The 5 most frequent language challenges in the banking sector – and how to address them

Jobs and responsibilities within an international bank are diverse, yet they all converge on a common requirement: the necessity of fluency in a foreign language as a means of communication with clients, institutions, and associates across various international branches.

It’s important to note that linguistic demands can vary significantly depending on one’s position and seniority. In this post, we will explore the most frequently encountered linguistic needs within the banking sector and provide insights on how to effectively address these requirements tailored to the specific roles in question.

Ensuring Optimal Client Welcome and Support

Typically, there are three key roles that directly engage with your clients:

  • The Advisor: Serving as the primary point of contact for clients.
  • The Banking Expert: Offering specialized technical support on various topics, ranging from real estate to insurance and more, as needed.
  • The Receptionist: Acting as the face of your bank for all teller operations.

Proficiency in languages becomes invaluable for these professionals when dealing with expatriate or non-resident clients holding accounts in foreign countries. It can even be deemed indispensable when conducting international transfers.

Beyond expatriates and non-residents, having multilingual employees signifies your commitment to banking inclusivity. This commitment entails providing banking services to everyone, regardless of their language, origin, or social background. In countries marked by a rich diversity of languages and origins, offering representatives who speak clients’ native languages ensures the delivery of a top-notch experience to all customers.

To deliver the ultimate client experience, Learnship offers training in 12 languages with accredited instructors. These courses emphasize oral communication practice and enable a high degree of content personalization. Our Elevate training programs cover topics specific to banking and insurance and incorporate content aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) to enhance general language proficiency.

Standardizing Work Processes Across Countries and Branches

The fact is, the banking sector functions within a framework of rigorous regulations. Every aspect of banking operations is subject to oversight and control through procedural guidelines that are applicable across the board. Even though these procedures may be documented in local languages depending on the branch’s location, it is crucial that all stakeholders, whether they work in support roles, sales, or processing, have access to a single, authoritative version. English has emerged as the universal language of banking – the medium through which procedures are conceived, documented, revised, and subjected to audit.

Whether your colleagues are process owners, members of the procedure committee, responsible for validation, or tasked with execution, it is crucial that they are proficient in English to ensure a comprehensive grasp and full compliance with these processes. This is vital in preventing deviations from established procedures, inefficiencies, and security breaches. It serves as the strongest defense when addressing audits and regulatory inquiries.

Enhancing Internal Communication & Productivity

Beyond mere adherence to procedures, it’s important to recognize that English serves as the primary language of international communication. Whether you’re collaborating with overseas branches, outsourcing departments to countries with highly competitive labor markets like India or relying on centralized and shared functions such as IT, it’s crucial for your teams to possess proficiency in English. This proficiency not only helps prevent misunderstandings but also yields time savings, ultimately boosting productivity.

The easiest way to empower all your colleagues to write, understand, and implement these processes is by offering an English e-learning platform. This platform will provide them with comprehensive training, allowing them to learn at their own pace, encompassing both vocabulary and grammar. Furthermore, it will provide access to specialized glossaries tailored for banking, insurance, and various other domains. With the Learnship Solo platform, you can effectively train your teams in banking terminology on a global scale and monitor their progress effortlessly through an intuitive dashboard. To enhance your team’s communication, the Solo e-learning platform can be paired with both group and individual sessions. These sessions focus on improving oral communication skills and addressing individual challenges.

Enhancing Productivity in an International Institution

Moreover, what holds true for inter-team communication applies equally within teams themselves. In this context, specific skills and a specialized vocabulary set individuals apart. Consider, for example, a legal team handling contracts in France or Germany but executing them in India; their mastery of legal terminology in English becomes paramount. Similarly, specialists in banking operations frequently engage in negotiations in English while managing multiple client banks and global partners. Furthermore, managers, especially those involved in risk analysis and quality control, often find themselves needing to excel in the art of delivering presentations to international audiences.

At Learnship, we offer fast-paced training programs tailored to employees already comfortable with English who wish to enhance specific skill sets. Our 5-week Sprint courses encompass a wide array of skills, including but not limited to storytelling, persuasive techniques, remote team management, professional presentation skills, and more. For senior profiles, Learnship also provides personalized coaching services.

Keeping Abreast of FinTech Market Trends and Consumer Behaviors

The influx of millennials into the workforce during the 2010s and 2020s has brought about a significant shift in how banking services are consumed and marketed. Banks are no longer seen as institutions but rather as service providers addressing specific needs such as purchasing homes, international travel, or even dining out. Much like other industries, they no longer strive to push their products onto customers but, instead, aim to understand consumer behaviors to offer products tailored to the market.

They’ve had to adapt to evolving user habits, particularly the rise of mobile banking, and the emergence of low-cost online banks. FinTech represents the culmination of these changing behaviors, embedding banking into daily routines and offering the flexibility to seamlessly and securely conduct all transactions and banking services via various devices like computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Today, with the entry of Generation Z into the workforce, most behavioral studies, fundraising activities, and FinTech company launches are conducted in English. Designers, technicians, and all team members must closely monitor market developments and stay ahead of the competition, thus necessitating English training as a crucial aspect of their skill set.

Putting your trust in Learnship means placing your trust in the partner of over 70 banking institutions and consulting agencies worldwide.

With over two decades of experience in assisting companies in identifying their needs, crafting tailor-made, award-winning language solutions, tracking progress, and evaluating business outcomes, Learnship stands as your preferred partner for elevating your teams’ communication skills effectively.