Digitalizing banking in Cyprus

PUBLICATIONS / Articles / 2017 / Digitalizing banking in Cyprus
All industries are going digital, and IT platforms are getting common in almost all spheres. The banking sector is not an exception. The Bank of Cyprus is pioneering in digitalisation in Cyprus. 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 United Kingdom, Romania, Greece, and Russia. The bank explains what it means from a financial perspective. 

Several digital alterations are taking place across financial services, including retail, insurance, and investment banking. The new tendency of digitalisation brings various challenges that involve differences in and the extent that customers are comfortable in engaging with different channels. Baking is one of the most affected areas, and by 2021, almost 3 billion people will most probably 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 resolve. Many banks have come to recognise that speed, simplicity, transparency and customer service of the entire banking process are essential for retaining customers.

One bank that is going through a digital transformation is the Bank of Cyprus. To implement the changes, 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.

To remain competitive in the region and to expand, the bank is embarking on a digitalisation strategy. Interviewed by Banking Technology, John Hourican, the Bank of Cyprus CEO said: “Embracing modern ways of working and modernising our IT environment is a must.” One such example is with allowing consumers to open new checking accounts online and on a mobile device.

How is the bank going to transform the system?

The bank intends to create a new IT platform, supported by streamlined processes. The method includes digitising 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.

There will also be a push towards data collection and the use of big data analytics, to help track customer activities and to assist with marketing. This process will utilise IBM iX capabilities for a large-scale redesign of its digital channels, beginning with mobile services. IBM iX is a business design and transformation service, with a digital focus. Hourican describes the venture between the two organisations as a “joint Digital Factory.” The bank will also, according to Gigabit, 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 bank acts as a model for other smaller banks to review and to follow.
 

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