- New technologies transformed the way we live;
- The transformation also occurred in the banking industry;
- Sometimes we forget about how much has changed. Imagine, that there were no ATMs in the early 1960s;
- The disruptive new concepts we talk about in this article include AI, Cloud, and Automation.
There are some technologies that change our lives so much that it’s hard for us to imagine how our lives would look like without them. For those of us who grew up in less technical times, we have a challenge for you: go on for a full 24h without using things that did not exist when you were a child. Too hard? That’s the point. Inventing computers was one of the single most impactful events in the history of humanity, alongside the inventions of fire, and writing.
Technological advancements have continued strong, and we’re here to explore some of the most impactful technologies that have changed the face of finance over the past 10 years.
Having a dedicated employee, each overlooking the financial activity of one customer, in search of “questionable” activities, is virtually impossible. Having an employee manually suggest additional products to each customer is equally impossible. What do you do then? You create an AI that handles these activities, independently of its human supervisors.
Running an algorithm to replace humans by making limited decisions is only one of the possible applications. Other examples are:
- Personalization: adapting one’s dashboard to their needs
- Understanding human speech: voice assistants
- Optical recognition: whether somebody who wishes to open an account in our bank is the person that is on a picture of an ID.
Banking uses some of these possibilities as we speak. Automatic systems detect questionable activities in real time among countless transactions, and they do this with less bias than humans. We do have organizations showing offers laser-focused and tailored to customers, based on their profiles. The ultimate goal is an experience which is customizable to such an extent, that no two landing pages are the same, just as no two people are the same.
Companies that innovated in the area:
- Kasisto. Conversational AI for financial companies reduce the strain on companies’ customer support by offering a chatbot offering solutions to the most commonly asked questions;
- Flexiti. The company employed AI in the process of approving financing of companies;
- Socure. Using AI in the KYC process makes it more secure, and fraud-resistant
Completing the same task over and over again, every day, kills morale. It kills morale, creativity, and productivity. Yet repetitive tasks need to be done. What can we do to take the weight off of the shoulders of your employees? We can automate the mundane parts of their work, leaving them to focus on the more important tasks!
The beginning of automation in banks is an invention we may see every day. ATMs, or Automated Teller Machines, dispense cash for more than 50 years now!
Automation does not need to stop there, or it doesn’t. According to the research by McKinsey & Company, “general accounting operations”, “cash disbursement”, “revenue management”, “financial controlling and external reporting”, “tax”, and “financial planning and analysis” can be automated in more than in 50% of cases!
Companies that innovated in the area:
- Kabbage. One of the services offered by the company is automated invoicing service;
- BNP. The organization uses automation in the KYC process. Depending on a given segment, and the risk score, the engine behind the survey will route it through the right departments
The ability to scale using cloud services is unparalleled. Automatic provisioning of resources, scaling up and down on demand is something that you will not be able to achieve on-premise. Crucially, if you may trust no other people than the people from within your organization, you may freely mix-and-match cloud and on-premise services to find the optimal combination.
Paradoxically, storing your data outside, on third-party servers does not need to equal worse security. Microsoft, the company behind Azure, announced it will quadruple its investment into cybersecurity to a staggering $20 billion US dollars.
Current statistics are curious. One research paper, by Hon & Millard, claims, that 89% of banks used at least one cloud application in 2015 (up from 57% in 2009). Only 1% of the same sample used cloud services to deliver core value for the clients. One may draw two conclusions: the 11% that did not adopt the cloud in any way were behind. Some examples of companies that have migrated at least partially to the cloud are Credit & DNB. The second conclusion reveals the distrust between financial organizations and the cloud. Did something change? Yes! According to an article at CIO.com, “[a]ll financial enterprises, both large and small, are following the same conventional “wisdom” by moving to the cloud as rapidly as possible.” Furthermore, “[t]he benefits of the cloud for most institutions are indisputable.” The text also raises some questions, however, whether transferring all data into the public cloud is the right thing to do.
Companies that innovated in the area:
- Credit Agricole. The company moved to the cloud to scale effortlessly;
- Microsoft. Azure is the company’s tool to allow organizations to expand, reduce costs, learn, forecast, and achieve better compliance.
- AWS. The company helps banks “to structurally lower their cost base, bring new ideas to market at breakneck pace, and create more elegant customer experiences – all while meeting stringent security, compliance, and regulatory requirements.”
The Mobile Revolution
The introduction of computers in our pockets has made it easier than ever to access our funds and pay for goods and services. Nowadays, all it takes to make a purchase is a simple tap of your cell phone or a smartwatch to transfer the required amount of money.
In some countries, the vast majority of the population prefers to pay without cash: in South Korea and Sweden the rate is over 70%, the UK is at 70%. France, China, and the US sit at 67%, 67%, and 58% respectively. As a sidenote, when it comes to online payments in the US, cards lead at more than 50%, with the payment service PayPal coming in second at just under 25%.
While a tremendous convenience for customers, little do people know, that cashless payments make people spend more! According to Experian.com, the average transaction amount by cash is $22. In comparison, the average transaction amount without cash is… $112! That’s quite the difference.
Paradoxically, your phones enable you to save money more easily, via mobile apps, as well. There are multiple banks that allow you to set up a savings account right from their mobile apps, no matter the time or the place (provided they authenticate correctly).
Indeed, securing organizations became much more complex with an enormous increase in possible routes of attack. Following the rules of thumb of cybersecurity will secure anybody against most attacks, though some types of attacks are particularly hard to stay secured against. Phishing is one, with hacking whole networks because of a breach via an IoT device are two threats it is challenging to secure against.
Companies that innovated in the area
- Moneytrans. The app is an app for global citizens of today. Easy transfers abroad, and opening an account in a few minutes are only some features;
- Visa. The company that is most known for its physical debit & credit cards also issues mobile payment cards, that you may use in your bank’s app;
- MasterCard. The company offers the same functionality as Visa. For customers, the only difference is the name on their cards.
Even though we take our current state of affairs for granted, we have to keep in mind that the race for innovation does not stop here. We must be on the outlook every day, and seize opportunities as they come. For one, nobody can jump from an old code, to a cutting-edge framework. Equally, if you are using a niche framework, we mostly have bad news for you. Additionally, if you want to stay ahead of your competitors, the need to constantly innovate is there.
If you need help staying on the forefront of new technologies, do not hesitate to contact us.