Will banks get ‘Amazoned’?

Insight article over at www.financialexpress.com  exploring whether Indian banks can deliver the user experience expectations of tech-savvy millennials.

Unloved, undifferentiated and incapable of innovation — that’s what today’s digitally savvy users, primarily high-school students, entry-level workers, and 30-something professionals believe about the banking industry, says a recent survey on millennials. And this segment is going to be huge in India. India’s millennials, 400 million and growing, are increasingly going to do their banking very differently.

Non-bank solutions for financial services are not just imminent, they are already here. Today’s digitally savvy retail banking customers are increasingly turning to alternate payment mechanisms including digital wallets. And they are looking forward to other technology giants entering the market such as PayPal, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google.

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Source: www.financialexpress.com/industry/will-banks-get-amazoned/870600/


Bitcoin bubble? Or traditional banks scrambling to adapt?

Great article from Walden Siew, Senior News Editor at LinkedIn , reporting on expert views regarding crypto’s future.

In overview, industry commentators see traditional banks in defensive mode as they struggle to evolve fast & adapt to a new world of digital currencies and decentralised blockchain technologies.

Jamie Dimon’s bitcoin bashing heard ‘round the world — as China ramped up its crackdown on cryptocurrencies in general — caused the traditionally volatile market to quiver a bit, at least for a while (only today hedge fund legend Ray Dalio backed Dimon’s view).

The candid opinion expressed by JPMorgan Chase’s CEO at a banking conference last week could not have been more clear: Bitcoin and its kin are in a trading bubble, with unreasonably high prices that can’t be sustained on the fundamentals and which, when it bursts, will leave unsophisticated investors in the gutter.

The remarks from the influential banker reverberated throughout the industry, where they were seen as oversimplified, hypocritical and, in the words of one observer, “mudslinging.”

“Most people have seen through Jamie Dimon’s mudslinging, especially as JP Morgan Securities were one of the biggest buyers of bitcoins last week … on behalf of their clients,” Chris Skinner, author and a director at London-based consultancy 11:FS, told LinkedIn, noting Dimon’s off-hand remark that he’d fire a JPM trader who bought and sold bitcoin.

The market whiplash started when China said earlier this month that it would ban initial coin offerings. Then last weekend China’s first and largest digital currency exchange, BTC China, said it would stop all trading on Sept. 30, along with two other bitcoin exchanges.

We asked some leading fintech experts for their views on some key questions: Is Jamie Dimon correct in his assessment? Do you invest in bitcoin and ICOs, and why or why not? Are we seeing a turning point in cryptocurrencies? What exactly is the future of bitcoin?

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Source: www.linkedin.com/pulse/bitcoin-bubble-heres-what-experts-saying-future

Banks face mounting costs from 50-year-old tech infra

Yolanda Bobeldijk over at www.fnlondon.com writes about the dinosaur IT infrastructure most banks run. And the challenges they face to find anyone to maintain their relatively antique code languages.

When IBM rolled out its IBM System/360 back in 1964, these big metal cabinets housing primitive circuitry and endless spools of magnetic tape were revolutionary pieces of technology, hurtling the banks into the future.

50 years later, the magnetic tape is long gone but 92 of the world’s top 100 banks still rely on IBM mainframes, according to the company. The majority of them are in retail banks, but a “significant number” of investment banks are also still using the technology, according to Keith Bear, vice president, financial markets at IBM. Their clients’ ranks include Morgan Stanley, HSBC and UBS.

Mainframes are just one example of legacy IT systems banks would love to eliminate. Frank Sanchez runs Finxact, a Florida-based fintech that develops cloud-based banking software. In one example, he said: “I’ve had a banker telling me: I don’t know how to change it because I don’t know what it does. But it must do something because I am spending $100m annually on maintenance.”

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Source:  www.fnlondon.com/articles/banks-face-spiraling-costs-from-archaic-it-20170912


Big banks tuning into crypto

Quartz reports on big banks working together to join the crypto wave…

The world’s biggest banks aren’t immune from cryptocurrency euphoria, with a range of projects underway to explore how traditional financial firms can benefit from the innovation. Swiss banking giant UBS and 10 other companies say that they plan to use the technical idea behind bitcoin—a distributed ledger called a blockchain—for their own digital currency (paywall). This could show the way for the world’s biggest central banks to do the same.

Banks like Barclays and HSBC are the latest to join the “utility settlement coin” project, started by UBS and Clearmatics Technologies in 2015. The idea is to develop a new, streamlined payment mechanism for institutional purposes. According to CoinDesk, it could potentially replace clearinghouses and other back-office plumbing that sits between buyers and sellers of assets.

Source: qz.com/1066601/ubss-utility-settlement-coin-could-put-cash-on-a-blockchain-in-2018

Tech titans such as Facebook ‘bigger threat to banks than fintech’

As covered on CNBC, the World Economic Forum has published a report flagging that the threat to existing banks may not be as much from the emergence of Fintech, but more from tech giants like Amazon & Facebook.

Banks are simply too slow to innovate…

Banks are faced with more competitive disruption from tech behemoths than financial technology (fintech) start-ups, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Contrary to concerns surrounding small fintech firms drawing business away from the financial services sector, the report concluded that start-ups had less of an impact than expected.

“Fintechs have changed the basis of competition in financial services, but not the competitive landscape,” Rob Galaski, co-author of the report and Canadian lead for financial services at Deloitte, said in a statement Tuesday.

“Fintechs now define the tempo and direction of innovation in financial services, but high customer switching costs and the rapid response of incumbents has challenged their ability to scale”.

Drawing on interviews with finance and tech industry experts, the report found that banks were significantly lagging behind tech giants in the development of technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence and big data analytics.

Swiss Bank Becomes First To Offer Bitcoin Cash & Altcoins

Switzerland’s Falcon Private Bank has become the country’s first financial institution to add Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin to its offering.

In a press release today, Zurich-based Falcon, which last month introduced Bitcoin tools for clients, said the move “proves [its] agility and underlines its strategic repositioning” on the market.

Arthur Vayloyan, global head of products and services, commented:

”The first reactions to our Bitcoin services have been very encouraging and we are convinced that by adding three new Blockchain assets we will fulfil our clients’ future needs.”

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Bank of Thailand introduces new regulation to facilitate electronic KYC


What is KYC?

KYC – “Know Your Customer” – is required by banks to prove the identity of someone wanting to open a bank account. Usually this can be done by showing your ID card during the account opening process at a bank branch.

It’s possible to complete the KYC process on a laptop with a webcam. An e-KYC process makes life easier for businesses and customers if a KYC verification is required.

As reported in the Bangkok Post, e-KYC processes will soon be possible in Thailand:

The move came after the Bank of Thailand introduced a new regulation to facilitate the KYC process electronically for opening a deposit account or buying a fund.

The central bank said it will cooperate with government entities to enable data connection to the civil registration process and interconnections among financial institutions and e-payment service providers.

Source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/local-news/1306815/cybersecurity-team-to-assist-banks