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Tech in Banking: An Age of Digital Disruption

The coronavirus pandemic was a shock to the system for many of Europe’s banks, forcing them to pick up the pace of technological change in order to continue serving clients remotely, according to panellists at S&P Global Market Intelligence’s most recent event in its “Tech in Banking” webinar series. But the heightened focus on digitalization is not a one-off, Europe’s banks will continue to commit more resources to tech change even as the continent starts to emerge from the crisis.

Rude awakening

When the pandemic hit, traditional banks realised that it was not only the customer digital experience that was not up to scratch, according to Leda Glyptis, Chief Client Officer, 10x Future Technologies. Bank employees themselves were struggling to manage daily tasks.

“Particularly for traditional banks, the realization that if the tools that we were giving customers were inadequate, then the tools we were giving colleagues were abysmal,” she said during the webinar.

Existing systems were often not up to the job of bank employees shifting to home-based working in large numbers, even for the most basic functions, she said.

“This has been a massive wakeup call to the industry,” Glyptis said.

The pandemic is also changing the way that banks approach upgrades to their tech infrastructure, according to Sean Hunter, chief information officer at OakNorth.

In the past, banks had tended to want to build new systems and tech solutions in-house, but the urgency created by the pandemic means that often, this route is simply too slow for many, he said during the panel.

The result is that banks are starting to favour an “ecosystem” approach, whereby they bring in a variety of external tech partners who can help them to implement change more quickly, Hunter said.

Filipe Teixeira,Chief Information Officer at illimity, said that buying in technology from outside, for example, in the form of Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS), can free up banks to focus their attention and expertise on their core mission of lending to businesses and individuals.

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