Mobile Banking Apps and the Battle for Immediacy

July 6, 2020

Huawei President of Global Financial Services Jason Cao discusses why mobile banking apps will become the main operational platform, and battlefield, between banks.

By Jason Cao

All sectors and industries have experienced unparalleled disruption across the world this year.  As workers adjust to work-from-home mandates, companies in the financial services industry grapple with the challenges of providing timely essential banking services to customers.

To-date, we have found many financial institutions have made good progress with furthering their digitization efforts. We believe that mobile capabilities are key to future proofing banks. Supporting mobile-first businesses will require new architectures and key capabilities in cloud, AI and 5G.

The previous year was also a challenge for Huawei, but, we stepped up and earnt our customers’ trust. In 2019, we added more than 300 new global FSI customers.  We also strengthened partnerships with top banks, insurers, securities houses in France, Italy, Singapore, Brazil, Turkey, India and more, where we enhanced the reliability and resilience of IT systems as well as boosted digital capabilities.

We are committed to building a robust ecosystem with our global partners and providing them with solutions to help customers accelerate digital transformation. With the increasing demand for cashless and smart finance, Huawei is working closely with leading global partners to help banks improve digital capabilities to ensure more people can access financial services.

Building a global eco-system is one of our core focuses, and we’ve been working very hard on it. Our goal is to build a comprehensive eco-system and provide more services with Huawei’s fast expanding cloud service around the world. For example, in the near future, African banks may use a Chinese or European AI partner’s outbound call service on our cloud.

In China, due to the unique advantages of tech giants, subversion and competition within the financial industry are extremely fierce. Witnessing incumbent Chinese banks cooperating and competing with upstart fintechs have been interesting to watch…Huawei helped bluechip Chinese banks migrate data from traditional data warehouses to Huawei GaussDB platforms, for better data processing and analysis particularly needed in mobile and drive business innovation. We are also working with leading banks to migrate their core credit card systems with more than 100 million customers from a mainframe to an open distributed platform.

As the pandemic took the world by surprise, financial institutions strive to ensure continuity of necessary services to customers; knowledge workers switched to remote working, and we saw the rise of the Remote PoC. To date, we have successfully completed more than 500 remote PoC with customers around the world.

Looking ahead, uncertainty is the biggest problem post-epidemic. According to the IMF World Economic Outlook, the global economy will shrink sharply by at least 3% in 2020, worse than that in the financial crisis during the 2008-2009. Our work, life, business and other fields have been profoundly affected, and the new normal is here to stay for the foreseeable future.  What this may mean for financial institutions is in the near term, global economic contraction will affect banks’ loan-loss reserves. Even with central bank intervention, the impact will be intense.

Twitter has announced that employees may work permanently from home if they prefer, while banks have not made such radical changes. In wealth management, banks can digitally deal with consulting and transaction services, where customers have more time to take care of their investments. As a result, wealth management has boomed. This reflects a dramatical change in clients’ behavior.

China Merchants Bank, for instance, continued to grant large loans to customers through a zero-contact process. During the epidemic, China Life held an online training live broadcast for over 1 million insurance agents. Simply put, financial institutions with the best digital user experience will win.

Most financial executives agree that the capacity to work remotely and being agile are particularly critical to survive the new normal. Take a careful look, and we will all agree that financial institutions must move quickly into mobile banking apps as e-commerce and digital payments are all on an upward trend. Rapid changes needs a renewed model of Business Continuity Management for mobile office, customers’ digital journey, risk management, internal control processes and the like. In banking, key metrics will centre on mobility and connectivity, as customers expect full access to financials anytime, anywhere. 5G is not just an innovative connection point, but will drive business innovation and boost all-round customer experience. We do believe that mobile banking apps will be a core differentiation for banks.


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