Banks confident in future growth

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about what banks need to do to continue to grow as consumer preferences change and technology advances, especially given that these two ideas are often interconnected. But at this point, it seems that most CEOs of banks large and small believe that their institutions are capable of handling those challenges and continuing to grow for years to come.

Today, 92 percent of CEOs in the banking industry say that they are confident that their companies can grow over the next three years, which is more or less in line with what CEOs in other industries feel, according to the latest poll from PricewaterhouseCoopers. However, this comes at a time when just 43 percent of respondents see a lot of hope for the global economic picture in the next year, a number that's down from the 56 percent in the 2014 study who felt there was a positive here.

Where could this growth be focused?
In addition, bank executives seem to know that there are more pressures on their ability to grow springing up than ever before, the report said. While 58 percent feel there are more opportunities available to help facilitate that growth, roughly the same number also feel there are more challenges. This may be especially true when it comes to new types of financial services, such as crowd funding, new innovations in payment transfers, and new technology in the market as a whole.

All of this ties back into the ways in which technology is driving these smaller competitors toward success and an ever-larger footprint in the financial services industry, the report said. Indeed, 53 percent of industry CEOs saw these alternatives as something of a threat to their bottom lines, up from just 32 percent last year.

"The days of being able to just think of other banks as your competitors are over," one CEO told the authors of the survey. "We've seen new entrants that are being driven by technology."

Banks are confident they can adapt to future needs.Banks are confident they can adapt to future needs.

Other issues
Meanwhile, CEOs also recognized that the retail banking industry may need to do a little more to develop its customer-focused business models, the report said. Part of that may be boosting diversity in the industry, and two-thirds of respondents say they either already have strategies in place to do so, or are planning them now. In fact, 89 percent of those who have already enacted such efforts say are seeing benefits, such as attracting new talent, improving business, and strengthening their reputations overall.

More than 4 in 5 banks are now turning to websites and even social network to help identify potential job candidates, the report said. Further, a slightly smaller number say this has helped them realize they should be on the lookout for people with more diverse skill sets going forward.

These are things for banks to monitor closely as time goes on, because consumers' attitudes about where and how they bank are changing rapidly. The more they can do to facilitate in-person transactions at branches, reducing people's time spent, the better off they're likely to be.