From financial services tech trends like expanded cloud migrations to robotic process automation, 2022 will be a crucial year for the future of banking.

The financial services industry has had more to face a lot in the past two years than just following the latest tech trends. First, the COVID-19 pandemic required banks to quickly adapt to more remote-friendly experiences, then maintain them as customer expectations began to shift. Then, there’s been the persistent presence of fintech companies looking to disrupt legacy banks. This puts pressure on their market shares and threatens them with obsolescence.

The financial services industry is not, however, letting itself become outdated. In response to the changing world around them, legacy institutions are leaning into the technologies that are changing the way businesses operate. Looking ahead to 2022, among the many tech trends to watch as the industry looks to evolve, these four are key:

Tech Trend #1: Banks Will Push Further into the Cloud

The strong interest in moving to the cloud has been signaled by heavy hitters such as Capital One (which is moving to Amazon Web Services) and PayPal (which is migrating to Google Cloud Platform), bolstered by an Accenture report that forecasts cloud investments will grow 15 percent per year.

That represents a shift. According to Accenture research, through mid-2020, “much of the industry had settled into a steady migration path that was often cautious and incremental,” with the average bank maintaining 58 percent of its workloads in the cloud (most of that in private clouds).

“Then along came COVID-19 and, like the rest of the world, banking changed,” the report notes. “Within a few short weeks the scalability, resilience, flexibility, and accessibility of public cloud looked a lot more attractive.”

The enhanced scalability and cost control are only a part of the appeal. The competitive advantage offered by artificial intelligence accessible through cloud providers has also become a prime motivator for this tech trend.

Chatbots are already a staple of many financial institutions’ customer service strategies, but many other applications are ready for adoption. AI technology could analyze transactions, learn how to identify suspicious accounts or anomalies and fraud, process large volumes of transactions and more.

Banks investing in the technology on their own would be costly. But cloud service providers that offer AI as an add-on present an alluring opportunity for financial services to continue evolving.

Tech Trend #2: Banks Will Seek to Automate More Tasks

Robotic process automation has seen an uptick in parallel with financial services’ growing implementation of AI.

The industry isn’t short on the type of simple tasks that RPA is made for. Customer information verification, cash management, financial statement reporting and more are well suited for the technology, which can reduce costs up to 75 percent, according to KPMG.

By further implementing automation in 2022, financial services will gain more than reduced costs and more efficient processes. Relieved of routine tasks, skilled employees will be able to focus their efforts on more complex work. Doing so also allows institutions to consider how to evolve their services further once the basic tasks are taken care of.

Tech Trend #3: Remote Banking Experiments Will Increase

Before COVID-19, financial services had been experimenting with remote banking. But 2020 turned much of that experimentation into proof-of-concept deployments, and that’s not likely to subside once the pandemic ends.

More than 75 percent of U.S. banking customers made their most recent banking transaction online, and 40 percent of younger bank customers told Cornerstone Advisors that they visit bank branches only because of poor experiences with their banks’ digital options — hardly a ringing endorsement of in-person banking.

In short, customers’ expectations and preferences have changed, and that will see banks continue to experiment with remote services.

ATMs will continue to evolve, offering additional services such as transfers or loan payments. Video banking, especially, is expected to be a point of focus. Mortgage applications and investment consultation, for example, can easily move to videoconferencing.

Tech Trend #4: Banks Will Make Greater Use of API Management Platforms

Application programming interfaces have helped integrate apps and services for some time, but APIs are becoming increasingly popular among financial services. This is not just because they broaden what banks can offer their customers — such as the ability to better manage finances by allowing budgeting software access to a checking account — but also because customers expect financial services to not silo their information.

As a result, the global API management market is on course to hit $6.2 billion by 2024 and blow past a point of no return for customers that banks will need to keep up with. API management platforms limit the number of queries each customer can send through the API, keeping the API stable and reducing crashes. Most API management platforms come with features such as analytics and usage reports. Vendors include Red HatCA and others.

APIs allow to financial services companies to link customers’ financial information through mobile apps, browsers and smart devices. Doing so will allow banks to match the pace of a world that is becoming more technologically connected every day.

The past two years have brought a torrent of changes to our society and financial institutions. These trends will continue to make their way in the year ahead. It will be thrilling to see what additional advancements arise as well.

In an ever-evolving digital world, Rack59 is your resource for financial services tech trends. Stay up-to-date with industry updates and trends at rack59.com.