How do you compete in a Bank 2.0 world?  The simple answer: “Take your ‘Head of Branches’ and make that person ‘Head of Mobile’.” This was Bank 2.0 guru Brett King’s response when asked how banks should approach the coming financial technology shakeup.

Of course, there is more to the story. In our recent joint webinar with King, which had over 1000 subscribers (far and away our highest number yet), he discussed the major issues that banks need to address in order to stay relevant in a quickly changing online and mobile world.

Some of these messages are likely hard to swallow for a financial industry that has in the past relied heavily on reputation, status, and push-based marketing to gain customers.

The key takeaways: Social media and new ways of communicating are happening faster than most banks think. Get rid of branches and start investing in other ways to interact with your customers. A bank’s utility is what will give it power in the future – not its products. This means implementing truly accessible and seamless mobile banking solutions, and more contextual interactions, along with more pull-based marketing.

When it came to mobile banking, King discussed his own initiative Movenbank, which had a recent soft-launch. Also mentioned were Google Wallet and PayPal’s experiments with mobile ‘wallets’ that will make use of the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip being put in some mobile phones to allow for purchasing.

But cutting through to the core of the presentation and discussion one could find an interesting and promising paradox in the Bank 2.0 world King describes, which is that this lack of face-to-face contact via banking branches will in fact lead to a closer connection to the customer. In the near future, banks will gain unparalleled access to the ‘personality’ of their customers with software such as Backbase Bank 2.0 Portal and technologies such as social media. This, in turn, will result in truly valuable services. And, of course, when you factor mobile in, you can’t get much closer to a customer than their back pocket.

To see the Future of Banking slides click here and to see the entire webinar click here.