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Eighty percent of Australian banks and 85% globally cite implementation of a digital transformation program as a business priority for 2018, with investment in technology to drive efficiency, growth and manage evolving risks increasingly seen as critical for sustainable success, according to the EY Global Banking Outlook 2018.
The survey of senior executives at 221 banking institutions across Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and emerging markets, found that globally just 19% of banks surveyed currently view themselves as being either digitally mature or a digital leader, while in Australian none of those surveyed did. However, it also showed there is an obvious recognition among banks of the urgency of continuing to innovate and embrace digitalisation, with 60% of Australian banks aspiring to reach digital maturity by 2020 (almost on par with the global average of 62%).
EY Oceania Banking and Capital Markets Leader, Tim Dring says: “With the pace of technological change and the speed at which new innovations are hitting the market, it’s not surprising that banks are increasingly focusing on their digital agendas. Australian banks have already made significant progress in this space and we are already seeing them make significant advancements in areas such as mobile payments platforms, fraud protection, biometric authentication and the use of robotics process automation.”
“Australian’s have always been early adopters of digital and mobile technology – in fact, the recent EY FinTech Adoption Index found that we have the fifth highest rate of FinTech adoption in the world. So, I think what we are seeing in the comparison of digital maturity level is that Australian banks are likely to be benchmarking themselves against emerging competitors and online leaders in other industries, who have more digitally-focused business models and less legacy technology systems to navigate. Whereas banks in other markets, like the US where cheques are still prevalent, may be benchmarking themselves against more traditional competitors.”
“Eighty percent of Australian banks surveyed also stated they are looking to set up new partnerships or joint ventures in both core and new strategic markets in 2018. So we are likely to see even greater collaboration between traditional financial institutions and e-commerce and other technology platform players, particularly as the open banking reforms progress,” Mr Dring says.
Globally, addressing cybersecurity is the top priority for banks (89%) in 2018, replacing last year’s top priority of managing reputational, conduct and culture risks, which falls to sixth place in this year’s report. It’s also high on the agenda for Australian banks, with 80% of those surveyed listing it as a key priority area for the year ahead.
At a regional level, the survey further found that banks in developed Asia-Pacific markets (incorporating Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore) are focusing on developing partnerships with fintechs, investing in technology to reach customers and improving risk management, with 82% listing these as their top business priorities for 2018.
“Ten years after the global financial crisis, banks are experiencing increased competition from a range of new market entrants and evolving risks that challenge their ability to deliver sustainable profitability. In order for banks to weather the performance challenges that lie ahead, they must emerge from an era of regulatory driven transformation and prepare new strategies for a future led by innovation and technology,” Mr Dring says.
Other key findings from the global survey include:
The complete report is available to download here.
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