In the old days, banks could work independently of others providing financial services, but not anymore. As the world becomes more interconnected, banks are being drawn into emerging ecosystems comprised of old and new players. Cooperation and integration are the names of the game for both incumbents and newcomers such as fintechs and virtual banks, but putting the blocks in place to build the infrastructure is easier said than done.
Southeast Asia, with a high percentage of its population still underbanked but with growing economies and widespread smartphone adoption, is prime territory for fintech upstarts as well as pioneering incumbent banks. The race is on, and many players have jumped in, with ASEAN governments promoting the contest, which is pushing the limits of financial services to new boundaries. The ultimate winners, of course, will be the commercial and retail customers.
The issuance of new regulation is not always met with elation, but financial and accounting industries in the European Union have reason to applaud the new PSD2, as it brings advantages for customers and businesses alike. Although the advantages for customers are clearer, such as increased control over their personal data, banks, too, will benefit from such features as better data, increased security and, in the end, more satisfied customers.
Although not a new concept, big data is now gaining the world’s attention like never before. Some call it the “new oil”, given its growing reputation as a valuable, largely untapped resource. Indeed, today we are seeing data being unleashed across many different walks of life, as a growing global consensus believes it could dramatically transform the way the world works.
There are enough new terms floating around banking to make one’s head spin, and along comes greenfield bank. This refers to the growing trend among incumbent banks to create standalone digital banks that are as agile and innovative as the fintechs and neobanks. After considering how difficult and expensive it is proving to be for banks to break out of their legacy-infrastructure moulds, this approach makes a lot of sense.
The word revolution isn’t used lightly, so when we are told that we are in the midst of Industrial Revolution 4.0, we can expect to see major changes—especially in that most fundamental of industries, banking. Providing guidance to their 33,000 strong membership, in the midst of the upheaval, is the UK’s Chartered Banker Institute, which through multiple avenues is preparing bank professionals, current and future, to serve their customers well during the transformation.
Banks are a mixed bag when it comes to utilising technology’s full potential: some are taking full advantage while some are trying, and often struggling, to apply technology to their existing businesses.
The term “operational efficiency” is not new, and in fact, applies to many industries because it works toward a common goal: to optimize operations so they provide greater returns – whether they be faster time to market, greater volume and/or increased revenue – relative to inputs.
International banks are rapidly evolving to cater to the digital world. With pen and paper signatures nearly obsolete, banks are investing in electronic signatures as a more secure, trustworthy replacement. But questions remain: How secure are the systems that consumers and businesses use and what happens if a transaction is disputed?
Although Shariah-influenced finance has existed for centuries, the first modern Islamic banks were not established until the early 1960s. Today, Islamic banking is spreading throughout the Middle East and Africa, in countries where a majority of the population is Muslim. Combining modern technology with ancient religious principles, Islamic banking is rich with opportunity for financial firms seeking to serve this growing consumer market, especially those who have not been served well by conventional banks.