Banking: Time to transform
Despite diverse challenges, the banking sector is evolving faster than ever before, and such changes are expected to happen even quicker in the coming years. Investments in new technologies and fintech firms are hitting record levels and even traditional banking institutions are shifting away from existing business models. For example, embedded finance is already widely prevalent whereby non-financial/non-banking business enterprises are disrupting traditional norms of financial transactions by providing their own suite of financial services and products which, once upon a time were strictly reserved for banks and financial institutions.
Disruption through digital is no longer a single event, rather a constant pressure to innovate. The new players in the financial scene are already well established, cash rich, and well recognised names by media, technology, and entertainment sectors. They can create a better user experience and offer personalised products to further seize clients as well as control customer relationships. Consumer expectations are also constantly changing due to the availability of improved innovations, and the creation of new and better business models.
While the banking sector will evolve and progress and become more technologically advanced, so will the sophistication and capabilities of cyber criminals. The banking system of the future will need to embrace even more cutting-edge defensive technologies and utilise artificial intelligence to detect and prevent cyber-attacks.
While the banking sector will evolve and progress and become more technologically advanced, so will the sophistication and capabilities of cyber criminals
The era of Technology Regulations (TechReg) is already here and its primary purpose is to mitigate risks of new technology and new types of market players within the existing ecosystems. The expectation is that the regulators will also continue to update existing regulations as well as bring forth new regulations to ensure protection of consumers and stakeholders. Consequently, the financial system must also keep up with emerging TechReg.
The future will require more access of banking consumer data to third parties, and this will have a major impact on retail banking. Hence, the current business model for data analytics also needs to be upgraded in order to sustain relevance. Banks must learn to use data to optimise their products and services and then sell those to customers in ways that they desire. The goal will be to monetise data through the utilisation of available technology platforms.
While most banks in Bangladesh have already embraced digital existence and digital functionality to some extent, there is still a lot more to do. In order to keep up with the banking norms of the future, consistent and sustained bold moves will have to be made towards intense technology aided transformation. A fully integrated digital banking sector is essential for a truly digital Bangladesh as the banking sector is a primary component of any economy. As Bangladesh and its banking sector continue to become more agile and digitally connected with the rest of the world, the challenges from cyber threats will also increase.
Bangladesh is usually slow to keep up with the rapidly changing pace of technology. For the leadership teams at incumbent Bangladeshi retail banks, now is the time to recognise and embrace changing trends and prepare for this fast-changing environment.
The writer is an economic analyst