Country Manager – Transformation, BancABC, Zimbabwe
Says Brighton Chiwera, a Tech futurist and enthusiast with vast experience in Management consulting, Business transformation and Change, Knowledge sharing and skills transfer across a vertical of industries ranging from Financial services, Telecoms, Health, Agriculture, Insurance to mention a few in the emerging markets sphere. His key focus is on Strategy execution through solutions implementation and delivery.
A certified Programme Management Professional with strong roots in technology from a tender age, his Executive facilitation skills assist businesses in finding the right footing and applicable answers to conundrums that question their habits and limits in the contemporary complex and rapidly evolving technology landscape. Brighton is a Fintech and Programme management Consultant in his personal capacity and current is the Country Transformation manager at Banc ABC a Part of Atlas Mara based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Brighton will be speaking at Finnovex Southern Africa being held on the 24th and 25th of July at Johannesburg, South Africa.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation…
Brighton: The biggest challenge traditional banks face is their legacy culture and systems thereof. Yesteryear leadership and archaic thought processes which may be out of touch with reality and emerging technologies coupled with logical fallacy in legacy system capabilities despite their lack of nimbleness, have been by far the most daring barrier for banks to not only rip the rewards that come with being a digital entity but also to protect their existing market share
Brighton: Across all verticals of industry globally there has been significant strides in embracing the future, a few names and their sectors that come to my mind include; Homelink China and Opendoor USA in Proptech, Yapstone USA and Adyen Amsterdam in Fintech, Peloton USA and 23andMe USA in Healthtech, Swiggy India and Uber USA in Transport, Skyeng Russia in Edtech. These companies have achieved unicorn status by instituting transformational innovations or disruption in their highlighted spheres of operation. They have offered new and efficient service which are fit for purpose and use.
Brighton: Indeed, newer organisations indulge in contemporary solution generation without much institutional memory and old ways of doing things that holds them back. They are more agile, have a huge risk appetite with little to protect and are adaptive to change hence more chances of survival in turbulent landscapes as the future continues to give.
Brighton: The realisation that the old banking of approaching customers with a service list no longer holds as customers now dictate their needs and demand them fast is a good starting point. As such, banks need to look at fast ways of meeting these continuously ever-changing customer needs through technologies like Open banking and cloud computing while maintaining their fiduciary obligations which is what they know best. What this means is, technology is deep waters for most of the banks hence a balance may be struck by either partnering FinTech third party, developing strong in-house competencies or even better still go to the extent of a mergers and or acquisitions of trail blazing FinTechs.
Brighton: I believe we are going to be seeing more of the experimentation, perfecting then a wide spread adoption and use of the blockchain technology (also known as the distributed ledger technology DLT) that will revolutionise the way P2P, B2B and B2C payments and value transfer and settlement is handled both domestically and internationally. The DLT has an effect of removing intermediaries, thus payments, clearing and settlements are going to be faster, near real-time, a lot cheaper with little to no friction while at the same time more secure.
Brighton: Research has shown that challenger banks like Monzo in the UK have successfully setup a business with 50% less capital expenditure and 90% less operational staff compliment as compared to legacy banks, now you can guess what that sort of cost reduction structure means to profitability and viability. Light architecture, open banking, machine learning and Artificial intelligence, big data and advanced analytics thereof are all substantial considerations to be made for financial institutions to survive in the digital transformation era
Brighton: Quantum Computing, Artificial intelligence, Deep learning and Blockchain technology I believe will have a significant impact in reshaping the financial services landscape.
Brighton: Incumbents are slow to innovate as well as implementing when they eventually react to emerging innovations hence the nimbler start-ups will eat away the incumbents’ market share as consumers will quickly adopt frictionless service.
Brighton: Indeed, Augmented and Virtual reality are increasingly being integrated with e-commerce and social payments apps to give the customer a next to physical shopping and immediate payment option experience. We have also seen the technology being used for peer to peer payments as well as electronic gifts.
Brighton: Regulation has sort of become tighter over the years stemming from the 2008 global financial crisis, stringent requirements for compliance, KYC and reporting will need financial institutions to have faster and more transparent ways of providing regulators with data. The use of AI and big data analytics will be key to achieve this.
Brighton: FinTechs have come to the party with unprecedented offerings that are more appealing to both existing and new customers. The result is a divided market share for incumbents. Another dynamic of looking at it is that, incumbents also have existing customers and data as well as capitalisation (Regulatory requirements) which Fintech ordinarily will not possess at inception. FinTechs on their own would take much more time for regulatory compliance as well as customer base build up, so in my opinion both sides of the divide stand to benefit more from cooperation rather than competition.
Brighton: When we talk of opportunities, the benefits brought about by open banking are; increased agility and reduced product time to market, enhanced customer experience, enhanced operational efficiency, access to additional customer data and new revenue streams among many other.
And By exposing and opening up the core banking systems for integrations, there is serious data security risk considering that hackers are usually one step ahead of protection protocols. Secondly the interpersonal relationships with customers are lost as the customers will actually be a share commodity across the digital interlinks is what I see as challenges.
Brighton: A horizon look predicts more interconnectedness of devices and people (the IOTs), frankly speaking customers will actually be identified by their devices, as such, their value exchange options will be pinned close to them and hence Open APIs will become increasingly important for purposes of giving uniform customer experience across multiple platforms and device. I believe in three years we will see more matured old and completely new APIs; this is just the beginning for something bigger to come.
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About Finnovex: Finnovex is a platform that discusses how technology is changing the delivery of banking and payments services. The Middle East is one of the world’s fastest growing regions in the banking and capital markets sector. The region’s financial services sector is in the middle of an immense overhaul. With populations getting younger, better educated and more demanding; swelling diversity in financial products and services; and rising regulatory requirements for better monitoring of processes and developing secure financial systems, banks and financial institutions across the region are investing heavily to match or surpass their international peers.
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