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OMNI-CHANNEL BANKING

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Omni-channel banking is the seamless banking experience that a customer experiences when he interacts with the bank through various channels such as mobile, internet, retail, etc. Wells Forgo bank in the US,has reported some amazing success using omni-channel – increase in purchase rate by 1.9 times, increase in customer retention by 20ppt and increased cross-selling per house-hold by 6 products among others.

omniChannel

Pillars of Omni-Channel

Omni-channel banking will lead to banks that are very different from what we know of banks as today. Most industry experts agree that the banks are very likely to evolve in 4 areas as Branch, Mobile, Social and Video. We have given a snap-shot of how banks will use these platforms in the coming years.

Branches: There will be a surge in the number of physical touch points offered by the banks. Banks will invest in creating newer formats of branches such as:

Virtual Banking – These are banks that provide all banking facilities online. Customers can meet their investment managers through video calls over the internet to manage their funds.Sabadell United Bank in Florida, USA, has come up with a fully virtual bank – virtualbank.com.

Specialty branches- These are special branches that would cater to all the needs of a particular customer segment. They handle most needs of the customer from investments to safe-keeping, SBI Kohinoor is a very good implementation of a specialty branch.

Banking pods – These are the next generation ATM machines that will enable customers to experience not only ATM transactions such as withdrawal, balance enquiry, etc but will also provide complex services such as opening accounts, ordering cheque books and interacting with bank employees through the ATM.

Agent branches – This is a franchise-like model of banking where an organization such as a post office, convenience store or retailer offers financial services on behalf of the bank.

Mobile: It is estimated that over a trillion dollars’ worth of transactions will happen through mobiles in 2017. Banks are gearing up for this challenge by providing payment solutions through various platforms such as Apps and SMS banking. NFC’s are expected to take off in 2015 along with other emerging technologies such as low range bluetooth services and MST. Pingit, the Barclays app, for mobile banking in the UK has been successful.

Social: The Capgemini payments report estimates that close to 10% of the banking transactions would happen through the social media. Some of the banking facilities that the banks offer through social media are transfer of funds, group expenses, P2P payments between friends, e-commerce, etc. Banks also use Social media for Customer Awareness, Customer Insight, Product/Process Development, Lead Generation and Sales, Customer Service and Brand Development. ICICI pockets has been a pioneer in the social banking space.

Video: This can be a game changer for the banks as it can bring down the costs of banking significantly. Customers can talk to the bank staff through video conferencing using Video kiosks or ATM machines.This will also enable banks to provide high quality service to customers who are in remote locations.Bank of America is partnering with CISCO to install video conferencing facilities in 500 of its branches to provide expert advice to their customers.

Challenges in Omni-channel Implementation:

Though Omni-channel promises a lot of promise, there are some challenges in its implementation.

Analytics is very likely to be the trump card for banks in this mode of banking. The success of analytics projects in the banking domain has been around 40%-50%,the banks are hopeful of deriving good results in the near future as they have large datasets of contextual customer data.

But, data integration is a challenge for the banks in itself. A bank on an average runs a few hundred to a thousand software applications. Experts agree that the complexity of data integration grows geometrically as the number of applications increase and this is what makes data integration a challenge.

Banks store very sensitive information and when there is aggregation of data it makes it more lucrative for the hackers to target these systems. In the past year JP Morgan compromised over 76 million household accounts making it one of largest online intrusions. To keep their data safe is going to be on top of the bank’s priority list.

As discussed earlier, with the customer interacting with the bank using various devices, the customer should receive consistent service across all mediums.  Great care has to be taken to ensure the branding elements such as symbols, codes, fonts, colors, terms and units of measurement consistent across channels to make it easier for the user to use the banking solutions across platforms.

Conclusion

In the next decade we will see banks that are totally different from what we know as banks today, we would see newer versions of the branch ranging from banking pods to specialty banks.

The percentage of cashless transactions will increase in comparison to cash based transactions – new payment methods such as mobile banking, e-wallets and NFC’s will help in reducing the number of cash-based transactions.

Analytics and mobile will play a major role in the growth of banks. Banks that can predict the customer needs and suggest relevant products at relevant time will have an edge over other banks.

Anand Krishnan

Anand Krishnan

About the Author

Anand Krishnan, Associate Consultant, Maveric-Systems is a core banking consultant working with Maveric-Systems with over 4 years of experience in requirements elicitation, requirements design and product development. His primary areas of interest are payments, channels and emerging technologies such as mobile and cloud.

Prior to joining Maveric-Systems he obtained his Masters in Business Administration from Great Lakes Institute of Management

Banking

Banks in EU to publish world’s first ‘green’ yardstick from next year

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Banks in EU to publish world's first 'green' yardstick from next year 1

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Banks in the European Union would have to publish a groundbreaking “green asset ratio” (GAR) as a core measure of their climate-friendly business activities from next year, the EU’s banking watchdog proposed on Monday.

As the trend in sustainable investing gathers pace, regulators want investors to get more reliable information on a bank’s exposures to climate change as storms and other weather events affect the value of their assets and liabilities.

The European Banking Authority (EBA) said the ratio, put out to formal public consultation on Monday, will measure the amount of climate-friendly loans, advances and debt securities compared to total assets on a lender’s balance sheet to reach a percent figure.

“I believe it’s the first time regulators are asking for a green asset ratio,” said Piers Haben, EBA’s director of banking, markets, innovation and consumers.

“The numbers may well be single digit for banks at first and that’s why context will be important. When a bank talks about where it wants to be in 2030, that is going to be really interesting on the green asset ratio.”

The new EU “taxonomy” would be used to define which assetsare environmentally sustainable.

EBA said that many stakeholders have a legitimate interest in the physical and transition risks that banks are exposed to from climate change.

Banks are likely to face pressure from investors to show what steps they are taking to increase their GAR over time, though few lenders are expected to reach 100%.

The watchdog was responding to a request from the EU’sexecutive European Commission on how to implement upcomingrequirements on climate-related disclosures by banks.

The GAR would published in a bank’s annual report, starting from 2022 based on data up to Dec. 31, 2021.

Banks will also have to publish three other indicators showing the extent to which fees from advisory services, major trading operations and off-balance sheet exposures are derived from climate-friendly activities.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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Banking

SoftBank’s internet business to invest $5 billion to resist overseas tech giants

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SoftBank's internet business to invest $5 billion to resist overseas tech giants 2

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank’s internet subsidiary Z Holdings outlined plans on Monday to invest 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) in technology over five years to resist an onslaught from larger overseas rivals.

The announcement follows the merger of its internet business Yahoo Japan with chat app operator Line, creating a $30 billion domestic internet heavyweight.

Z Holdings said it is targeting sales of 2 trillion yen and operating income of 225 billion yen in three years, as the COVID-19 pandemic boosts demand for online services.

Following a complex transaction, two thirds of Z Holdings shares will be owned by a new holding company, A Holdings, owned 50:50 by SoftBank Corp and South Korea’s Naver Corp.

Z Holdings remains a consolidated subsidiary of SoftBank. Naver was the previous majority owner of Line.

The CEOs of Z Holdings and Line, Kentaro Kawabe and Takeshi Idezawa respectively, become co-CEOs of the combined entity, reflecting the hybrid origin of the firm which straddles e-commerce, payments, advertising and chat.

Kawabe pointed to the breadth of those services, many of which are deeply embedded in the lives of Japanese consumers, as its defence against rivals like Google parent Alphabet and Amazon.com and their larger research budgets.

In an early indicator of efforts to save on costs, Z Holdings said it was looking to integrate Line’s QR code payment service Line Pay into peer PayPay, which SoftBank has promoted aggressively to attract consumers away from cash, in April 2022.

Z Holdings retains its listed status, one of a number of such firms among SoftBank’s domestic holdings, despite calls for Japanese firms to unwind such structures.

Z Holdings also controls online fashion retailer Zozo Inc and office supplies firm Askul Corp.

($1 = 106.5600 yen)

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Christopher Cushing and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Banking

Strong second half limits Bank of Ireland 2020 loss

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Strong second half limits Bank of Ireland 2020 loss 3

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Bank of Ireland limited its underlying 2020 loss to 374 million euros ($452 million) after a return to profitability in the second half, the bank said on Monday.

Ireland’s largest bank by assets also announced the closure of one-third of its branches in Ireland.

The bank set aside 1.1 billion euros to cover possible loan defaults due to COVID-19 disruption, the bottom of its forecast range that it expects to capture the majority of credit impairment risk associated with the pandemic.

An underlying 295 million euros second half profit limited the damage as lending and business income improved.

Chief Financial Officer Myles O’Grady said those trends continued into 2021, although Ireland was in a long lockdown again.

“It’s clear that there is some impact from this lockdown but the signals overall are encouraging. We do think (the second half) will be a return to a more normalised level of activity,” O’Grady told Reuters.

The bank cut it costs by 4% year on year in 2020, meaning it achieved its 1.7 billion euro annual cost target one year early. It set a new goal of cutting costs further to 1.5 billion euros by 2023.

That will partly be achieved by the branch closures with its Irish network cut to 169 from 257 and Northern Irish presence more than halved to 13. It struck a deal with the Irish post office to offer customers access to banking services at An Post locations.

Bank of Ireland’s core Tier 1 capital ratio, a key measure of financial strength, stood at 13.4% versus 13.5% at the end of September. The bank said it expected capital to remain broadly in line with those levels in 2021.

Analysts at Davy Stockbrokers said the results were “better across income, costs and, notably, impairments.”

($1 = 0.8272 euros)

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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