Engage 2016 Preview: Bracing for the Digerati

| October 10, 2016

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This year at Eagle Investment Systems’ Engage 2016 client conference, the prospect of digital disruption will be a prominent theme for many attendees. Gartner Senior Vice President, Emeritus, and Distinguished Analyst Dale Kutnick, who will be presenting at the three-day event in November, spoke to Eagle ahead of Engage to highlight some of the key issues facing financial services companies as they prepare for the coming digital wave.

Spotlight

Banque Misr

Banque Misr was established in 1920 by the pioneer economist Mohamed Talaat Harb Pasha, who came up with the concept of investing national saving and directing them towards economic and social development and thus Banque Misr became the first bank to be wholly owned by Egyptians.

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How to Utilize Open Banking Opportunities in 2020

Article | April 27, 2020

Everyone wants to build a creamier, faster, and more efficient financial services journey — which in 2020 is not a point of controversy or friction. Today, customer demand is touching peaks. It is customer demand that forces businesses come out of their silos and collaborate with others to create products and services that are open-source, non-proprietary, and do not lock down users into an ecosystem. The launch of Open Banking is initiated to fundamentally change the way consumers, businesses, and banks pay and get paid, and how they maintain their data. The foundation of a unified Application Programming Interface, or API, across financial institutions, constitutes a foundation in which data can be seamlessly and securely shared right away. While open banking is in the initial stages of its evolution, many assume this trend to expedite and reshape the banking industry in significant ways. Thanks to open banking developments around the world, customers are becoming more informed of the essential value of their information and are increasingly seeking more command over their financial data. Table of Contents •Why is Open Banking Important? •How Does Open Banking Work? •Open banking in United States •The Wave of Change in Payment Arena •Cloud-based Processing Services •Conclusion Why is Open Banking Important? The most valuable asset in the 2020 world is data, and banking data is the finest of the crop, as it facilitates insight into how consumers and businesses are employing money, saving, and acquiring debt. The data has got value and the data that the bank holds and the customers, belongs to the customer and not to the bank, that’s a fundamental realism or premise that the government has is writ large in European legislation. You will be pestered by its called GDPR but fundamentally enshrines the fact that the data belongs to you, the consumer or to the SME, not to the financial institution. And if you as a consumer want to use that information to get access to better products and better services, it’s entirely your right to do so. That’s what open banking is trying to deliver. It holds the promise of making finance more convenient, better tailored and fundamentally smarter. From industry point of view, open banking promises to lower the barriers to entry to financial services and lower the barriers to innovation in financial services. That’s why it is so exciting for many of the fintechs. Open Banking delivers enormous opportunities in 2020, for the fintech ecosystem that goes beyond necessary to invigorate customer relationships and transform businesses. Through ecosystem partners, banks can enter customer journeys earlier than before and create added value to expertly serve enduring customers as well as attract new ones. Customers foresee seamless digital experiences, and platform-based business models, that are a quintessential element of the digital economy. When embracing the opportunities Open Banking brings, banks can leverage the ability, speed, effectiveness, and innovativeness of startups to enhance their product and service offerings. Banks also have access to other banks’ data. By genuinely performing multi-banking services, they can drag competitors’ customers and spread awareness of their brand. How Does Open Banking Work? Let’s put this into three: • What the banks do • How you get registered • What the customer sees The banks have put into places API’s, this means they have made huge technology decisions to expose customer data and access the data from other third parties. For open banking to work, you have to be governed by the OBIE rules. The OBIE is open banking implementation entity and you can either be an AISP or a PISP that sits under the OBIE. The AISP essentially means you are an account information services provider and PISP means you are payment initiation services provider. One means you can aggregate transaction data and customer data, the other means the payments that you can initiate from your third party, from your bank. The third element to this is TSP, a technology service provider. And they basically provide all the rails between the banks and between third parties to make sure that this whole system runs right. From the consumer perspective, at the end, it gives them the ability to share their data with third parties but crucially have the permissioning power to be able to do that. An AISP can condense reams of bank account statement data and pass it to the customer in a single interface, making it ideal for treasurers of multi-banked organizations. Payment service users – whether they are individuals or businesses, can guide their banks or payment service providers to share their bank balance and transaction data with regulated AISPs. To display this information on a user-friendly dashboard, the AISP can convert all this transaction data into the expected format and send it to the customer’s ERP or Treasury Management System. Before the initiation of Open Banking, businesses and consumers were logging into each bank individually to initiate payments, using various workflows and security etiquettes. With the arrival of Open Banking, individuals or businesses are now equipped to mandate their multiple banks or payment service providers to receive payment instructions via their PISP’s app. Learn more: Open banking in the same language Open banking in United States According to Deloitte Insights, The open data revolution is most obvious in Australia, the United Kingdom, and other countries in the European Union. Each has distinct regulations that require banks to share customer data with third-party providers as per customers’ instructions. Other countries, such as Canada, Japan, and Singapore, are also considering similar regulations. Australia, however, has taken it a step further: It has gone beyond the financial services sector, applying an expansive set of rules on consumer data rights and data-sharing to other industries as well. We do not know yet whether this will be a model for other countries, although, in the United Kingdom, similar efforts are underway. While the open banking model in the United States may take a different path, US banks can learn valuable lessons by looking at how it has been implemented in more regulatory-driven environments. Bank leaders may find it particularly helpful to review how different regions set technical and customer experience standards for data-sharing. To date, there are no signs that new open banking regulations are being developed in the United States. Learn more: Open banking model strategy The Wave of Change in Payment Arena One interesting example of the innovation encouraged by Open Banking is HSBC’s Connect Money application. This application enables customers to view all their accounts within single application-even if those accounts are scattered across different banks. According to an article by Accenture "How Open Banking is Catalyzing Payments Change" Connect Money demonstrates one of the most fascinating features of Open Banking. Many Open Banking products and services are subject to “network effects”—they become more valuable as more banks participate. If Connect Money allowed customers to track only HSBC accounts, it might have been somewhat useful. The fact that the app connects across many banks is what makes it powerful. This aspect of Open Banking can also make it easier for new entrants to grow and gain purchase in the market since more access to data means more opportunities to create value for customers. In the payments platform, Open Banking is advantageous to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). This is because it facilitates account aggregation, better financial management, easier credit checking of customers, and the unification of lending and accounting applications. With Open Banking, SMEs can receive and make payments using different platforms with better clarity and best momentum. Open Banking payments are validated instantly between consumers and their banks. This means the chargebacks that merchants must pay because of fraud or rejected payments becomes zero. This offers plentiful savings for all merchants. Payments powered by Open Banking also give real-time credit transfers, confirming the payment and empowering merchants to ship the product immediately. Cloud-based Processing Services Open Banking also maintains cloud-based processing services- a compelling alternative for decentralizing processing and encouraging payments innovation. The benefit includes: • More economical costs • More regular compliance maintenance • Advanced enterprise agility • The capacity to flex volumes quickly The new payment option, called IATA Pay, provides customers more extensive selection of payment methods when buying airline tickets. The most popular services that are being worked in 2020 covers Request to Pay and P2P payments services. We can anticipate seeing many more in the following years. Conclusion Open Banking scales to opportunities preferably, then threats. Done perfectly, banks can flourish, encouraging their customer franchises and brand, securing a defined culture, and fostering business through open collaboration with the world beyond financial services. We are witnessing the initial stages of a seismic industry migration that will come into full power over the next five years. The evolution of innovations with the potential to force simplicity and enhance flexibility is turning a once complicated web of financial institutions into centralized tools to maximize value creation. Open Banking scales to opportunities preferably, then threats. Done perfectly, banks can flourish, encouraging their customer franchises and brand, securing a defined culture, and fostering business through open collaboration with the world beyond financial services. Consequently, any bank that needs to stay consistent in 2030 must begin to design their Open Banking strategy immediately.

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Five Application Scenarios of AI in Banking

Article | April 27, 2020

Over the past decades, banks have been improving their ways of interacting with customers. They have tailored modern technology to the specific character of their work. For example, in the 1960s, the first ATMs appeared, and ten years later, there were already cards for payment. At the beginning of our century, users learned about round-the-clock online banking, and in 2010, they heard about mobile banking. But the development of the financial system didn’t stop there, as the digital age is opening up new opportunities — the use of Artificial Intelligence. By 2023, banks are projected to save $447 billion by applying AI apps. We will tell you how financial institutions are making use of this technology in their operations today. AI-powered chatbots Chatbots are AI-enabled conversational interfaces. This is one of the most popular cases of applying AI in banking. Bots communicate with thousands of customers on behalf of the bank without requiring large expenses. Researchers have estimated that financial institutions save four minutes for each communication that the chatbot handles. Since customers use mobile apps to carry out monetary transactions, banks embed chatbot services in them. This makes it possible to attract users’ attention and create a brand that is recognizable in the market. For example, Bank of America launched a chatbot that sends users notifications, informs them about their balances, makes recommendations for saving money, provides updates to credit reports, and so on. This is the way the bank helps its clients to make informed decisions. Another example is the launch of the Ceba chatbot, which brought great success to the Australian Commonwealth Bank. With its help, about half a million customers were able to solve more than two hundred banking issues: activate their cards, check account balances, withdraw cash, etc. Mobile banking AI functionality in mobile apps is becoming more proactive, personalized, and advanced. For example, Royal Bank of Canada has included Siri in its iOS app. Now, to send money to another card, it’s enough to say something like: "Hey, Siri, send $30 to Lisa!" - and confirm the transaction using Touch ID. Thanks to AI, banks generate 66% more revenue from mobile banking users than when customers visit branches. Banking organizations are paying close attention to this technology to improve their quality of services and remain competitive in the market. Data collection and analysis Banking institutions record millions of business transactions every day. The volume of information generated by banks is enormous, so its collection and registration turn into an overwhelming task for employees. Structuring and recording this data is impossible until there is a plan for its use. Therefore, determining the relationship between the collected data is challenging, especially when a bank has thousands of clients. There used to be the following approach: a client came to a meeting with a bank employee who knew their name and financial history and understood what options were better to offer. But that's history now. With the wealth of data coming from countless transactions, banks are trying to implement innovative business ideas and risk management solutions. AI-based apps collect and analyze data. This improves the user experience. The information can be used for granting loans or detecting fraud. Companies that estimated their profit from Big Data analysis have reported an average increase in revenue by 8% and a reduction in costs by 10%. Risk management Extension of credit is quite a challenging task for bankers. If a bank gives money to insolvent customers, it can get into difficulties. If a borrower loses a stable income, this leads to default. According to statistics, in 2020, credit card delinquencies in the U.S. rose by 1.4% within six months. AI-powered systems can appraise customer credit histories more accurately to avoid this level of default. Mobile banking apps track financial transactions and analyze user data. This helps banks anticipate the risks associated with issuing loans, such as customer insolvency or the threat of fraud. Data security According to the Federal Trade Commission report for 2020, credit card fraud is the most common type of personal data theft. AI-based systems are effective against malefactors. The programs analyze customer behavior, location, and financial habits and trigger a security mechanism if they detect any unusual activity. ABI Research estimates that spending on AI and cybersecurity analytics will amount to $96 billion by the end of 2021. Amazon has already acquired harvest.AI - an AI cyber security startup - and launched Macie - a service that applies Machine Learning to detect, sort, and structure data in S3 cloud storage.

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WHY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE ON CLOUD NINE POST-PANDEMIC

Article | April 27, 2020

Financial institutions have, for a while now, been operating in a highly cost challenged environment. These firms will continue walking the tight rope of executing on efficiency, digital transformation and supporting the business. Post-COVID when our dear planet begins to get back to some form of normality in the months ahead, it does not necessarily assume that wallets will be loser and further budget constraints are expected to be with us for some time. As we know the Genie is out of the bottle on the whole “agile” working theory and the Cloud providers have responded in kind such as providing virtual desktops and VPN solutions. Of course not forgetting the Video calling enablement which has coined a phrase never to leave our vocabulary “sorry I was on mute”. Cost pressures aside businesses are already reassessing the effectiveness of their technology stacks. I believe we will see an acceleration of an already giddy pace by firms to move parts of their estate and applications to the public cloud. It is not only essential from a practical basis covering the usual themes of cost, storage planning on demand compute etc but if you want to retain the best talent in technology you need to be exposing them to the likes of AWS, GCP and Azure in some form. Data is the new oil As to my world in data various analogies “data is the new oil” etc, but getting beyond the taglines the public cloud is shaking up the status quo. From off-the-shelf Amazon style access to data products via a web store or to throw in another term “supermarket”. Fundamentally the barrier to entry for clients to access data, storage and enormous compute resource is really down to what you can afford. Efficiencies on compute, serverless technologies pay for what you use not pay for standby is changing the paradigm in architecture. Thereby pushing boundaries in innovation, experimentation and exposing teams to AI/ML as a utility as opposed to things you read about in journals or online. No two businesses are the same which is why certain firms are further in the journey than others. But regardless of the path financial institutions decide to go down, it does not change the fact that data needs to be delivered to the right place, at the right time, and in a preferred format. Some firms will simply want their channel partners to ship data into the cloud as an end point. From Satellites to the Cloud This leads me into my next comparison. I was lucky enough (or unlucky) to be there when the internet created another paradigm shift as a delivery end point for data. Prior to that I spent many years plugging firms into Satellites or Leased lines for the delivery of Market Data. As a younger man I thought those days would never end! If the internet became the end point that people used to get data into their own network, then the cloud to a certain extent is the modern day equivalent. After all, if firms want to use cloud as an end point into a physical data centre or on-premise, they can do that. Alternatively, if the firm wants to use the data exclusively within the cloud, then that is also achievable in this day and age.

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Machine Learning in Finance – Present and Future Applications

Article | April 27, 2020

Machine learning has had fruitful applications in finance well before the advent of mobile banking apps, proficient chatbots, or search engines. Given the high volume, accurate historical records, and quantitative nature of the finance world, few industries are better suited for artificial intelligence. There are more uses cases of machine learning in finance than ever before, a trend perpetuated by more accessible computing power and more accessible machine learning tools (such as Google’s Tensorflow).

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Spotlight

Banque Misr

Banque Misr was established in 1920 by the pioneer economist Mohamed Talaat Harb Pasha, who came up with the concept of investing national saving and directing them towards economic and social development and thus Banque Misr became the first bank to be wholly owned by Egyptians.

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