At the beginning of 2008, it was unlikely that anyone seriously thought that the future of the banking industry was in doubt. A year later, however, that is a question that weighs heavily on many financial services professionals. While there is general confidence that the banking business will survive, there is considerable uncertainty about who the survivors will be and the kinds of economic and regulatory environments in which they will be operating.
As bankers, regulators, politicians and others struggle to understand the causes of the global financial crisis and try to figure out how to help the industry recover and return to growth, the role of IT is, if possible, more important than ever. But that is both good and challenging news for bank IT organizations, which will be under tremendous scrutiny to quickly deliver leading-edge solutions that improve risk management, regulatory compliance, the customer experience and payments processing (to name just a few core functions) -- all with reduced budgets and workforces (and often in the midst of a merger or consolidation).
The events of the past year have made it clear that offering forecasts about the banking industry is a risky business, but in Bank Systems & Technology's 2009 Bank Technology Outlook, BS&T's editors provide some educated predictions about what to expect in the coming year. In this issue an array of leading industry commentators explore how the problems -- and opportunities -- created by the financial crisis will affect banks' technology strategies. Among the topics examined are the effects of the crisis on budgets and spending; the implications of new regulatory demands; and how industry restructuring could impact strategies in areas as diverse as outsourcing, security and personal finance.