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article imageBank of Cyprus set to go digital

By Tim Sandle     Aug 6, 2017 in Business
Nicosia - Banking, like other sectors, is embracing digital transformation. What does this mean from the financial perspective and how should a bank go about the process? The Bank of Cyprus provides the answers as it embarks down the digital path.
Several digital transformations are taking place across financial services, including insurance, retail banking and investment banking. This is presenting a variety of challenges for financial services, including variations by region and the extent that customers are comfortable in engaging with different channels. A key area affected is banking and it is anticipated that by 2021, almost 3 billion people will be using a form of digital banking.
With banking, major banks have had to adapt to market shifts from challenger banks and mobile banking services. Although the market share from these institutions remains low, in the view of some industry commentators the easier access presented to consumers through digital services is a challenge that major banks need to respond to. Many banks have come to recognize that speed, simplicity, transparency and customer service of the entire banking process is important for retaining customers.
One bank that is going through a digital transformation is the Bank of Cyprus. For this, the Bank of Cyprus is working with IBM as its “strategic partner” for its digital transformation plan. The bank is keen to improve its customer-facing digital output. The Bank of Cyprus is the largest bank in the country, operating through a total of 126 branches, of which 121 operate in Cyprus. There are also four branches in the U.K. and one in Romania, together with offices in Greece and Russia.
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In order to remain competitive in the region and to expand, the bank is embarking on a digitalization strategy. Interviewed by Banking Technology, John Hourican, the Bank of Cyprus CEO said: “Embracing modern ways of working and modernizing our IT environment is a must.”
Creating smart, digital processes offers banks some enticing opportunities for reducing costs. According to Darren Collins, Global Director of Banking and Insurance at Kofax:
"Banks that digitise their processes from end-to-end can reduce client onboarding time by 80 percent and increase throughput capacity by 40 percent. Alongside this, banks can eliminate more than 60 percent of manual steps while reducing management overhead by 50 percent."
One of the key aspect of the Bank of Cyprus' transformation is allowing consumers to open new checking accounts online and on a mobile device.
In terms of how this will be realized, the bank intends to create a new IT platform, supported by streamlined processes. This includes digitizing and automating the processes and direct routine customer interactions over to digital channels. The primary software used will be Finastra’s (formerly Misys) software, which has been designed for core banking and treasury services, as well as for analysis and trading on capital markets.
The bank will also move towards data collection and the use of big data analytics, to help track customer activities and to assist with marketing. This process will utilize IBM iX capabilities for a large scale redesign of the bank's digital channels, beginning with mobile services.
IBM iX is a business design and transformation service, with a digital focus. The venture between the two organizations is described by Hourican as a “joint Digital Factory.” According to Gigabit, the bank will also work with IBM to establish a Joint Innovation Capability aimed at assessing new and emerging technology.
The Bank of Cyprus is one example of the rate of digital change within the banking sector. While major banks have made progress, the Cyprus example acts as a model for other smaller banks to review and to follow.
More about Cyprus, digital transformation, Banking, Finance
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