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WELCOME THE BANKING ROBOTS INTO YOUR SEAT

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Fundamental shifts in other major sectors of the economy show that what is happening in banking is part of a global sea change that will require many to re-evaluate the way they think about their career and future employment.

By Maite Barón, CEO, The Corporate Escape

History shows us that jobs in every sector change over time.

Science, technology and human behaviour all play a part in altering trades and professions to the point where first they become marginalised, then they disappear altogether.

Banking, like any other industry, is not immune to such influences. Over the last five or six years, structural change has rocked the sector, resulting in many, many thousands of redundancies, which even now are still going on.

When you work within a particular sector, it’s easy to see the world through the focus of one particular lens, and to believe that one day, somehow, things will return to normal, that what was before, will come again.

However, it’s often useful to get a fresh perspective on things by looking outside your “bubble” to see what’s happening in other professions, like architecture for instance.

Highly skilled and well trained, architects once did everything meticulously by hand at a drawing board. Then software came along to replace paper and pencil, and those who weren’t quick enough to make the transition to a computer-based model, were soon left behind. Now, despite the pickup in construction and the innovative application of new technologies, like using drones for aerial surveys, more and more architects are losing out as cheaper building systems do away with the need for bespoke services. Worse still, with many architects being forced out of larger firms by commercial pressure to cut costs, those setting up on their own face even tougher competition. Is architecture on the way to becoming a fringe profession?

In the automotive sector, cars are now built by robots, not people. And the development of disruptive technologies will soon enable small start-ups to leapfrog established giants. The arrival of autonomous vehicles like Google’s self-driving car and others driverless vehicles is a game changer. It offers new mobility to many and heralds the advent of accident-free roads, with a consequent knock-on effect for the insurance industry.

So change is happening everywhere fast, not just in banking.

Maite Baron

Maite Baron

In every corner of the world of work, significant shifts are occurring right across the globe. MGI Research, part of the McKinsey group, forecasts that worldwide 114 million full-time knowledge workers could be replaced by smart machines, and in banking, demand for online services has already led to the demise of many counter staff.

With the pace of change so rapid, we all need to rethink our ‘career’. No longer can we see it in terms of smooth linear progression, instead we need to think of it as a series of shorter ‘careersbursts’ that come to an end due to events and circumstances either in a particular industry or in the wider economy.

Careers will become a series of multiple paths, intertwining, crossing and running in parallel, which we can jump between if we choose, as long as we have the flexibility, willingness and range of skills to do so. That could mean many more opportunities, and a potentially far more rewarding life, but only if you are suitably equipped.

In fact, you need to start thinking of your career as a business, and be constantly on the look-out for ways to improve, revise and update your business model.

So if the old ways aren’t the way forward, what is?

  1. Accept that change is inevitable. And that it’s largely out of your hands, at least at a micro level. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for what might happen and be ready to react when it does.
  2. Technology is here to stay. It’s changing and shaping the employment picture very quickly and will continue to do so across all sectors, reinventing the way you think about work and what it means.
  3. On-going learning is the norm. If you adopt an intransigent belief that things will return to the way they were, you won’t have the mental and emotional flexibility to ‘roll with the punches’ going forward. That’s why the continual updating of skills is so important, if you are to stay current, let alone ahead of the curve, as a useful and valuable employee, or in fact, employable at all.
  4. Invest in yourself. However don’t focus exclusively on the skills and knowledge that are needed right now, think a couple of steps ahead. That way you won’t be equipping yourself with an ‘education’ that’s out of date before you’ve begun, like so many youngsters going to university today.
  5. Stay alert to changes within and beyond your sector. The signs may be small at first, but momentum can build fast, suddenly reaching a tipping point, after which events can unfold quickly, so be prepared to make rapid decisions. Read widely to find out where change might occur next, and think deeply about how this could affect you and what your response might be.
  6. Know when it’s time to move on. If you see ‘the writing on the wall’, don’t expend too much time or effort trying to stay in a sector that is telling you it doesn’t want you. Understand and accept that at any time there will always be others, better equipped through circumstance, events or pure chance, to progress where you can’t. Often it makes sense to simply get out of the game altogether and try another. Give yourself choices by taking the lead on change.
  7. Self-employment is the future for many more than are aware of it yet. Think seriously about self-employment or setting up your own in business, even if right now you have no intention of making the leap. Over your banking career you’ll have acquired not just a good understanding of business, but also technical knowledge that you can put to good effect for your own benefit. It may be time to turn what you know into a business.

Whatever you decide, in the constantly shifting world of work, the key is to make the switch while you’re still in charge.

At The Corporate Escape, developing entrepreneurial leaders and preparing professionals for success in a future world of work is our passion. You can start to retake control of your career by downloading our free guide – ‘7.5 Strategies to Thrive in Your Career or Business’.And for more valuable resources on how to prepare your transition from employee to business owner, go to TheCorporateEscape.com.

Banking

Commerzbank to lose 1.7 million clients by 2024 – Welt am Sonntag

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Commerzbank to lose 1.7 million clients by 2024 - Welt am Sonntag 1

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Commerzbank expects to lose 1.7 million customers by 2024 as part of its current restructuring, resulting in a 300 million euro ($364 million) hit to revenue, weekly Welt am Sonntag reported, citing sources close to the bank.

The lender hopes to offset the drop by growing its loan business as well as by expanding its business with corporate and very wealthy clients, the report said, without giving any further detail of why customer numbers were expected to decline.

It also didn’t say if any specific category of client was most likely to be lost.

Commerzbank declined to comment.

According to the bank’s website it serves around 11.6 million private and small-business customers in Germany and more than 70,000 corporate and other institutional clients worldwide, so the reported loss of customers would suggest a drop of around 15%.

The bank earlier this month reported a $3.3 billion fourth-quarter loss, sinking further into the red as it continued a major restructuring and dealt with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank’s restructuring plan involves cutting 10,000 jobs and closing hundreds of branches in the hope it can remain independent.

($1 = 0.8253 euros)

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Tom Sims; Editing by David Holmes)

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Banking

Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units – Bloomberg Law

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Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units - Bloomberg Law 2

(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc is considering divesting some international consumer units, Bloomberg Law reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The discussions are around divesting units across retail banking in the Asia-Pacific region, the report https://bit.ly/3pD57WP said.

“As our incoming CEO Jane Fraser said in January, we are undertaking a dispassionate and thorough review of our strategy,” a Citigroup spokesperson told Reuters.

“Many different options are being considered and we will take the right amount of time before making any decisions.”

The move, part of Fraser’s attempt to simplify the bank, can see units in South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia being divested, the Bloomberg report said.

However, no decision has been made, according to the report.

Revenue from Citi’s consumer banking business in Asia declined 15% to $1.55 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The divestitures could be spaced out over time or the bank could end up keeping all of its existing units, the Bloomberg report said.

The firm is also reviewing consumer operations in Mexico, though a sale there is less likely, the report said, citing one of the people.

Last month, New York-based Citigroup beat profit estimates but issued a gloomy forecast for expenses. Finance head Mark Mason said the lender’s expenses could rise in 2021 in the range of 2% to 3%, weighing on its operating margins. (https://reut.rs/2ZwXRB1)

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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Banking

European shares end higher on strong earnings, positive data

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European shares end higher on strong earnings, positive data 3

By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Ambar Warrick

(Reuters) – Euro zone shares rose on Friday, marking a third week of gains, as data showed factory activity in February jumped to a three-year high, while upbeat quarterly earnings boosted confidence in a broader economic recovery.

The euro zone index was up 0.9%, with strong earnings from companies such as Acciona and Hermes brewing some optimism over an eventual economic recovery.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.5%, as regional factory activity was seen reaching a three-year high on strong demand for manufactured goods at home and overseas.

Another reading showed the euro zone’s current account surplus widened in December on a rise in trade surplus and a narrower deficit in secondary income.

Still, the STOXX 600 marked small gains for the week, having dropped for the past three sessions as investor concern grew over rising inflation and a rocky COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

But basic resources stocks outpaced their peers this week with a 7% jump, as improving industrial activity across the globe drove up commodity prices.

“This week’s slightly adverse price action has all the hallmarks of a loss of momentum temporarily and not a structural turn,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“There is not a major central bank in the world thinking about taking their foot off the monetary spigot, except perhaps China. (Markets) will remain awash in zero percent central bank money through all of 2021 (and) a lot of that will head to the equity market.”

Minutes of the European Central Bank’s January meeting, released on Thursday, showed policymakers expressed fresh concerns over the euro’s strength but appeared relaxed over the recent rise in government bond yields.

The bank’s relaxed stance was justified by the euro zone economy requiring continued monetary and fiscal support, as evidenced by a contraction in the bloc’s dominant services industry in February.

The STOXX 600 has rebounded more than 50% since crashing to multi-year lows in March 2020, with hopes of a global economic rebound this year sparking demand for sectors such as energy, mining, banks and industrial goods.

London’s FTSE 100 lagged regional bourses on Friday due to a slump in January retail sales and as the pound jumped to its highest against the dollar in nearly three years. [.L] [GBP/]

French carmaker Renault tumbled more than 4% after posting a record annual loss of 8 billion euros ($9.68 billion), while food group Danone and German insurer Allianz rose following upbeat trading forecasts.

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shailesh Kuber)

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