Technology has soared during the COVID crisis, but the outlook for fintech funding has been mixed, as investors prioritized surety, especially during the pandemic’s early days. Although fintech funding experienced a pronounced drop during the first half of 2020 across VC, PE and M&A, it has recovered impressively, auguring well for 2021.
If bank branches seem emptier these days, it is because a majority of staff are working from home, heeding COVID-19 restrictions. And most of them prefer the WFH arrangement. Banks have had to implement a number of operational changes to accommodate the WFH model, balancing employee health with productivity and accountability concerns.
Fraudsters are attracted to money, and unfortunately for banks, they draw more than their share of fraudsters’ attention, resulting in the loss of sizeable amounts of revenue to hackers. Technology is helping banks fight cyberattacks but also aiding cyber-crooks. Is it a lost cause, or can banks win the battle using the right innovation?
Global upheavals on the scale of COVID-19 inevitably change “business as usual” permanently. Once the lockdown lifts, the reboot will begin, but how will it look? New approaches to evaluating risk and return will be needed to traverse the new financial landscape and efforts to scale up investments to reach the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals even more critical. How we approach the challenge and build sustainability into the recovery plans will be of great consequence and essential to improving resilience against future global threats.
Bankers are bullish on digital transformation. According to 2018 research by the Boston Consulting Group, 86% of financial institutions agree that digitization will upend the industry and permanently transform the competitive landscape.
Hong Kong, southern China’s special administrative region, is counted as one of the world’s foremost financial hubs, ranking high in digital transformation, and is currently rolling out virtual banks, which are keeping traditional banks on their toes. One of the well-established banks in Hong Kong, China CITIC Bank International (CNCBI), has staked claim to being a frontrunner in digitalization and is rapidly expanding its innovation footprint in China’s Greater Bay Area.
Diversity and inclusion have recently become top goals in the strategic policies of many banks, but how is execution matching up? Research continues to expose large gaps between good intentions on paper and good outcomes in practice. Diversity and inclusion are more than nice-sounding words; when realized, they boost profitability. Banks that go no further than prioritising these goals in mission statements miss out on playing the ace.
In January 2016, the 17 SDGs of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development came into force, aiming to end such conditions as poverty, inequality, repercussions of climate change. Agreeing to these lofty goals was one thing; actualizing them is another. Further investment, to the tune of $2.5 trillion for developing economies alone, is one of the main hang-ups. Can the private sector assist its finance partners in closing the gap?
Despite the record-breaking highs achieved by US stock markets, 2018 is ending with virtually all those gains wiped out. And it’s not just the United States that has suffered. Germany’s DAX, the United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 and Japan’s Nikkei 225 are all ending the year firmly in the red.
How can banks and financial institutions get through to the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, the so-called “millennials”, also known as Generation Y, given their shorter attention spans and distrust of brand loyalty?