Banks must wake up to demands of digital age


Emirates Business

Banks must wake up to the way technology affects the daily lives of their customers, financial service decision makers have been told this week in Abu Dhabi at an event designed to shape the industry’s future in the Middle East and North Africa.
Digital banking wizard Chris Skinner says banks are in danger of being left behind in the smart phone-driven technology revolution, and has driven that message home at the MEFTECH exhibition and conference, held this week at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Skinner, Chair and founder of the European networking forum, the Financial Services Club, points to an urgent need for banks to realize that blockchain is the “Uber” of the banking world to shake up antiquated technologies.
He was a keynote speaker at MEFTECH 2016 where delegates heard a no holds barred commentary on the performance to date by most banks in financial technology.
“Technology is changing every aspect of our daily lives and its march is getting louder, faster and stronger as each day goes by,” said Skinner, whose commentary on digital banking was featured in a special fintech report for The Times and Financial Times at the end of 2015.
“The smartphone revolution
has radically restructured every
industry from booking a trip (TripAdvisor), a room (Airbnb) or a
taxi (Uber), but where’s the Uber
of banking?
“There isn’t one yet, and consumers will soon defect to new players unless high street banks wake up. You only have to look at the
total immersion of people in their smartphone screens on the train or street to see the impact of consumer technologies.
“That is what disruptive innovators have achieved in travel and related markets, but what is happening in banking? Not a lot. Most large banks have just taken their internet services to a mobile screen or, as I like to think of
it, they’ve taken a big-screen banking system and converted it to a small screen.”
MEFTECH 2016’s key theme of ‘discovering why the future is digital’ was prevalent throughout the morning’s talks, with Dominique Corradi, MENA Digital FS Leader of EY Middle East discussing and highlighting the current trends in digital banking in the Middle East regarding the disconnect between customer expectations and what banks offer.
Synechron, the event’s headline sponsor assumed a key position on the show floor, sharing their expertise into local markets.

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