When transforming banking systems, it pays to listen

KPMG helped Royal Bank of Canada work with its business partners and customers to unlock the potential of payments modernization.

Royal Bank of Canada
Financial services
Payments modernization
  • Client challenge
  • Benefits to client
  • KPMG approach
  • KPMG insights

Client challenge

With online experiences now part of our everyday lives, consumers and businesses expect them to be streamlined interactions. This is especially true with banking payments services which offer users more convenient, effective, and flexible payment options across multiple channels. A modernized payments infrastructure, coupled with a rationalized menu of payment options, has enormous potential. 

Understanding this, Canada’s Financial Services industry created such a scheme to be used throughout the country. But how do you implement it and leverage its capabilities to realize its potential—not just for the banks themselves but also their customers? Rather than find a solution that only reflected the industry’s own needs, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), which has a strong philosophy of putting the customer first, took an innovative approach that considered the needs and perspectives of their clients.

Benefits to client

KPMG held a series of collaborative sessions where RBC worked directly with customers to help determine how to modernize Canada’s payments system. What resulted was a critical understanding of their customers’ friction points and emerging business needs. They were able to identify ways in which payment modernization could help enrich their customers’ business processes and even the experiences of their own clientele.

These collaborative sessions allowed RBC to work closely with its business partners and customers to unlock the potential of payments modernization. As a result, RBC management now has:


  • a multifaceted view of payment modernization and its implications for the bank, its customers, its competitors and the country as a whole
  • access to exclusive use-cases from which to map customer journeys
  • the opportunity to co-design prototype capabilities that live inside today’s consumer technology
  • an innovative engagement playbook and critical insights learned that can be used to aid future customer-centric developments
  • the possibility of developing products that can be piloted in a broader program and introduced to market.

KPMG approach

Today’s banking landscape is increasingly complicated. Industries are no longer siloed as the lines that once divided different businesses have grown increasingly blurry. As a result, financial organizations can no longer measure their customer experience against other banks. They must compare themselves to leaders in other non-banking sectors with enhanced transactional experiences, such as retail or transportation.

Seeing Canada’s payments modernization initiative as an opportunity to drive meaningful innovation, RBC wanted to develop a more customer-centric approach. They strive to always earn the right to be their clients’ first choice, and this was a chance to embrace that core business value. Having enabled digital transformation across multiple sectors in the past, KPMG was well suited to assist RBC in achieving their vision by leveraging KPMG’s U-Collaborate (UCE) facilitation methodology.

In three full-day sessions tailored to RBC’s client base, the bank embraced the new capabilities that came with payments modernization and how those capabilities could enhance the way they did business. Bringing together bank customers and bank management as well as industry advisors in payments, insurance, and fintech from around the world, these sessions explored the potential of a new payments infrastructure for Canada. Participants learned how modernization meant immediate cashless payments around the clock, allowing for data-rich messaging with more detailed remittance information. They also examined the concept of a universal customer alias database that makes making payments as easy as using the phone or email.

The event began each day with a core education component followed by ideation sessions where participants were challenged to apply what they had learned. Here, they would identify pain points and explore how the new infrastructure could reduce or potentially eliminate friction within their own specific business processes.

KPMG insights

Care about the customer if you care about the bank

Banking is a highly regulated industry, so there’s a tendency to start with what’s possible, only involving the customer in the later stages of development, if at all. To meet the expectations of the modern customer however, banking systems must be built more inclusively from the outside in. As a result, 70-80 percent of each day-long UCE session was spent listening to the customer.


Not the same old meeting

With KPMG’s Innovation Lab and UCE methodology, the meetings with RBC were unlike most. Unlike other sessions where attendants simply intake information provided by the host, these were entirely collaborative workshops. RBC met with actual customers, cooperating to figure out a solution together. This interactive approach resulted in solutions that were mutually beneficial to both bank and customer while giving both parties a deeper grasp of each other’s needs and ambitions.


Learn from those who’ve done it before

With its track-record in assisting our clients with payments modernization, KPMG is able to draw on a wide range of global experience, not only from our own consultants but from c-suite executives, fintech companies, and other independent voices. By bringing these diverse viewpoints to the table, and meeting as equals, there is a genuine opportunity not only to learn but also to innovate.

KPMG's U-Collaborate facilitation methodology helped Royal Bank of Canada achieve the customer-centric vision it sought.