In contrast to the global financial crisis (GFC), COVID-19 triggered initial impacts in the real economy and will increasingly manifest itself in a second stage throughout the financial sector. The lockdowns and social-distancing measures imposed by governments around the globe to flatten the infection curves have caused significant damage to many industries, all of which are served by financial institutions.

Compared to all previous crises—including the GFC, the oil-price shocks of the 1970s or even the Great Depression of the 1930s—COVID-19 will likely have the most substantial impact on the global economy, with a one-year reduction in worldwide GDP of more than 6%. Financial services firms need to consider 7 macro trends to properly plan for the future.