Stay
While even the in-branch experience is becoming more digital to continue to attract customers, financial marketers are adjusting bank marketing strategies to explore and put a greater onus on engaging with customers through more digital channels. In fact, Forrester reported that digital marketing spend in the U.S. was projected to reach $120 billion by 2021.
7. Data: Use It Like You Mean It
Financial marketers have no shortage of customer data at their fingertips — from purchase histories to demographics and more — but growing financial institutions are being driven by marketers who are using that data to create meaningful segments and targeted campaigns to serve their customers better and grow revenue. In other words, you don't need to become an expert in machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) to use data to fuel your bank's marketing campaigns.
8. The Power of Personalization
Data and personalization: they go together like peanut butter and jelly. But really, with the right data at your fingertips, personalization becomes easy…and lucrative. In fact, personalized financial education offerings at one bank actually netted them a $2 million increase in product sales(opens in new tab).
9. Married to Customer Engagement
How many times a day do marketers talk about customer engagement? Well, there's a reason for the never-ending emphasis. We know that highly engaged customers are highly loyal customers, and customer loyalty = increased revenue over time. After all, existing customers spend 67% more than new customers.
10. Content Is [Still] King
Financial marketers can continue to expect that content is a key way to keep your customers engaged and fortify a sense of trust and brand loyalty. EVERFI's digital financial education modules offer a great way to deliver relevant education to your customers without having to build that content out from scratch.