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Sopra Report Identifies Coopetition as Key to the Digital Banking Experience

Even though traditional banks still hold an overwhelming majority of consumer accounts, many must collaborate with fintechs and other participants in the financial ecosystem to stay relevant.

Sopra Banking Software’s second annual ‘Digital Banking Experience’ (DBX) report reveals that while banks still hold 92 per cent of consumer accounts, they can’t provide competitive banking experiences on their own.

The report offers a direct view into how banks are approaching digital transformation, exposing the obstacles that are affecting their ability to meet consumers’ financial expectations.

It finds that the delay itself is creating opportunities for both digital challengers and traditional companies with banking ambitions.

Held back

The report makes clear the banks’ longing intention to transform. Thirty-four per cent cite this goal as a ‘critical priority’. Yet the findings show that a proportion feel that they lack the foundation for this to be achieved. More specifically, 49 per cent believe they lack the rounded operating model to generate digital transformation.

The responses identify collaboration and cross-functional working methods among the challenges they encounter in this process.

Setting sail for digital

Banks’ digital shortcomings are creating a gap between them and consumers. The inability to satisfy customer demand is creating an near exodus from traditional services to digitally-able services.

Traditional banks in the US, for example, currently hold 92 per cent of all consumer accounts. However, the report also indicates that nearly half have an account with a digital-only bank.

Additionally, it reveals a willingness to bank with non-banking companies like Amazon and Apple. Likewise, 37 per cent would consider banking with a social media company like Facebook or TikTok.

A market threat

With these consumer opinions in view, it’s clear to see how the challengers’ growing piece of the market pie is causing some level of resentment among banks.

In this way, 77 per cent admit to feeling pressure to collaborate with fintechs and other participants in the financial ecosystem to stay relevant.

Sopra Digital Banking Experience
Eric Bierry, CEO, Sopra Banking Software

A similar figure still view these new entrants as a threat to their existence, but feel driven to work with them due to new legislation and increasingly high consumer expectations that they can’t meet on their own.

“For the first time in their history, banks are having to adapt their models to prepare for the future,” says Eric Bierry, CEO at Sopra Banking Software.

“But in order to do this, they need an understanding of what the financial ecosystem of the future looks like, and then a path to get there. We created the Digital Banking Experience Report to give them that roadmap.”


Banks believe that the opportunities presented by partnering with fintechs outweigh the threats. If fact, this behaviour is enabling many of the aforementioned challenges associated with digital transformation to be overcome.

Around three-quarters of banks view partnerships as opportunities for revenue growth, improved customer loyalty, reduced time to market and better customer experience.

A further 65 per cent say they prefer to turn to third parties to build new technology, rather than doing so themselves. In this way, the role and revenue of banks in the future is largely becoming defined by service-based models.

Fifty-two per cent already offer their capabilities to third parties to enable new revenue streams, while three-quarters agree that this ‘as-a-service’ approach will become the leading business model of the future.

This sentiment is certainly shared among the industry, as discussed in this corresponding webinar produced by The Fintech Times.

Here features editor Polly Jean Harrison joins leading industry figures to discuss exactly what coopetition means to banks and their challengers. The discussion also clarifies how banks and fintechs have been able to help one another while remaining competitive.

The great age of reason

“Banks’ lack of digital readiness isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s a recognition of the challenges of transformation,” said Jacob Morgan, principal analyst at Forrester.

“Banks realise that it’s time to align their digital goals with those of consumers and third-parties. They’re simply wrestling with the challenges of doing so, and taking time to internalise the changes needed to make this a lasting part of their culture.”

The report’s findings are based on responses from Forrester’s survey of 792 senior banking leaders, responsible for credit and lending, customer experience, digital banking, open banking initiatives, payments and the technology stack at banks in 50 countries.

Sopra Banking Software also partnered with IPSOS to examine how banks are living up to the expectations of 12,500 bank customers in 14 countries, with a secondary focus on responses from 1,000 US respondents.


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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