The flow of payment that is being taken out of banks won’t be spotted speaking to academics alone. Policymakers, regulators and business should plan together a smoother way to a future that doesn’t have to look disrupted, only brighter.
Head of IT Supervision, National Bank of Belgium
Legal Adviser, Consumer Affairs and Coordinator Digital issues, European Banking Federation
National Technology Officer, Microsoft
Alcatel-Lucent, and Vice Chair, Cloud Council, DIGITALEUROPE
A steep challenge
The digital transformation of banks is on-going, they are redefining business models; proposing innovative products/apps; engaging in FinTech partnerships and financing innovative start-ups. Banks keep put customers at the center of their strategy. Big Data provides banks the opportunity to get even closer to customers and deliver a truly personalised, faster and safer service defined by simpler protocols. Yet, some challenges halt or curb the immediate transformation of banking: data ownership, anonymization, transfers between legacy silos, hiring the right skills, etc. Indeed walking the fine line between innovation and trust requires full mastery of digital technology, whether in e-payment, e-ID, etc. More cooperation of all EU policy makers and industries concerned would likely avoid unworkable contradictions spotted in some legislations.
Trust and security are the foundation stone of this sector. Living up to these high standards in the digital era calls for flawless watch and speedy action, as exemplified by the MoU with Europol. Therefore, however much the banking industry welcomes competition as a way to spur innovation, they wouldn’t trade it for a lower level of trust, security and consumer protection. Competition
Sound competition calls for a level playing field resulting from enforcing equivalent rules the same way on all operators concerned. The banking industry is not there yet in this respect: they confront a wave of new entrants whose banking credentials are weak at times. Certainly new entrants and new models add a new dimension to the changing role of banking. Besides, financial regulators are no telecom regulators. Indeed technology supervision is a relatively new supervisory discipline that is not yet fully developed within the chain of international supervision: Basel, ECB, national authorities – but awareness of the importance of technology risk management, spurred by the important cyber risks and the cloud projects in the industry, is rising fast.
While the banking industry is not opposed to innovation, it needs to be entirely sure the correct security structure is in place before a complete re-invention can take place. Continued consultation, such as the latest workshop, is thus key to an overhaul of our traditional but most fundamental industries.