Innovations are driving banking, financial services

Syed Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Amit Malhotra during the panel discussion on Technological trends at the Digibank in Dubai on Tuesday. —Photo by Shihab
Syed Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Amit Malhotra during the panel discussion on Technological trends at the Digibank in Dubai on Tuesday. —Photo by Shihab

Banking-as-a-service is gaining more traction among customers.


Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Tue 26 Oct 2021, 8:22 PM

Last updated: Tue 26 Oct 2021, 8:24 PM

Innovations in technology are a key driver in the growth of the banking and financial services industry, experts said at the Digibank 2021 Forum.

Speaking in a panel session at the event on Tuesday, Amit Malhotra, general manager – Personal Banking Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, said that the overall banking landscape is changing rapidly due to digital transformation. “Banking is not something that a customer does eight to five in a brick and mortar structure. Today, banking is something that you do out of your smartphone, your tablet, and your smart watch. This means that banking has gone beyond the brick and mortar structure and it is imbedded in your customer’s lifestyle journey.”

He revealed that ‘banking as a service’ is gaining more traction among customers. “Today, when you pay for your child’s school fees, that is banking. When you pay your electricity bill, that is banking. When you buy a new car with a loan that you have taken; or when you remit money back home; or when you are buying a home and sorting out the mortgage, all that is banking. It is not just money that is sitting in the bank anymore, it is a mobile app that is imbedded in a customer’s lifestyle. Innovations are driving banking as a service and the whole ecosystem. This is where the industry is headed.”

He highlighted the example of WeChat in China, which is a social platform that has transformed itself to become one of the largest financial services providers in the world today. “These are not examples of banking that is being done out of a brick and mortar structure on a set schedule.”

Syed Mohammed Ali Naqvi, head of Data Center of Excellence, Al Hilal Bank, pointed out that digital transformation is not just about the technology that a company invests in, but also the culture of the company that plays a huge part in the future transformation. He highlighted several technologies that are impacting the industry, and which have the potential to revolutionize certain processes.

“Robotic Process Automation, or RPAs, are already helping banks save costs and become more efficient,” he said. “Blockchain is revolutionising cross-border payments; while Machine Learning is not only helping banks to protect themselves, but also helping to identify advance risk models.”

“If I were to choose one technology though that will really revolutionise the industry, then I will have to go with Conversational AI,” he added. “Imagine talking to a bot, which recognises your voice and then authenticates you using the same; it is trained in finance and can have full conversations with you. Imagine that bot being able to analyse your spending patterns and advising you on what you can do to save money. Imagine telling it to remit money back home to your family, all with just one command. Who would then want to open a banking app? Conversational AI has so much potential to change the game for banks.”

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