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Mobility is one of the most important customer channels for banks

Jack Loo | March 30, 2012
IDC reveals some technology initiatives by the region’s finance sector

The recently-held Financial Insights Innovation Awards (FIIA) organised by IDC's Financial Insights saw 10 banks from the region being recognised for their innovative use of technology in their organisations.

Two Singapore banks were also awarded for efforts, DBS for Innovation in Customer Engagement, and OCBC for Innovation in Customer Experience.

Ooi Hui Long IDC

Ooi Hui Long, program director of the FIIA 2012 shares some trends from this year's nominations.

1) What are some of the trends you have observed from this year's entries?

We saw an increased submission surrounding mobile-related initiatives. The financial institutions have always been leveraging on mobile to provide banking services to both retail and corporate clients - from the early stage of mobile banking via SMS-based function, transaction alerts, to modern smart phone apps.

Thanks to the wide adoption of mobile phones and changing end-user preferences, mobility is currently one of the most important channels for banks and will still be a major focus in the near future.

For developed markets (Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and even Malaysia), banks have rolled out applications on the latest devices to enhance the customer experience and functionalities while developing nations (India, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc) can leverage on mobile phones (feature phones) towards basic financial services for the unbanked segment.

During the global financial crisis of 2008-09, Asia survived relatively unscathed. However, the global economy and customer confidence in banking was severely impacted. During this period, we saw more initiatives around the customer services and loyalty, which essentially boils down to customer retention. As the banks ride out the financial storm, "multi-channel engagement" was taking the stage again. While the concept has been around, past initiatives were loosely bundling different customer touch-points (such as ATM, phone banking and Internet) together. For the past two years, we are seeing a much integrated strategy in reaching out to customers with a uniformed message across different channels.

Another trend to note is - traditional channels are not dead, but have evolved to a new role. For example: Branch banking has been transformed to better engage the user communities. Internet banking isn't entirely replaced by mobile; in fact both of them complement each other as mobile banking provides convenience and information on-the-move, while Internet banking provides a richer functionalities and ease of navigation.

Risk Management gained much visibility during / after the financial crisis. Financial firms begin to invest on solutions to provide a holistic view of their asset, what's their risk exposure and timing reporting to their respective central banks. Fast forward to present, some financial firms are extending the value of risk management beyond a regulatory compliance exercise by integrating a risk management approach directly into the line of business. Some notable banks are: Standard Chartered and Taishin Bank from Taiwan.


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