Banks are suffering from a problem: cash. Not long ago, many struggled to maintain liquidity, then COVID-19 arrived. Consumers and businesses have flooded them with deposits, as governments have doled out aid, uncertainty has made safe havens attractive, and continual lockdowns have restricted activity. But this is likely to change soon.
US Federal Reserve
The Wells Fargo brand transitioned from top-notch to tarnished over the past decade after one of the United States’ leading banks became a case study in customer abuse. Under new leadership, the bank is diligently striving to meet the requirements placed on it by regulators and is experiencing renewed customer and shareholder trust; its fortunes may be reversing after a damaging period of highly publicised scandals and resulting disciplinary measures.
Digitisation has strengthened the trend toward a cashless system, with central banks exploring the feasibility of central bank digital currencies. Spearheaded by The Bahamas with its release of the sand dollar, many central banks are in various stages of releasing their own cryptocurrencies. Although China is the dominant leader in CBDC development, other central banks are catching up. CBDCs share some of the attributes of popular cryptocurrencies but not all.
Crises bring out the best in humans, and that has certainly been evident during the COVID-crisis, especially with banking, which has risen to the challenge more successfully than many expected. Sustaining the momentum post-pandemic will be critical, as economies struggle to recover. To remain robust and profitable, banks will need to pay particular attention to key areas such as transforming costs and reimagining customer relations, aided by talent and innovations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a truly singular year. With a deep global recession resulting from strict lockdown measures being implemented throughout much of the world, there has been little for investors to cheer. But with signs that the worst may be mostly behind us, an increasing number of opportunities will undoubtedly present themselves as we move into 2021.
Thanks in no small part to recent rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve System, Singaporean banks are now under increasing pressure. And the outlook for the Asian city-state’s banking sector suggests that things may get only worse this year, especially for the three biggest players:
On the surface, the United States is soaring economically when compared to some of its rivals. But turbulence lurks under the nation’s wings. To a large extent, the Federal Reserve is underwriting this growth through monetary and fiscal channels, leading to instability in money markets. What transpires in the world’s largest economy and reserve-currency holder is guaranteed to impact the welfare of economies elsewhere, so what can we expect next?
Increasingly, the US government is imposing sanctions as an integral part of its foreign policy, and financial institutions, especially those in capital markets, have been caught in the crossfire. With penalties for sanctions violations mounting, financial players within capital markets are increasingly called upon to assess and address the risks associated with their products and services that are vulnerable to exploitation by sanctions violators, and accomplishing this is not easy.
As the world becomes more digitally intertwined, competition between its major economies grows more combative, as evidenced by the US-China trade battles and legal actions. No sector is more impacted than frontline information and communications technology, in which much of today’s warfare between the two heavyweights rages. At the inception of a new year and a new decade, is there reason to hope for cooperation toward shared growth and prosperity?
The mandate of financial institutions is to process financial transactions for individuals and businesses, but unfortunately, these institutions are sometimes used for illicit purposes, such as money laundering and terrorist financing. Effective, accurate risk assessment is the foundation of a financial firm’s risk management and regulatory compliance, and there are a number of manual and automated methods available to assess risks. Detecting and acting against suspicious activities is a must for banks today.