July 13, 2020

How some banks are 100x more efficient than others

Banking is seeing a wave of digitisation. This is done through the use of AI and Machine Learning with use-cases such as automation of debt underwriting and conversational AI for better customer service. The primary benefit of this digitisation is that banks are able to optimise their resources more efficiently. As a result of this, they are able to save costs and provide better customer service and experiences. An essential measure of the efficient optimisation of resources in this industry is the customer to employee ratio. The reason for that is because with effective integration of digitisation, banks are able to minimise the number of employees needed per customer. 

Number of Customers per 1 employee

Based on the graph above, it can be seen that WeBank and Ant Financial have a significantly higher customer to employee ratio as compared to the other banks. Both the banks have a commonality of having technology companies as their parent companies with TenCent as WeBank’s parent company and Alibaba as Ant Financial’s. This technology outlook aligns with the current market trend of customers preference for digital banking services. Through effective implementation of digitisation, the banks have been able to keep a smaller number of employees needed per customer. 

Further, looking at more traditional banks- it can be seen that a traditional bank like Citi has 200K employees and 200M clients making the customer to employee ratio 1000. On the other hand, Ant Financial has 10K employees and 1.2B clients making the customer to employee ratio 120K. Although there is a difference in the markets, the 120X efficiency warrants questions with respect to efficiency of traditional banks. Therefore, the sheer size of the gap in the ratio between the two is testament to the need for banks to shift towards digitisation in order to stay competitive in the global and regional markets. 

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Methodology and Author’s Notes. 

This article does not mean that it is an exhaustive list of the biggest banks in terms of customers or employees. We could have implemented in our research other banks with surely different ratios, with more employees, more customers. Our goal was to illustrate the differences between different countries, markets and governments, as well as showing the differences between the traditional banks and challengers. Finally, we are aware that this research does not separate the different departments within traditional banks. 
You can find exact numbers and data sources here.