A new survey by consulting firm KPMG found most eyes in banking on information technology initiatives and a quest for heightened operational efficiencies, as financial institutions continue to grapple with the expense of compliance with new regulations.
“Banks are still in recovery mode after the financial crisis and coming to grips with the new regulatory environment in which they now operate, which is impacting revenue and driving up compliance costs," said Brian Stephens, national leader of KPMG LLP's Banking and Capital Markets practice.
Reductions in headcount are a focus of many bankers, according to the KPMG survey, with 32% of respondents saying they are cutting jobs.
Other financial institutions are having better times, however, with 39% saying they are adding to payroll.
When asked to identify areas where they are most likely to increase spending in the coming year, 58% said information technology.
“Banks are interested in making investments in IT to further increase operational efficiency and regulatory reporting, better connect their various platforms and systems, and gain a more holistic view of their customers who may use several of the bank's products and services," said Judd Caplain, national account leader of KPMG LLP's Banking and Capital Markets practice, in a prepared statement.
Platform simplification was the IT area most cited as winning more dollars (58%). Asked to identify areas commanding the most capital investment, 38% said mobile banking and payments, 24% said more branches, and 22% said investments in online banking platforms for PCs and laptops.
"The shift away from investing in the traditional branch customer channel to the channels utilizing mobile technology is noticeable, and we expect this trend to continue at an accelerating pace," added Caplain.
More than 100 senior banking executives responded to the KPMG survey, the firm said.