» Press Release 2008

Technology in Banking – Key to Sustainable Growth

“The use of Information Technology in all spheres of Finance and Banking sectors is a deep realty”, said the Chief Guest,
Dr R B Barman, Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India, while speaking at CII’s 3rd BANKing Tech Summit, 2008 titled “Sustaining Growth and Managing Risk Through Technology” in Mumbai. To further stress on the crucial role played by the technology in the banking arena, Dr Barman remarked, that the ” Nexus between financial and rural sector is of paramount importance and that IT is a strategic medium to reach the masses”. Besides, in order to cater to the world market and move in tandem with the continued pressure it poses, a serious challenge comes in the form of institutional reforms with financial intrusion . While emphasising on the changing role of the technology he added that this sector has enabled the banking sector to go beyond its traditional role and is now playing an increasingly important role in its key areas of operation as securitisation, risks preference and liquidity among others to which IT helps in a big way.

In his introductory address, Mr Deepak Ghaisas, Chairman – CII’s Banking Tech Summit 2008 and Vice Chairman & Director, i-flex solutions Ltd. highlighted the key gaps besotting our banking industry presently, the biggest being the technological gap. “Today market demand is created by private banks, who are the drivers of the banking industry, but unfortunately even they are also partially technology driven in comparison with their western counterparts. So we need to see a future that is technology driven not only for the number of transactions but also to save time”, remarked Mr Ghaisas. He further stressed that the banks are now being viewed in a new light and as a gateway beyond the transaction of money.

The Summit also shared the findings of the study conducted by PwC with the release of CII – PwC Study Report titled “Integrating with the Global Banking – Industry Issues and Challenges Relating to Technology”. The Report as prepared after undertaking an exhaustive survey and research will present key issues under four broad categories of strategy and growth – keeping in view the increasing competition and deregulation; customers and channels – in the light of changing customer needs; organisation and processes – gauging on the increasing mergers and acquisitions and risk and compliance – taking stock of credit, market and operational risks, which are increasingly faced by the banks.

An overview of the Report was presented by Mr Jairaj Purandare, Senior Executive Director and Head of Financial Services & Industries and Markets Programme, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd. Mr Purandare mentioned that new products witnessing the changing customer needs are being devised as customer analytics, customer data integration, efficient delivery channels and the banks focus is now gradually changing from not only tapping new customers but also greater emphasis is being laid on retention of old customers. To do so, he further made a mention of the organic and the inorganic routes being adopted by the banks of which the inorganic route is soon emerging to be a real option. He also added that currently, ATMs play an important role in tapping the customers and in future it is going to be the mobile banking that will replace this current feature.

The inaugural session was followed by the thought provoking CEOs roundtable that witnessed participation from eminent panellists both from the banking and the technological sectors. The discussion that revolved around the theme “Banking Technology – Key Drivers for Growth”, had panellists not only interacting on key concerns as growth and globalisation but also discussed on the ways to be adopted to set a vision for the future. One of the key highlights of the discussion was pointed out by Mr Sanjay Narkar, Chief Technology Officer, Centurion Bank of Punjab Ltd, who mentioned that the key to the success of this industry lies in managing it with simplicity and complexity at the same time. Simplicity means devising simple solutions for the end users and Complexity means to innovate and devise better technology. One of the important highlights of this session was to change the mindset of the people towards the use of new products including the use of technology. Ms Meera Sanyal, Country Executive, ABN AMRO Bank India and Chairperson ACES, pointed out that most banks are adopting social inclusion norms and that there has to be an intermediation of the physical and the virtual world not only for the urban but also for the rural. Further, some of the panellists mentioned about the recent developments taking place in the rural areas for mass outreach.

The whole objective of this year’s summit was not just to talk of banking and view technology only as an enabler but to go beyond a step and bank on technology and hence the theme, ‘Sustaining Growth and Managing Risk through Technology’. With a broad based theme as this it was not difficult for this year’s edition of the Banking Tech Summit to witness a participation of over 209 delegates in all.
 
Mumbai
25 February, 2008