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BANKING TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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EY, BCG, Citi, and more share key strategies for banking resilience

Almost 100 banking professionals participated in the first ABF Retail Banking Virtual Conference.

The future of banking will be in the palm of consumers' hands—literally—as more people adapt to a future where everything and everyone is going digital.

Leaders and industry experts in banking came together at the ABF Retail Virtual Banking Conference 2020 hosted by Asian Banking and Finance on 17 September, with key speakers in the event discussing the growing trend of digitalisation in the retail banking sector and ways to stay on top.

Around 100 attendees from over 70 banks and companies participated in the event.

A surge in digital apps usage was seen as more consumers adapt to the continued rise of the smartphone. It is no surprise that more users are now choosing to manage everything—including banking—from the comforts of their own homes. Ernst & Young ASEAN managing partner, Liew Nam Soon stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had also accelerated the growth of e-commerce.

This was seconded by Boston Consulting Group partner, Tushar Agarwal, in his discussion of the internet boom. According to Tushar, almost half of customers have increased their mobile usage, whilst 75% of consumers have chosen it as their preferred mechanism for daily banking activity, especially during COVID-19 pandemic.

The digital playing field
Bank of East Asia general manager and chief digital officer Ronald Fung noted that 27% of companies say digital transformation was a matter of survival and 40% of technology spending last year went towards digital transformation.

Fung broke down the five key practices to maximise the chance of digital transformation success—laying out clear priorities, investing in talent, committing time and money, embracing agility, and empowering people.

Another integral innovation of the digital transformation is the use of the cloud, says Anand Subbaraman, general manager for retail banking solutions at Finastra.

“The most disruptive banks in the world are operating in the cloud because it enables banks to be nimble and accelerate their evolution in aspects such as agility, responsiveness, product innovation, resiliency and costs,” he added.

Leveraging data and customer loyalty
A product of digitalisation is data and for business that means the emergence of big data.

According to Kasikorn Bank’s first senior vice president of the retail business division Supaneewan Chutrakul,, data will be the core of business competitiveness. As such, there is a need to make it more useful and structured to give a better sense on what customers will need.

Leveraging big data to work for retail banks means understanding the needs of customers, providing relevant options, and delivering a personalised experience.

“Deepen your sales and loyalty strategies, while helping your customers access relevant, exciting and rewarding offers” advised Ruwani Hewa, head of financial services proposition of loyalty & customer engagement division at Collinson.

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