From the rudimentary and often primitive approaches to dial-up banking in the 1980s and 1990s to the 24/7 rapid access of Internet banking accessible to customers from anywhere in the world in 2009, there continues to be a revolution of convenience solidly anchored in security taking hold (Wang, Wang, Lin, Tang, 2003). All of these benefits are also dominated by the fact that many banks now have guided selling systems online (Beasty, 2006) that make it possible for consumers and businesses to design their own unique financial services programs and made-to-order programs. Banking is entering a new era of personalization and exceptional security as more and more services once entirely completed in branches are now completed online. The concept of "cloud" computing or the development of Software-as-a-Service has made these services available on a 24/7 basis as many banks turn to this platform for hosting services (Orr, 2008). The risks of having banking transactions running on SaaS-based platforms have been mitigated by the continual improvement of XML integration standards specifically for this industry (Orr, 2008). All of these benefits taken together then have contributed to an industry that competes for customers with an intensity never seen before.
With all of these benefits there many more challenges. First many consumers resist change and still want to walk into a branch and do all their transactions with a teller. This has proven to be exceptionally expensive and despite many innovative and creative ways to get consumers and businesses to adopt Internet banking (Wang, Wang, Lin, Tang, 2003) many have resisted out of fear. Studies by independent research firms and the banks themselves indicate that the cost per transaction with a teller is today well over the cost of an automated one (Katuri, Lam, 2007). Banks need to switch consumers to automated means of interacting with them to save on costs, yet there is high resistance to change, especially technology many consumers do not understand. This is the most difficult challenge this industry is facing today as it seeks to stay profitable and attract customers, reducing churn or customer turnover in the process (Katuri, Lam, 2007). There are also the problems of security and the continual phishing of accounts by online criminals and even entire gangs of cyber thieves. Scaling transactions across geographies and doing a better job of translating currencies on the fly as customers are increasingly traveling globally is also a challenge. Globalization and the myriad of transactions necessary for supporting individual and business accounts is forcing MIS system platforms to redefine their own scalability limits. On top of all these challenges, customer churn is rising due to consumers expecting more based on the wide variety of services offered by this industry.
The banking industry in the United States has down through fundamental re-definition as a result of banks continually looking to streamline their most complex processes and make them more cost-efficient. The progression for manual processes that when automated showed the extent of how fast and far banking business models could grow as a result of automation continues to revolutionize this industry. The 24/7 banking business model has given rise to the 24/7 consumer as well, with many traveling globally and expecting the same level of service at an ATM in Sydney,, Australia as they would have at their home branch's windows. The continued legislation and bailout of this industry further forces the need for greater levels of automation, accountability and security than ever before.