There was a lot of uncertainty about the British economy at the start of 2020. With the finalities of Brexit looming over everything. It didn’t feel especially positive. Then things were upturned even more than we could ever have dreamed following the December election.
Ever since the coronavirus spread across the world and the country was placed in lockdown towards the end of March, there is very little in our lives that has not been affected by the pandemic. Each and every sector that makes up the British economy has been impacted, from travel, leisure, sports, and entertainment to packaged consumer goods and retail. Each with challenges unique to those industries.
It’s not surprising then that the financial industry has been heavily affected. In the following post, we are going to discuss just how it has impacted the financial sector.
Social Distancing and Shelter-In-Place = Fewer Businesses Open and Fewer Customers
Thanks to buzzwords and phrases like “quarantine”, “social distancing” and “shelter in place” and the requirements that come with these government-enforced measurements, there are not as many customers moving freely about. That means there are fewer people actually working at physical branches, which in turn has placed enormous pressure on alternative channels used by financial organizations like social media, online services, and telephone customer service.
Increased Calls and Contact
As a result of the increased contact and calls from customers to their financial services providers, many companies are pushed to the absolute limit. It’s justified, of course, as customers just want answers to their questions about their finances and to request special dispensations and allowances, particularly if they have been furloughed or can’t work to the same capacity as before. It’s not just customers, but businesses that need help too, as they have suffered similarly by the pandemic, whether it’s their profits being reduced or vanishing completely.
Fintech Companies and Their Special Position
The interesting thing is that the pandemic has affected the more traditional businesses operating in the financial sector. Fintech start-ups and companies, on the other hand, are positioned well to deal with remote WFH requirements and increased demand for their digital services. They are not fully out of the clear, though, as many are still facing uncertainties when it comes to their funding. Some have even started offering their specialist services to customers and businesses for free or have had to think outside the box and come up with new products to meet the changing needs of their clientele.
It’s clear that the situation, even as the rate of new cases and deaths falls, will need to be handled carefully and continuously by financial sector companies if they want to keep their customers on side. They will need to win over their renewed trust, respond to all their concerns where possible, and reassure their consumers. Only time will tell what the true impact of this health crisis will be and just how robust companies online and digital infrastructure was to deal with the increased demand.