Banking has traditionally been a very regional/national business. In the U.S. and Europe there has been a struggle to find new sources of revenues/profits to satisfy shareholder demands. Many banks have focused new fees and account structures to drive revenue from their customer base. Very few banks have taken the wider worldview and looked at the opportunities for growth in the global markets.
While reading this recent article in the Wall Street Journal Indonesia Impedes Card Collectors, it struck me that U.S. financial services organizations like Capital One have a great opportunity to apply their skills and expertise in consumer analytics and database marketing to a new international consumer customer base that is on a consumption growth curve.
The biggest challenge a Cap One would face is internal understanding and management of international data within their existing analytic/business intelligence infrastructure. Leverage of cross border commerce solutions for identity verification and address validation would be key foundations of any global initiative for a Cap One, BankAmerica, or Lloyds TSB.
Rather than trying to wring one more dollar out of its customers through unappealing fees, perhaps domestic financial institutions could go where the new customers are, taking a page from HSBC and other global banks.