Digital Innovation has Revolutionised Bank-Customer Relationships

Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit

The 4th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit was held at Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel on 29 & 30th September 2014.The conference focussed on areas like leading platform to network with key industry influencers and decision makers, recognize leading-edge products and solutions, and discuss best practice strategies for applying innovation within your organization. Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank participated in the session “An Economists Perspective on the ME Banking Landscape and Impact of Innovation “on 29th Sept 2014. Leading Bankers and technology consultants participated in this event.

Speaking at the event Dr. R. Seetharaman gave his outlook on GCC Banking Sector. He said “Key sectors, such as tourism and corporate services, are performing strongly, particularly in Dubai, and a strong rebound in real estate prices has improved the loan demand in the country. The credit growth in the first five months of 2014 in the UAE was about 4% UAE banks will benefit from robust corporate activity and consumer consumption. The infrastructure projects planned should improve corporate lending. In Saudi Arabia Private sector lending had grown by 8.6% till July 2014. Public Sector lending had dropped by 0.7% till July 2014. In Oman Lending grown is more than in 8% till July 2014.In Kuwait Bank lending to the private sector grew 7.4% YOY till July 2014. In Qatar lending growth is close to 6% YTD till August 2014.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on emerging business and technology trends in Banking industry. He said “The costs of regulation and competitive pressures will lead to industry consolidation. Technology has transformed the way we bank and is one of the main drivers behind the accelerating pace of innovation in this sector. Online banking, mobile banking, chip and pin have now become part of our way of life for everyday banking. New Non competitors have emerged in financial services industry. Some of them include Walmart, Deutsche Postbank AG, La Banque Postale and Virgin Money. Online banking, payments, personal and business financial planning and credit are just a few of the areas targeted by such firms.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the impact of digital banking. He said “Digital Banking will be new channel to improve revenue growth and cross sell. Local GCC banks appear well positioned to build on a solid online banking trend. The financial institutions will aim to improve customer experiences through better offerings through digital banking. The bank can invites customers through social media channels and make customers emotionally involved. Banks must connect with their customers every day. To be successful in the market, banks must engage every day, and to do this they must also promote and sell non-financial services. Social network enables Bank to be in close touch base with customers. The digital banking has revolutionised Bank customer relationships.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Cyber security and related risk management. He said “Technology has increased many of the traditional Information security risks associated with banking activities. With the significant change on how Bank’s do business these days the rules have changed and the information security risks are greater than ever. The risks have further compounded today due to Privacy concerns, Vulnerabilities, Cyber terrorism, Insider Sabotage, Mobile Computing, Wireless Access and Spyware.”

Dr. R. Seetharaman also highlighted the measures taken by GCC banks in relation to Cyber Security. He said “Regulation in Qatar have changed to support managing Information Security Risk for financial institutions. Many Banks have established information security function, as part of its key functions and formed Information Security Councils, supported by the Bank’s executives. Bank’s introduce new Policies and Standards that addresses the dynamic nature of Information Security.

Information Security Awareness has also been enhanced by many GCC banks. “