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Bankers at TCF Examine Potential of Digital Channels

By Temenos reporter 21 May 2015

Banks looking for the next level of customer interaction are increasingly examining the use of digital channels and related software, according to executives meeting at the Temenos Community Forum, which started Wednesday in Istanbul.

With the focus on experience-driven banking, the question of the adaptability of industry software to the cloud was a recurring theme.

Gordon Baird, Independence Bancshares' Chief Executive Officer, said his company was looking for "a sophisticated technology partner that could offer real-time, flexibility, rapid deployment and infinite scalability." In that regard, he added, he was "very satisfied" with T24 from Temenos, the integrated customer relationship management tool and product management software platform.

Independence Bancshares describes itself as a "platform banking and technology services company." It designs and develops customized mobile payment applications and has offices in New York and South Carolina.

Baird is still running some software from legacy systems but has migrated to a private cloud run by Microsoft for many functions. This, he said, allows easy customisation and integration of Independence Bancshares' products with mobile phones and other digital channels. "The software is doing exactly what we want it to," he said.

Many larger U.S. banks are still reluctant to abandon their legacy software systems for a variety of reasons, including overhaul costs. But Baird said regulators welcome competition among software vendors in the U.S. market as it means more choice for banks.

The two-day event in Istanbul kicked off with a welcome gala dinner on the banks of the Bosphorus Tuesday, followed by a host of panels and breakouts Wednesday, which were dominated by the key theme of experience-driven banking.

Many of the 900 or so attendees were looking to network with other bankers in the corridors of the Hilton, the event venue, or learn about the Temenos' suite of products.

Whether the banks attending TCF have migrated their core information systems to the cloud or remain with legacy core systems, the view from the meeting rooms and breakout sessions was that the conference is a valuable exercise.

Eurico Pego, an IT executive from Santander Private Bank in Miami, said TCF offered him the opportunity to find out more about the latest banking technology and what Temenos is doing. He will take home that intelligence, and share it with colleagues.

Pego's core banking architecture is T24, but not cloud based. Still, Pego said he could see positives in the extra customer focus that digital banking permits.

Saviour Balamey, Deputy Manager of Finance at National Investment Bank, a Ghanaian lender, said: "The time is coming when direct customer interaction will decline, as we go digital, and we will need advice around the technology for that transformation."

His bank has started rolling out new digital services around e-banking. "TCF allows us to look into the future, invest for the future, win new customers and improve revenue," he said.

Mark Gay, CIO of ME Bank of Australia, said there were constraints to the speed of adoption of digital banking, which include the high cost of legacy transformation, a lack of entrepreneurial spirit and cross-jurisdictional issues for banks working in multiple regions.

Still, he said, ME Bank has already moved a long way in the quest for digital banking to facilitate customer care.

"Our starting position is that anything that can be done manually we digitise," he said. "We're trying to recreate the customer experience digitally – such as making it possible for our customers to open up accounts online in real time."

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