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We hire people with exceptional talents, abilities and potential, then create an environment where you can become the best.Interest rates are low, consumers are demanding digital delivery of banking products, employees need to access data from anywhere and cybercrime is on the rise. The challenges facing banks are complex – and the market in which they operate is evolving. For many traditional banks, these challenges are made harder by a historic lack of investment in technology for initiatives outside of addressing regulatory issues.

Despite this, European banks have proven their resilience in the face of severe economic downturn brought about by the pandemic. They are starting to invest in technology and reimagine their businesses.

Post-pandemic, the success of these banks will depend on how effectively they’ve managed the structural challenges that plagued them before the pandemic started. Traditional banks need to continue to invest in digitization projects so they can streamline their operations and give customers the control, apps and services they want.

In 2022, banks will need to focus their attention in nine core areas.

  1. Look beyond lending for growth and revenue. European banks have seen their net interest margins squeezed by low interest rates and demand for loans. This is forcing banks to explore new ways to drive revenue, including investing in emerging markets, increasing bank charges and exploring new product lines. As they move away from legacy IT systems, banks will start to reshape their businesses and business models to maximise efficiency and make the most of the new technology at their disposal. It’ll be an essential part of regaining profitability.
  2. Drive cost efficiencies through cloud and technology investment. Banks will need to focus heavily on reducing their cost-to-income ratio in 2022, through a slow recovery. Closing branches and reducing headcount will play a part here, but the bigger opportunity is to rethink operating models. More banks are investing in cloud strategies, including moving to a public cloud as an integral part of IT modernization programs – something they will have to do to compete with their digital- and cloud-native challenger competitors.
  3. Invest in the prevention of cybercrime. Cybercrime has evolved quickly during the pandemic as consumers demand digital communication over social media and live chat or messaging. The number of cybercrime incidents have increased and the risk of incorporating third-party platforms into core banking services has made banks more vulnerable. While retail banks have long been able to manage card fraud, this new wave of cybercrime sets new risk parameters, and increases exposure to fines under data protection regulations. It’s no longer enough to simply budget for these fines (as banks have done in the past); shareholders and regulators are putting increased pressure on banks to de-risk and avoid repeated fines. We are also seeing an increase in “hacktivism” attacks on banks, something that must be considered in 2022.
  4. Grow your digital platforms and new business models. As banks digitize their front and back-end processes, this involves more third-party services and technology. Banking-as-a-service (BaaS) will become more widespread as banks look to partner with platforms, challengers and other non-banking firms under open banking agreements. To reach a broader market and deliver the kinds of mobile, on-the-go banking and payments services consumers are demanding, banks will need to embed finance into other apps and platforms. This means investing in innovation – something that banks have typically insufficiently funded. Partnering with a more agile third-party is a valid solution, but it raises the question of risk, particularly around shared data.

pradeep kumar
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