Dubai has played host to the World Retail Banking Summit 2019 presented with the support of partners, including Orange Business Services and Additiv (an Orange partner) which offers cloud-based wealth management solutions as-a-service to financial institutions.
Pieter Zylstra, Director of Digital Transformation at Orange Business Services, joined a panel discussion held during the session on AI, Machine Learning and robotics, on what the bank of the future will look like.
Pieter shared the distinctive view of Orange Business Services on enterprise Digital Transformation across a range of verticals, including BFSI, both as a mobile services operator and trusted partner to government and enterprise, as well as a mobile banking services provider.
Digital dilemma: Technology not the biggest challenge facing Middle East banks
Banks in the Middle East are facing a unique set of challenges making Digital Transformation a necessity, but without many of the elements in place to make the process a smooth and successful transition.
They are not in the driving seat – increasingly demanding mobile customers and non-traditional competitors are driving industry disruption and transformation, as financial services continue to merge with the big social media platforms. Technology may be a challenge but it’s not the only one – or even the biggest one – faced by the regional banking industry.
The Middle East financial services sector is different; some regions such as Europe are experiencing deregulation and are wrestling with the challenges of the major social media platforms embracing payments and even loans to users. The Middle East must contend with a tightly-controlled banking environment and strong industry regulators.
As the name implies, financial technology refers to the evolving crossover of traditional financial services using digital technologies. ‘FinTech’ implies new digital services launched by traditional banks, the emergence of disruptive start-ups, and big technology companies or telecoms providers launching new innovations like mobile money that changes the way financial services are provided.
States Pieter Zylstra: “FinTech gives traditional banks and financial services companies an edge, by bringing traditional banking services into the 21st century. FinTech allows banks to embrace the new platform economy, by offering a multitude of innovative and profitable financial services to existing and new clients, primarily using mobile and digital channels. FinTech is bringing banking to the unbanked in geographically disparate places, it can mean making payments and money transfers quicker, easier and cheaper than ever before. “
Orange Group is already an established player in the financial services market. Orange Money, launched in 2008, links a mobile account to an Orange mobile number to meet the needs of customers in the Middle East and Africa where transactions are carried out in cash. Orange was the first mobile operator to launch contactless cash payments in Europe. In 2017, Orange Bank was launched in France.
The World Retail Banking Summit 2019 brought together senior bankers from across the world to share experiences and views on the leadership and governance challenges of taking Digital Transformation to the next level in the world of digital banking and – increasingly – open banking.