Innovation and Momentum

Banking is a cyclical industry and right now appears to be heading into another period of difficulty with the financial crisis in Europe and controversies over derivatives trading and the so-called “Liborgate” scandal. An opportune time for bankers to duck into their shells, perhaps?

On the contrary, bankers around the world are continuing their efforts to innovate and win back consumer confidence, says Haragopal Mangipudi, senior vice president and global head, Finacle from Infosys. BAI and Finacle are presenting the second year of the BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards at BAI Retail Delivery, October 9–11.

“Although there is still a lot of uncertainty and instability in large part due to the situation in Europe, enterprises are making investments in technology as a way to help fuel the recovery and give some momentum to a space that is still fragile following the 2008-2009 crisis,” Mangipudi says. “Even if there is slow adoption, there is definitely attention to and conversation around innovation as a way to differentiate and/or become more cost-effective.”

Q: What have been the most exciting innovation trends that you’ve seen around the world in financial services in the year since the 2011 BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards?

Mangipudi: It seems that the pace of technology innovation accelerates each year and this year has been no exception. A lot of the innovation we’re seeing is around mobility and bringing financial products to consumers in different ways than we previously have. Tablet computing, digital wallets, Near Field Communications, remote deposit capture on mobile devices and integrated financial management tools have all been important advancements.

Innovation is also reaching areas of the globe where the type of innovation reflects the needs of the citizens. For example, under-banked countries such as Nigeria are adopting mobile banking innovation as a method of inclusion into the banking system.

Q: Are financial institutions beginning to budget more for innovations as we get further removed from the 2008-2009 financial crisis? Or is the ongoing European banking crisis creating a bit of a drag, at least in that region of the world?

Mangipudi: While the European banking situation does continue to provide challenges, we also see a great deal of momentum in certain markets for technology decisions. In the U.S. for example, we are seeing more traction around modular decisions, where organizations are purchasing point solutions, as opposed to trying to surmount a core transformation. Products such as Treasury Management, Wealth Management and the Mobile channels (mobile banking and e-Banking for corporate and consumer) all have a positive trajectory in terms of the number of organizations looking at, and ultimately making, buying decisions.

Although there is still a lot of uncertainty and instability in large part due to the situation in Europe, enterprises are making investments in technology as a way to help fuel the recovery and give some momentum to a space that is still fragile following the 2008-2009 crisis. Even if there is slow adoption, there is definitely attention to and conversation around innovation as a way to differentiate and/or become more cost-effective.

Q: Do you think the BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards are helping to raise awareness in the industry of the need to innovate?

Mangipudi: One of the main reasons we worked with BAI to produce these awards was to support and accelerate innovation in our industry. I think last year’s nominees, finalists and winners have all contributed to the innovation dialogue by showcasing what they’re doing and allowing the industry to peer behind the curtain. Such transparency is key to the development of our industry and we firmly believe that the BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards support that trend.

Mr. Cline is managing editor of BAI Banking Strategies. He can be reached at [email protected].