Simon Hughes, International Banker: How do you see the disruptive influence of fintech affecting the banking industry, as well as your own business, during the next few years?
Mr. Mikael Sørensen, CEO, Handelsbanken UK: I don’t see it as a disruption to our business model at all. This is not the first time that something new pops up on the technology side within the financial sector. We have seen that before, and we will see that again. Right now it’s fashion to talk about fintech, and I’m sure that many of these companies will also be here in 10 or 20 years from now. And some of them offer really, really good service. But that can never replace the business model that Handelsbanken has built up with physical branches. People to a larger and larger extent, people or customers, want to serve themselves. The different kind of digital solutions, albeit some kind of, different kinds of fintech applications. But sometimes in their lives when they have a big decision to make, like when a customer buys a new house or wants to start pension planning, then they like to sit down with a person and talk to that person face to face. And a person who knows their economical situation. And that can never be replaced by a robo-advisor or things like that.
Mr. Edwin R. Bautista, President and Chief Operating Officer, Union Bank of the Philippines: Fintechs will be a good thing for the Philippines because they will only expand the market. That’s the only way to, I mean the only way to reach the unbanked section is through digital banking. The fintechs are very good at that. And for us, we can learn a lot from them. And if the market gets disrupted, it’s an opportunity for us to expand our market share in a major way. So that’s how I see the role of fintechs in the Philippian market in general and us in particular.
Dr. Charles Stephen Kimei, Chief Executive Officer, CRDB Bank: No bank in Africa will survive without embracing fintech. This is going to define the future for African banks. Because, as I said, there are many disruptors, because the market, the African financial market, is actually, has the opportunity to leapfrog into digital banking. And digital banking is the future. It’s the future because you are reaching people who have no communication, people who really need the service. But who could not access it because of the way traditional banks have operated. So I think the discussion has been there, but for CRDB Bank we have always said, this is where we are going, and our strategy is to create a robust and improved on all our digital systems. Make digital banking the mainstream banking. That is the modern way.