Banking on digitisation

Published: September 8, 2016

Digitisation is impacting transactional banking in meaningful ways. Many banks are trialling some of the latest technologies and evaluating the implementation of new digital standards, which could radically change their business models. 

Banks operating across the EMEA region face numerous options when it comes to embracing the latest digital technologies across their payments, cash management and trade finance businesses. Many of them now recognise that, while the adoption of digitisation can bring challenges, it will also generate new opportunities, and enhance their businesses at a time of increasing cost pressures and growing regulation. 

“Digitisation is not new. This is all part of a constantly evolving journey, which goes through phases of innovation that achieve further efficiencies,” says Peter Jameson, co-head of Product Management, GTS EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

“It brings increased flexibility and greater automation on the bank and client side, both of which are becoming more sophisticated and tailored in their offerings and needs.”

He adds that there is “tremendous potential” for a number of different digital concepts from E-Bills of Lading (e-Bills) to e-Bank Account Management (e-BAM), and the question is how to drive adoption across a diverse group of stakeholders within supply chains.

“Blockchain is expected to have an impact, but progress will take time as it develops from concept to reality. Blockchain requires thought, further refinement, proofs of concepts standards and practical applicability for it to become a reality.”

Leda Glyptis, director, Sapient Global Markets, a division of Sapient Consulting, identifies many of the same trends, and believes that some banks were initially reluctant to embrace the latest wave of digital technologies.

“What will happen if you embrace digitisation but then cannot justify the pricing you charge for a service?” she asks, identifying Application Programme Interface (API) technologies and distributed ledgers as two innovations that banks are now considering.

“Some of these technologies have the potential to reduce a lot of overheads by taking out chunks of activity. However, if something can be done automatically, it may no longer classify as a full service.”  

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