Raj N Phani, Founder & Chairman, Zaggle, is a seasoned professional with over 24 years of experience working in India and the US. He is a Serial Entrepreneur and has built and sold businesses in areas such as Financial Services, Prepaid Internet Retail, Loyalty, Merchandising, Reward and Recognition, Open Banking, and Expense Management. Raj is currently the Founder and Chairman of Zaggle, an award winning FinTech Company which helps companies digitize spends and automate processes related to payments.
The pandemic has changed almost every aspect of human life. This pandemic has had no geographical limitations. It has disrupted well established tenets across the board, and, more so in business and economics. The lockdown forced by the outbreak of the pandemic brought economic activity to a complete standstill throughout the world, with grave consequences.
While all of the above is common knowledge now, what is noteworthy is the way how quickly we have adapted to this disruption.The financial and more particularly the banking sector has been the most visible example of this change adaptation. But there is more that can, and, must be done in order to avoid such shocks in the future. In fact, the banking sectorhas always displayed dynamic transformation. Technology swept across the sector, changing the way traditional banking was done earlier. But the pandemic has further necessitated a permanent change in the way the banking sector operates. Here are some changes that the sector needs to further adopt and permanently embed into its functioning style.
From phygital to digital
Physical banking has gradually changed into digital banking with most of the transactions happening online today. But the banking sector still operates on a hybrid model of physical plus digital. One of the key reasons this needs to change is to bring down the overall cost of transactions. The only way to ensure this is to adopt higher degree of digitisation in banking. With technology on its side, this is not a difficult ask.
Adopting and investing in technology
The only way to sustain this change and ensure a seamless transformation from phygital to digital is by investing in technology at all levels of transaction processing. This is more important from the security point of view. Advancement in technology also leads to higher levels of risks. In order to mitigate these risks, there is a need to enhance security in transaction processing.
Embed the future
The banking sector needs to embed technology of the future in its functioning. From Artificial Intelligence to other innovations such as Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology will have to adopted by the players to remain relevant in a fast digitising world.
Expanding the universe through innovative banking solutions
Newer forms of banking solutions like Payments Banks are the future of banking. India has predominantly been a cash-based economy. But digital payments are soon becoming a way of life. With financial technology on their side, Payments Banks will be instrumental not only in expanding the reach of banking but also in bringing down the overall cost of transactions. There is a whole lot of competition out there. The Fintech sector has already disrupted the banking sector in a big way. Coexisting is the only way out.
Up the ante on security
Today, Internet and mobile banking call for superlative levels of security. From KYC and 2-step authentication to EMV chip cards there is everything that needs to become a permanent feature of the banking system. Unless the sector proactively adopts these measures, it will continue to run the risk of malicious cyber intrusions.
Neo banking; the new kid on the block
This mobile-based direct banking solution will be the way a majority will bank in future. The customer base of these banks is already on an exponential rise. Currently Neo-banking companies have a regulatory compulsion of operating in the shadow of larger traditional banks by partnering with them. With the reach and acceptance of Neo-banking, there will be no option but to allow these banks to operate on a standalone basis soon.
Last but not the least, is the need to have more strong regulatory measures in place to ensure the safety of the bankers and the banked. With technology having its own pros and cons, it will be important for the sector to be open to stricter regulatory norms to create a flourishing environment for all stakeholders, including customers.
To sum up, the banking system will need to embrace all that is necessary to enhance the digital experience of customers in a faceless banking system that is fast emerging. The banking sectors overall response to the pandemic so far has been impressive. It went fully virtual executing a completely new model in a matter of weeks. Banks have effectively deployed technology and demonstrated unprecedented agility and resilience. For this to continue, it will be essential to keep evolving in the new normal that has been forced on it by the pandemic.