By Ademola Adewale
The next phase of banking sector reforms and consolidations in Africa’s most populous nation will be driven, not by the industry regulator or by industry or market forces but, by technology, technology and technology.
Computing technology has become a key business driver for Keystone Bank as we embark on a comprehensive overhaul of our systems, processes and human resource assets and capabilities.
Like financial services institutions all over the world, Nigerian banks are increasingly realizing the transformative powers that technology can inject into their products/service delivery offerings and by extension, their reputations and expanding balance sheets. Continue Reading »
By Miles Nosler
Over the last few years, whenever I saw an IBM Smarter Planet commercial on television I wondered what was behind things like Smarter Transportation? Smarter Cities? Smarter Commerce?
Since then I’ve come to understand what the Smarter Planet concept is about – tackling Big issues with smarter, interconnected technologies to improve the way we live and work. But, it didn’t truly sink in until I started crunching some Big Data with an IBM mainframe. Let me explain.
If someone told me I would take the top spot among 4,600 very smart students competing in IBM’s Master the Mainframe contest, I wouldn’t have believed it. But that’s exactly what I did, and now I have in-demand technical skills on my resume that are landing me job interviews. Continue Reading »
By Alejandro Valenzuela
Not many companies can say they’ve been in business for more than a century. As the CEO for Grupo Financiero Banorte, better known as Banorte – Ixe, one of Mexico’s largest banks, I’m proud to say we’ve been serving our customers since 1899. You can imagine how many changes Banorte–Ixe has gone through the course of 114 years—where the exchange of monies once came in the form or bartering and loans were handwritten on paper, banking is now marked by national currencies and automatic tracking through intricate technology systems. Today’s banking industry looks and operates in a very different way to how we began.
Every transformation we’ve underwent as a company has been in response to the changing needs of our customers. We started as a very small local bank in Monterrey, and here we are, 2013, as the third financial institution in México. We find our business undergoing yet another shift, but again, with the same focus in mind: our customers. Continue Reading »
By Howard Bruck
Not since the availability of the ATM has the banking industry experienced such momentous change.
We are obliged to create products and services valuable to our customers doing their banking business on the internet and on mobile devices, all while maintaining responsibility for the highest levels of compliance and information security in environments we don’t always control.
This new world of the empowered customer has created a continual “when you want it, it will be there” customer mentality as the new reality of how they expect to interact with their financial institutions.
Continue Reading »
By Suresh K L
Like many other countries in Africa, Ghana’s banking sector is in the midst of its most transformative phase.
The sector has expanded substantially over the last ten years, characterized by branch expansion and increased capitalization as financial institutions move to meet growing demand for consumer banking services across the country.
This is due to the continued economic growth, foreign investment, increasing diversification and a number of large investments in both the private and public sectors in Ghana and across Africa.
New technologies are helping to drive a wave of innovation across the African financial services sector as banks create new and accessible banking channels and take banking services to previously unbanked parts of society.
By Tony Mwai
Ten years ago, if workers in Kenya wanted to send money to relatives across the country, they had two options – either pay a courier to take their wages back to their village or travel themselves, often spending a hefty portion of the wages on bus fare and then losing a day’s pay.
Today, in a just under a second, over 14 million Kenyans can send and receive money to each other in whichever part of the country they are, all thanks to mobile money transfer solutions.
Over the last five years, more than $16 billion has moved between phones in this country, indicating the untapped demand for access to reliable and affordable financial services in the palm of Kenyans. Continue Reading »
Who said banking was boring?
Let me explain first … before you conclude that banking is indeed boring. Banking is typically regarded as a low involvement product, a boring product. Based on some interesting research, however, we discovered that people actually have a lot of emotions and feelings when banking.
We recently asked and observed retail and business customers about our products and service – what they liked and disliked. It was part of a joint project with our Marketing team to study customer human emotions such as anger, boredom and surprise to see what affect if any they had on the ING brand.
Here’s what we found.
With routine banking, our research shows that customers feel bored and safe and have minimal emotional reaction. With complex banking products, more extreme emotions such as fear, hope and nervousness play a role. With complex banking products, customers feel emotions and feelings about fear and hope.
It may not come as a surprise to most that emotions play a significant role, but from a banker’s perspective, it was a great insight. The research clearly showed that we needed to pay more attention to the customer experience. In a very short time we had a banking crisis, and now we are dealing with the Euro crisis. So it’s understandable that customers today are insecure about their financial future.
Within ING, we had always focused IT on creating more efficiency and effectiveness. When dealing with other people’s money, we can’t afford any mistakes in our processes. Dealing or developing products was mostly about solving a problem from a technical standpoint.
The past few years have taught us that efficiency in customer interactions is not enough. To become the preferred bank for customers, we have to build a relationship of trust by delivering excellent products at a fair price and mitigating negative emotions surrounding personal finance. We’re now building a culture where we solve problems from a customer’s perspective vs. just from a technical standpoint.
I’m very enthusiastic about the possibilities that current technology will give us in the coming years, and this will only improve. CMOs and CIOs together must forge a shared agenda to drive marketing innovation, blending the art of marketing with the science of technology. As a CIO today, for instance, it’s important to consider how technology affects all departments in addition to managing traditional IT management responsibilities. Success for ING is not only doing things in a more efficient and effective way. It’s also taking into account the emotions when dealing with our bank and putting technology to work in creating great customer experiences.
On Tuesday, September 4th at 1 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CET, Ron van Kemenade, CIO ING Bank Netherlands and Yuchun Lee , vice president and general manager for IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management Group will participate in a twitter chat about how Smarter Commerce plays a role at ING, what it takes to market to the digital customer, and the why it’s so important for the CMO and CIO to forge a solid relationship. To join the conversation follow the hashtag #GetRealChat or follow @INGnl_Ron and Yuchun Lee and @IBMSmrtCommerce.
Dr. William R. LaFontaine
Vice President, Technical Strategy
Coming from IBM Research, I think of innovation in two dimensions. First, there is the continuous innovation that goes into IBM’s products and services. This innovation provides important advances to current technology as well as helps IBM introduce breakthrough products. The benefits of this approach are clear in IBM’s next-generation computing platform PureSystems.
But we also look for more exploratory challenges that help us advance science by leaps and bounds. We call them grand challenges. Meeting them requires a very different set of practices and capabilities – and presents some interesting problems.
And that was the topic today as the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington, DC hosted a forum with the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, IBM and Qualcomm to discuss how we can meet the next Grand Challenges.
Continue Reading »
I think we can all agree that internet banking has proved itself to be a BIG thing! And yet, banks seem to be way off the pace in terms of quality of service and functionality provided to corporate and business customers online. In fact, I would say that internet banking for business is in a ten year time warp. It feels similar to where retail banks were back in 2000 – when they were still trying to understand what customers would do online and figure out if they could make money from that new-fangled ‘inter-web’.
It’s strange, really. These are the business accounts that are worth hundreds of millions – you would think banks would be lavishing money on them. However, business and corporate banking has remained a largely person to person relationship business. Internet banking has been a hygiene factor rather than a differentiator. This is especially as, by and large, it is small business people or junior finance clerks who most regularly use online services.
But I think this is all about to change – and for a few good reasons (and this list is not exhaustive):
Banks are waking up to the fact they can save money:
- The cost of a person to person service is growing. As relationship managers have to care for larger and larger portfolios of customers, banks will have to beef up their online offerings to compensate
- Collaborative working tools will give banks the ability to work more efficiently with clients – which will save banks money and save customers time. For example, web-chat built in to internet banking will allow banks to share information with customers in real time – answering questions in one touch.
It is becoming apparent that internet banking can differentiate service and deepen relationships:
- Banks will be able to provide new functionality as a value add – particularly for top end users. By adding quality reporting functionality to online services and making it accessible via mobile / tablet devices, banks can deepen relationships with CFOs
- By offering broader ranges of functionality and more user friendly processes, banks will be able to help their business clients to save time and cut costs – particularly important in the current environment
Customer expectations have grown:
- Online customer experience leaders like Apple and Amazon – as well as retail internet banks – have raised the bar. Customers are already becoming frustrated that they cannot do the things they expect to be standard.
I recently co-authored a white paper on the future of internet banking for businesses – spanning both the corporate and SME markets. As part of that process, I spent time reviewing all the major business internet banks and talking to users – both small business owners and corporate users. This conclusively confirmed that users want a better service.
Users want banks to get the basics right – which many do not do today. Users want their internet bank to provide a decent user interface – with simple to follow processes, a convenient log in process and proper multi-signature functionality. SME customers want access to a greater range of functionality. Corporate customers want more configurability – and to be able to fulfil their foreign exchange and money market transactions for themselves. However to truly differentiate themselves, I think banks need to look to the future – to the services that customers don’t even know that they need yet – or that banks are too scared to offer (online corporate lending anyone?). As all the banks bring their online services up to the standard of retail banks, that is where I think the true differentiation will lie.
So internet banking for business is in a ten year time warp – but it is starting to fast forward. There are clear areas for immediate improvement (banks need to get the basics right) – but differentiation will be achieved through innovation. Banks need to move now, before they get left behind by their competitors and their customers.
Alex is a retail banking and internet / mobile / social media professional with over 10 years experience.
Alex joined Lloyds TSB in 2000. During his time at Lloyds, Alex worked in both product teams and distribution. In his first permanent role, he managed a customer service call centre team of 100 people. He went on to work in Lean Sigma for Personal Lending and strategy for General Insurance. He also held roles in Telephony and Branch Network Operations.
Over the last few years, Alex specialised in internet and mobile banking. He started as a change programme manager and then moved into product management. In his last role at Lloyds, Alex was the product owner for Loans and Mortgages across the Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland internet banks – the largest internet bank in Europe.
Since joining IBM, Alex has held implementation roles with UK online banking clients. He has also consulted on Retail, Corporate and Business internet & mobile banking and social media with European and Asian financial services clients.