The PNC Center research agenda is created in consultation with the Advisory Board and will evolve as the Center matures.
An initial proposal for the Research Agenda focuses on five, primary research interests:
Payment cards (credit, debit, and charge cards) were first introduced in 1950 and have revolutionized how and when we pay for goods and services. The financial services industry is now experiencing a new migration from payment cards to digital payments. This migration creates changes within the industry such as the transformation from centralized transaction processing networks into a decentralized one that must work instantaneously. As payment cards morph into contactless payment, we need to understand how to support and analyze these transactions. We need to understand how consumers’ attitudes to financial transactions, risk perceptions, and behaviors change as a result new financial channels. Additionally, understanding how to migrate certain types of transitions to these new channels may substantially impact profits.
The traditional business model has focused on business broadcasting messages to consumers. The socialized business model needs to consider how banks can create an interactive relationship with the consumer and how social relationships impact financial ones. Supporting interactive relationships strains the traditional legal and compliance model of bank-customer interactions. Social media can be used to build relationships, create awareness, acquire customers, build brand, service customers, and learn about customer needs. Banks need to understand how social business models change perceptions of their brands and influence brand perception of trustworthiness, reciprocity, and the norms to which consumers will expect them to adhere. Mobile adds another dimension of location, but also expands usage which may be paired with social. This new social, mobile world creates new possibilities for understanding, measuring, and supporting financial transactions. The challenge is how to measure and analyze these unstructured transactions to support the relationship between the bank and its customers.
Financial transactions provide a rich resource for the bank to understand and learn about their customers. Traditional metrics like customer lifetime value focus on using structured financial transaction data to measure the number and types of transactions. New technologies provide unstructured data from call centers, social media, social networks, click-stream, and email. How can this data be used to better assess and improve upon the value of services that are offered to a customer? Furthermore, how can this financial transaction data be used to aid consumers in managing their own finances. For example financial transactions could be used to indicate changes in lifestyles: new jobs, moving homes, marriage, kid’s graduation, retirement. How can financial transaction data be used to help consumers manage their own financial health?
Social and mobile channels present new challenges in maintaining consumer privacy and protecting their financial security. In a social network, security becomes a function of not just my actions and settings, but of those of my friends. How can a consumer’s financial security and privacy be maintained in a social, mobile network? Information security and privacy within the financial sector in particular is under increasing regulatory constraints. How should the firm (and its customer) navigate the risks without sacrificing the benefits of mobile and social networks? What information do consumers want to share? What factors lead consumers to trust social and mobile networks for their financial transactions rather than viewing them as intrusive?
A common assumption in research on financial decisions is that individuals know what is in their best interest and they act rationally based on this knowledge. However, research points to many psychological and cognitive factors that lead to questions about this assumption, such as present-bias, emotion, loss aversion, narrow framing, financial illiteracy, overconfidence, and wishful thinking. These frictions may lead to sub-optimal decisions. New technologies may impact the trust and emotions that drive consumer decision making either in a positive or negative manner. Potentially these new technologies could be used to help consumer’s improve their financial decision making. Some specific questions include: How will the immediacy of digital payments impact consumer’s decision making and their long-term financial health? How do social and mobile environments influence financial decision making? How can technological aids and gamification be created to aid the consumer to improve their financial decisions?