Simon Hughes of International Banker interviews Mr. K.C. Li, Group Chairman and Mr. Andrew Bainbridge, Group CEO of SBM Holdings on the positive financial growth of the bank, SBM’s desire to establish a larger pan-African presence and the bank’s expanse of its service offerings.
Simply mentioning the topic of artificial intelligence in finance usually elicits a mix of excitement (“AI is amazing and can solve every problem”) and fear (“Will we all lose our jobs? Will robots cause the next market crash?”).
While the pace of bank M&A transactions in 2018 has been on par with the same period in 2017, deal valuations are on the rise. During the first quarter, the aggregate value of all announced bank deals was $4.08 billion, down sharply from $9.08 billion a year earlier
“Equal pay for equal work” has been a familiar mantra, and law in many countries, for decades—but does reality coincide, especially in the world of finance? Various studies have revealed disturbing gender pay gaps, and the push is on for banks around the globe to disclose wage data according to gender and ethnicity, something many seem reluctant to do.
The introduction of the European Commission’s banking directive PSD2 both recognises the shift towards Open Banking and helps drive the change; with banks expected to share private financial data with third-party providers at the request of clients, the payments industry is entering a period of radical change. What are the implications for the financial landscape, and how are banks adapting to the revolution?
It’s not news that many economies of the developing world face barriers to financial inclusion, making it difficult for citizens to both borrow and save; but the good news is that help has arrived in the linking of mobile payments with remittances. From sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America and the Caribbean, mobile money is bringing the previously underbanked into the fold.
World Heritage Sites ultimately belong to all of us, so it is in everyone’s interest to sustain them. Banks have an important part to play toward protecting the most valuable but also vulnerable places on the planet, ensuring that their investments are employed with the twin goals of promoting economic growth—through, for example, energy projects—but also of safeguarding the natural resources affected.
For European banks, regulations (GDPR, MiFID II, PSD II, Open Banking) are aligning at a time when they are already warding off digital disruptors intent on wooing customers with convenient, cutting-edge technology-based offerings. Financial institutions that adopt a wait-and-see approach will likely lose ground in a rapidly changing financial landscape, but those who adapt and maximize their formidable advantages will prevail.
It makes good economic sense that when people work toward their own economic benefit, the economy, and society, as a whole benefits—but do these profitable conditions benefit all members of society, or are some left out? Today, fintech challengers are accomplishing what traditional banks have failed to fully achieve—providing fair and open access to basic financial services for all of the world’s citizens.
One of Ecuador’s leading banks, Produbanco, has refused to allow unfavourable national economic circumstances to get it down. By staying true to its customer-centred culture, the bank is successfully fulfilling its long-term strategies. CEO Ricardo Cuesta discusses how the bank’s commitment to pushing its objectives forward by utilizing technology, exploiting its own brand, honouring CSR goals has paid big dividends, and not just financial.