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December 5, 2016

Accelerating journey towards digital banking with a 'Bank within a Bank' model

Posted by Richard Longo (View Profile | View All Posts) at 4:47 AM

Businesses across various and diverse industries have seen rapid disruption in the past few years. One of the major drivers for this disruption is the consumer and how they are coming to expect a Frictionless approach. Some have called it the Uber effect. No cash is needed, it is on demand and simple to use. That experience is what customers are now expecting when interacting in the Ecommerce world.  Many traditional corporates are playing catch-up and some like Sears, JC Penny's, American Eagle, Sports Authority and Barnes & Noble cannot pivot fast enough, leaving them in a position of reporting negative growth or closing all together. Players like Amazon are disrupting their business models by leveraging the latest in technology and rolling out customer centric digital offerings. These offerings appealed to the digitally savvy customers and those companies have grown rapidly over the past few years. 

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November 30, 2016

The Impact of Blockchain Technology: Why Banking will Never be the Same

Posted by Peter Loop (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:59 AM

Banking will never be the same, with distributed ledger technology. The industry is changing very rapidly. Banks are dealing with the most sophisticated customers in history, whose basic demands include speed, convenience, and personalization. The banking sector is facing unprecedented levels of regulation in the wake of the financial crisis, with regulators demanding greater transparency in banking operations. Economic uncertainty and slowing growth around the world are straining the core business, forcing banks to look at shoring up non-interest income. Last but not least, new, non-banking players are rewriting the banking landscape with their innovative, often disruptive, business models.

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October 28, 2016

Why India is a poster child for global banking models

Posted by Puneet Chhahira (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:56 AM

Digital disruption is paving the way for newer, more agile banking models and India is becoming the poster child for banks all over the world. Between the innovations in mobile and social banking, and progressive regulations, India has managed to leapfrog the legacy systems and processes that burden most banks in the world.  One of the most recent technology led revolutions in the banking front in India, was the launch of Unified Payments Interface (UPI), by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The UPI has the promise to be a game changer in the era of cashless payments. Imagine a scenario where you don't have to jump through all the hoops to make a payment, and just need a unique ID, similar to an email ID, to make a payment. Imagine a cashless transaction, that doesn't require you to type out your credit or debit card details.

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October 26, 2016

How Ready Are Indian Banks For Blockchain Adoption?

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:06 AM

Blockchain technology underlying the 'Bitcoin' crypto currency has created lot of buzz in the technology landscape compared to any other technology in the past. Perhaps, blockchain is considered to be the biggest disruption post 'internet'.

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August 2, 2016

Benefit with Blockchain

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:38 AM

Some of you might have heard of Blockchain. You might have read that it could disrupt and change banking, payments and other financial services forever. Perhaps you are wondering how it might affect you, especially if you are employed in the financial services industry. 

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July 28, 2016

P2P Lending Beckons Indian Banks

Posted by Anirban Dey (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:49 PM

Who hasn't borrowed from a friend or family in times of need? P2P (peer to peer) lending concept is probably as old as money itself. But why is it attracting so much attention now?

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June 7, 2016

Gamification as a service : the future of banking?

Posted by Puneet Chhahira (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:04 AM

Gamification -- the application of gaming principles and mechanics to non-gaming environments -- is not entirely new to the banking industry. Reward points on credit card usage, for example, is an established practice. But in the digital banking era, where the focus is shifting from enabling transactions to creating personalised experiences, gamification has to evolve into a more strategic and enterprise-centric practice.

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May 18, 2016

Can banks ward off fintech challenge with a startup mentality?

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:57 AM

In recent years, the Bank, that grand edifice of solidity and security from days past, has come under threat from sources ranging from regulators to customers to fraudsters to legacy technology. And today, it stands on the threshold of a new challenger - the technology-driven non-banking player, which sadly is getting into the heart of its business. The Fintech firms and the technology heavyweight (such as Apple, Google and Microsoft) are the prime challengers in this category.

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May 5, 2016

Banking the next generation: How engaging is your platform

Posted by Ritesh Andley (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:50 AM

Youth, like women, is fast emerging as a key focus area for the banks. I have spoken about this in my previous blog "Niche banking services: It's the icing that matters" as well. Banks have identified 2 key factors for which, it is important to acquire these young users and acquire them soon.

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October 5, 2015

Innovating to serve

Posted by Puneet Chhahira (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:18 AM

Digital banking opens up pathways for traditional banks to pursue new opportunities within new ecosystems, markets and communities. Access can now be taken for granted. Rising mobile penetration, and freedom from the limitations, or need, for a physical presence, means that banks can now expand into areas that previously did not meet the cost-benefit cutoff. And it is not merely about access. Given the innate flexibility and versatility of the digital model, banks can even purpose-design and deliver products and services to fit the needs and circumstances of even the smallest of communities.

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September 10, 2015

Tracking Mobile Banking Innovation - II

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:06 PM

The emerging markets have the numbers and the ambition, but innovation is not necessarily or innately indigenous. That was where I signed off in my last post, so let me pick it up from there.

What works for the developing can also work for the developed. Emerging markets typically innovate around constraints - like weak infrastructure or low literacy for example - that may not be applicable to more mature markets. The innovation process in emerging markets is often defined by a search for fundamental utility rather than indisputable excellence, which has driven frugal innovation in many of these countries.

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August 23, 2015

Where Products and Services Get More Innovative

Posted by Puneet Chhahira (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:25 AM

Innovation has become the leitmotif of the global retail banking industry. Changing trends in consumer expectations, competitive dynamics and new technologies are compelling banks everywhere to focus on innovating on everything, from products and processes to channels and business models.

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August 10, 2015

Tracking Mobile Banking Innovation - I

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:00 PM

On one side, a premium tablet, a transit app, an enterprise mobility management solution and a wearable phone/locator for kids. On the other, a cellular base station-powered vaccine cold chain, a global mobile education platform, and a mobile money transfer service.

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July 15, 2015

Software Product Documentation - Less is More

Posted by Balwant C Surti (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:22 PM

Here is a quick question to begin with. When was the last time you referred to a bulky user manual for a consumer product? Chances are that you haven't done that in a while. There was a time when a manual was often larger than the product it described, such as a scientific calculator. But when I checked the documentation that came with my iPad mini, smartphone, and Acer Tablet, in each case it was minimal. Of course, there was plenty of electronic content online.

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May 11, 2015

Banking in the Mobile Economy

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:45 AM

Mobility is no longer a concept whose potential can be defined merely by enumerating handsets shipped, connections created, apps launched or data consumed. It is a phenomenon that is estimated to have generated a total economic value of almost US$ 10 trillion last year, which makes it the third largest economy in the world after the U.S. and China. I should also probably mention the 11 million jobs that it was directly responsible for creating around the globe.So, how has the mobile phenomenon changed banking and other financial service verticals?

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April 28, 2015

Retail Banking Goes Upwardly Mobile

Posted by Sai Kumar Jayanty (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:30 AM

If the Internet was instrumental in transforming the fundamental dynamics of banking interactions, mobility promises to push the envelope even further. Innovative technologies, from Near Field Communication to Augmented Reality to Social Analytics, are not only simplifying transactions by eliminating traditional pain points, but are also playing a significant role in making banking an immersive experience.

Retail was one of the first industries to be disrupted by the power of mobility, which compelled it to introspect on the role of physical stores in the context of channel-agnostic digital consumers. It's a situation that retail banking is now grappling with as the relevance of the branch continues to come under scrutiny.

It may be a bit too early to write off the branch completely. But it is indeed time to reassess and recalibrate the function of the branch given changing banking dynamics and customer behaviors in the age of mobility. Here then are three trends that will have the biggest impact on the future of retail banking.

Mobility will compel banks to further hone their focus on customers. Early conversations on mobile banking invariably evangelized digital natives over older demographics. But the realization has since dawned that technology adoption is driven by utility rather than age. Mobility not only challenges generalizations but also gives banks the opportunity and the analytic tools to unambiguously establish expectations, motivations and behaviors at the level of individual customers. One example is the mobile Personal Financial Management service from German start-up NumberS that consolidates all user financial transactions from multiple service providers into a unified view to help customers build a comprehensive and personalized financial roadmap.

Mobility has already cut down the need for person-to-person interactions for a whole range of routine banking transactions. This trend will soon extend to complex transactions as developments in mobile biometric technologies deliver more sophisticated and secure alternatives to traditional methods of identification and authentication. Even traditionally high-touch practices like wealth management or advisory, could soon use technologies like augmented reality and video conferencing to make remote interactions as productive and compelling as face-to-face meetings. For instance, IndusInd Bank not only has a digital branch featuring a facility for videoconferencing but has also launched a Video Branch smartphone app that allows customers to connect directly with their relationship managers.

Mobility's biggest impact has been in the area of payments where it has not only delivered explosive growth but has also enabled maximum disruption while significantly raising the risk of disintermediation for traditional banks. Innovation is what distinguishes payment disruptors from conventional banks and this is what banks must focus on if they are to be a part of this huge opportunity. Banks like Turkey's Denizbank are already delivering innovative services to their customers by bundling merchant offers with geo-locational capabilities and payment applications in a comprehensive and engaging solution.

Mobility is both an opportunity and a challenge for traditional banks. Mobile banking is triggering more frequent interactions between customers and their service providers, each of which is an opportunity to build engagement. The challenge for banks is to optimize each interaction to the needs and expectations of that individual customer so as to realize mutual value.

April 10, 2015

Taking mobility beyond transactions

Posted by Venkatramana Gosavi (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:19 AM

As the banking sector evolves towards a 'mobile first' end state, banks need to take a more holistic view of the possibilities of mobile banking. The focus needs to be as much on customer experience and engagement as on converting that into wallet share and profitability.

In a 'mobile first' paradigm, banks have to focus their strategies on mobilizing the entire customer lifecycle rather than on merely enabling transactions. Take account origination for instance. Even as banks endeavor to bring this feature up to scratch and scale in the online universe, customers' expectations have already skipped ahead to mobile devices, which it is estimated will account for up to 12 million checking accounts by 2020. As more and more customers evaluate banks on the basis of mobile capabilities, a simple and streamlined account opening experience that leverages the native capabilities of mobile devices could indeed be the acquisition lever that banks need.

If mobility has the potential to create a convenient and new customer acquisition gateway for banks, they need to follow it through by also mobilizing their sales processes. Mobile apps that have been optimized for sales & marketing, in terms of identifying and leveraging opportunities for up-selling or cross-selling, are still quite rare. This represents a huge opportunity cost for banks considering that cross-selling, together with cost reductions and customer retention, could take mobile banking ROI up to nearly 16 percent. And mobility offers some uniquely native opportunities, like geo-location, to efficiently deliver products that not only fulfill need, but do so in the correct customer context.

The concurrent focus must be on mobilizing financial empowerment. Personal Financial Management (PFM) is also emerging as a key determinant of service provider choice among millennials. There is also an established positive correlation between active mobile banking users, usage of PFM solutions, and profitability. Banks need to deliver PFM solutions & tools that will help customers build an aggregated view of their finances across multiple service providers in order to build a holistic strategy that will help them achieve their goals.

And they must not forget to mobilize their employees. Mobile-first is not a cultural shift that applies exclusively to consumers; it's a broad social trend that is equally relevant to employees. The advantages of BYOD in terms of employee productivity and organization performance have already been documented and enterprise mobile strategies cannot afford to ignore the inherent payoffs of a mobility-empowered workforce. More specifically, real-time access to information and applications can also help field sales personnel achieve higher levels of service and engagement.

Finally, now that it seems fairly certain that the future is going to be 'mobile first', if not 'mobile only', the approach should be to quickly graduate from mobilizing discrete transactional chunks of banking to redefining the entire banking experience around the possibilities of mobile. It would probably help to be aware that a new breed of 'mobile only' startups has already bet all its VC money on that opportunity.

June 16, 2014

Heartbleed : What banks ought to learn

Posted by Shekhar Kapoor (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:02 AM

Around the second week of April, most of the security websites were inundated with news related to an interesting term called "Heartbleed ". I was intrigued by the term and went on to research further, thinking it might be just another bug in a colony of cyber threats. To my amazement, I found that Heartbleed was one of the biggest vulnerabilities ever, affecting over two thirds of servers worldwide and impacting billions of people across the globe.

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February 27, 2014

New ways of branch banking

Posted by Tarun Kishore Sonwalkar (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:16 AM

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The current pace of change in banking can be mind boggling for customers. Much of that change is due to the influence of the retail sector, and banks' implementation of "retail style" banking to cater to the new generation of customers.

To be sure, banks need to attract the younger demographic segments, as they are the source of future revenues. The younger generation is accustomed to retail-like consumption experience, such as the one provided by malls and interactive smart stores. These customers, being highly digitally driven, will expect to use digital channels like Internet and mobile for regular banking activity. But when it comes to more complex or significant transactions, these customers will feel the need to visit their bank branch to seek advice and guidance.  

That being said, bank branches cannot hope to cater to next generation customers in the age-old way. They should prepare strategies for making retail banking more customer-centric with the help of innovations based on smart banking technologies and best practices from around the world. This could well call for going the way of retail - with branches in supermarkets and malls, smart stores like those from Apple complete with touchscreens, self-serving kiosks, 'muzak', and live video help from banking specialists and advisors.

However, while looking to secure their future revenue streams, banks must not neglect the interests of their existing and traditional customers. This means that they must change branch banking in other ways too.

For instance, banks should effectively utilize smart banking technologies and practices to provide access to all the details of the customer relationship, such as credit scores, banking history, and other accounts held. This can be augmented by offering access to software that predicts customer preferences and future banking service requirements based on past behavior. All of these together would help the banks provide more personalized and suitable sales and service offerings in order to retain their existing customers.


February 19, 2014

Cloud: Clear Opportunity for Banking

Posted by Shabbir Mahesri (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:56 AM

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The transformational possibilities of the cloud model have started to outweigh security and governance concerns in the banking sector. These concerns are increasingly being considered as challenges to be overcome, rather than impediments to cloud adoption.

Cloud empowered banks are integrating multiple technologies, from mobility to social to analytics, into banking strategy to redefine customer experience, engagement and choice. They are also changing traditional IT structures by delivering various functionalities as services to business users.   

Large banks, with the wherewithal for private clouds, have been able to simplify their infrastructure acquisition cycles by shifting to the IaaS model. The logical progression is towards PaaS, where business partners migrate their applications to the same platform that internal users access as a service. Banks will increasingly move towards a standardized multi-tiered solution, comprising a front end, middleware and database, as well as a platform integrating with their administrative and development solutions. 

IaaS and PaaS are also streamlining the procurement and delivery of infrastructure, applications and services. Infrastructure provisioning is much simpler and the resultant efficiency and transparency is changing organizational processes and structure. With the advantage of full visibility into self-service IT consumption, resource usage can now be instantly charged back to the appropriate functions, a process that earlier used to take weeks.  

Software upgrades in the cloud are seamless, automatic and frequent, which is in stark contrast to the long upgrade cycles in an on-premise environment. Imagine the implications for something as vital and large as core banking. That being said, banks and their technology partners are yet to resolve the challenge of delivering customized components of each bank's core banking software on top of the basic cloud solution. 

If there's a downside to the cloud, it is that the transition from on-premise to private to public IT infrastructure is also characterized by the loss of control over service providers. Smaller banks, without the encumbrances of legacy hierarchies and processes, are able to deal with this more easily. The larger banks just need to adapt their internal structures to the reality of multi-vendor IT environments. That's a small adjustment to make en route to huge opportunities in the cloud.

November 29, 2013

Is innovation in your DNA?

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:45 AM

The emphasis on innovation has never been more acute; that has been clearly established based on the findings of this year's Efma-Infosys Innovation in Retail Banking study. But the study has also found that the innovation effort in most banks is not supported by a designated central resource or by an organizational framework that brings together employees from across functions and business lines.

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November 26, 2013

The appification of banking

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:23 AM

Even as traditional banks concentrate on strengthening their online and mobile channels as a viable alternative to their core brick & mortar proposition, a new breed of direct-only competitors are making their presence felt among retail banking customers. A new study reveals that direct-only is the only category in banking to gain market share amongst customers establishing or shifting their financial loyalties. It is estimated that over the past five years, deposits in this emerging category have grown three times the industry average. 

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November 22, 2013

Shifting the boundaries of innovation

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:27 AM

Open innovation, the process of encouraging ideation across all stakeholders to drive enterprise innovation, is gaining traction in a diverse range of business applications - from automotive design to drug discovery. Two banks that are harnessing the power of Open Innovation to drive organization change were featured in the most recent edition of the Efma-Infosys Innovation in Retail Banking study.

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November 19, 2013

Personalize this

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:45 AM

Can personalization deliver sustainable competitive advantage for retail banks? It would seem so if one references a study in which up to 70% of global banking customers expressed willingness to even offer up personal data if it could positively influence personalization and service. 

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November 5, 2013

Banking as Innovation

Posted by Navin Rammohan (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:46 AM

There's a hot new financial startup that has attracted US$ 25 million in seed funding from a veritable who's who of the venture capital world and has already signed on nearly a hundred thousand customers. Except, no one, apart from the founders and the funders, have any idea whatsoever about what Clinkle will actually do. The only information forthcoming from the company is that it intends to disrupt the already hyperactive mobile payments market place. 

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October 25, 2013

Making innovation a culture

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:21 AM

Between risk management, regulation and compliance, innovation in banking is essentially an iterated combination of the possible, the practical and the permissible. But then those are the ground rules. And yet 'Culture' trumped 'Regulation' in a bankers' list of the biggest barriers to innovation  compiled by the Efma-Infosys Innovation in Retail Banking Study 2013.

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October 24, 2013

Making IT innovation-friendly

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:18 AM

Current legacy IT systems have emerged as the most significant barrier for innovation, across banks of all sizes, according to the Efma-Infosys Innovation in Retail Banking Study 2013. Well, not all banks; IT systems ranked either 5th or 6th as problem areas at around 20% of large and medium sized banks that participated in the study. Nonetheless, they are still the exceptions - either because they have up-to-date systems or are focused on non-IT dependent innovation - that prove the rule.

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October 23, 2013

When IT inhibits innovation

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 9:49 AM

The 2013 Efma-Infosys study on Innovation in Retail Banking clearly establishes that banks are increasing investments in innovation, drawing up detailed strategies to make those investments work, and defining metrics to determine if outcomes are delivering business value.

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October 22, 2013

Taking innovation mainstream

Posted by Rajashekara V. Maiya (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:27 AM

The intent is definitely there and so are the strategies and investments to realize it. The metrics are in place to assess performance and over three-quarters of the respondents indicate that they are getting better at it. That, in short, is the current status of banking innovation according to the 5th edition of the annual Efma-Infosys Innovation in Retail Banking Study.

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July 30, 2013

The human side of the cloud

Posted by Manish Jain (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:25 AM

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Cloud computing is more than just a technology; it's a model for disruptive business transformation. And like any business transformation endeavor, it has to be supported by some fundamental realignment in organization structures, processes and even culture.

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July 17, 2013

What Banking IT Solution Vendors Can Learn From Peer Industries

Posted by Anish Kanayi (View Profile | View All Posts) at 10:44 AM

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The banking IT solution provider can definitely learn a lesson or two from the trends that are emerging from peer industries. An evaluation of the interesting developments in some of these industries, though   unrelated, is food for thought and a source of innovative ideas. 

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May 29, 2013

Sure Prevention is Better than Cure

Posted by Reghunathan Sukumara Pillai (View Profile | View All Posts) at 1:22 PM

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Ill-gotten money often gets circulated in ways that obscure its true source. The effort that goes into ensuring this is referred to as "money laundering." There are measures in place that aim to prevent such spurious activities, risk-based anti-money laundering software being one of them. However, its efficacy and that of other internal bank processes and regulations in preventing frauds is worth scrutinizing. 

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April 22, 2013

"Bankalytics" - Banks and Analytics

Posted by Vivek Sharma (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:12 AM

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In today's competitive landscape, banks strive to increase their market share by coming up with creative and innovative ways to acquire and engage their customers. Unlike banking of yore, present day banks are nimble and look for different ways to understand customer needs based on their actual behaviour and then offer relevant products and services.

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March 14, 2013

People and Processes: Banking Twins

Posted by Reghunathan Sukumara Pillai (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:42 AM

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The idea of a world ruled by machines has inspired many a work of science fiction. That's just one manifestation of man's machine fascination. Another - which is both more real and meaningful - is the increasing device dependence of each generation. The advent of computers has further accelerated this process and it is, today, impossible to think of a sector or industry or facet of life untouched by technology. The banking sector, in particular, has been a major benefactor of technological advances. What remains to be seen is whether this trend will make people redundant in this sector.

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January 15, 2013

'DO IT YOURSELF' Banking

Posted by Madhumita Shyam (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:26 AM

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Like most of my peers, I follow the "self-service way" to complete most routine transactions. Whether it's a holiday or a night out at the movies, I do the booking online. No standing in line, no waiting. The same phenomenon is now taking over banking, with an increasing number of customers branching away from branches. While they would like face to face or assisted service to be at hand when needed, the option of self-service is one of their most important demands.

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November 26, 2012

Modern day banking: first thing in the morning, last thing at night

Posted by Kislay singh (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:00 AM

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Groggily, Jovy reaches for his Blackberry as the blinking trackball catches his eye. The screen reads "3 New Messages". It's already eight in the morning and he has to rush. He runs through the messages. The first is from his fiancĂ©e. The other two are from his bank; one regarding his salary credit, the other about a monthly debit towards a recurring deposit. 

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November 20, 2012

Green, the new black

Posted by Jaya Sudha Mahajanam (View Profile | View All Posts) at 2:44 PM

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Since it burst into our collective conscience in the sixties, modern environmentalism has become an increasingly dominant motif in policy parlance. For businesses this translates into the need to make green integral to business strategy rather than managing it as an incidental or tactical activity. 


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