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Big banks were among the first users of computers: banking has long been 'digital' on that count. But since the internet revolution of the 1990s, powerful new players have emerged that create compelling online ecosystems and count users in the billions. Beyond technology, the digital world is a particular culture possessed of new and swiftly evolving architectures, business models and legal structures. The dominant tech giants are now more of a threat to banks than fintech start-ups. So how can traditional banks compete?
We'll deliver regular reports on successes and failures in digital banking, open banking, marketplace models, 'platformification' and the global regulatory environment around both data sharing and privacy.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest topics in banking technology today. From front to back office, banks are exploring the capability of AI to work alongside humans or, in some cases, independently. AI is expected to power the interfaces — voice command, virtual/augmented realities or keyboards/screens — that will link us to the web. Understandably therefore, global tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Tencent and Alibaba are investing billions in AI programmes — and all are current or future competitors to banks. Hardware robots such as Softbank's humanoid Pepper are visible manifestations, but it's principally software bots (including chatbots, Robotic Process Automation) that are already being embedded in banks around the world.
Based on interviews with leaders in the field and case studies of instances where AI is already at work in banks,
we'll deliver fresh insight into the role of AI and robotics in retail banking.
Nineteenth-century bankers would hardly recognise today's branches as banks: wander into Deutsche Bank's Berlin HQ on Friedrichstrasse, and you might well assume you were in the coffee shop of a fancy department store. In Europe and North America, branch numbers may be dropping, but the branch itself is being transformed. Meanwhile, in developing countries, branch penetration is increasing to cater for growing numbers of customers.
Technology plays a greater role in new, smaller branches — but forward-thinking banks are also integrating themselves into local communities. Even as the world goes cashless, branches retain a meaningful role. We will continually update you on the best and brightest in branch design — on every continent.
For fintech, the motto might well be "to move fast and break things", for banks, "to move carefully and break nothing". How can they ever work together? It's not the odd couple relationship that it first seems. Fintechs, steeped in digital culture, value the data that often scares banks. Agile and nimble teams can deliver proofs of concept and 'minimum viable products' in weeks. But banks have a customer base that fintechs envy. Banks too have the regulatory supervision that delivers customer trust. And banks are steeped in risk and compliance, which fintechs often don't care about or ignore. So, in many ways, they are natural partners. Collaboration now looks like the best policy, but it raises deep issues about Culture and the core values in each sector.
The bank-fintech stream of Retail Banking-Fintech 2030 takes an interview and case-study based approach to tracking successful banking-fintech partnerships — sifting both failures and successes for usable lessons.
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