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Malaysian banks should offer digital solutions to become integral in consumers' lives

Paul Ng, Accenture Financial Services head for Malaysia | Sept. 23, 2015
Banks need to look at new revenue sources and going digital is the way to do this efficiently and effectively, says Paul Ng of Accenture.

India's sbiINTOUCH branches, which Accenture helped build, are equipped with interactive wall and table displays; remote experts that can be reached instantly via high-definition videoconferencing; and multi-function kiosks that provide services such as instant account opening with personalised debit cards, and instant in-principle approvals for home, auto or education loans. The branches are located in major metropolitan areas across India, including Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad enabling more robust digital services to customers without the "brick and mortar" of physical banks.

Some banks might even consider becoming purely digital. This is already considered a possibility in other parts of the world. Indeed, 25 percent of UK consumers would consider using a pure digital bank - a bank with no branches or call centres that is only accessible via laptops and mobile devices, according to a recent survey of more than 3,600 UK current account customers conducted by Accenture.

Regardless of whether a bank becomes totally digital or just increases its digital services they need to become "Everyday Banks". How can this be achieved? An Everyday bank implies a full operating model transformation at all levels: from the branches to the back office to the customer service functions.  It requires a new level of automation and digitised processes to enable the "just in time" services that customers want. And this requires breaking down bank silos and ensuring collaboration.

Why does it matter? If a bank increases the self-service portion of its business, it can reduce staffing levels for transactions that can be digitizes and spend on employees who focus on the meatier advisory work, which should reduce cost-to-income and increase the bank's customer network. Similarly, if a bank becomes embedded in new services -- such as offering genuine value-added advice on where to get that loan or car repair or insurance -- it builds business model opportunities. In Malaysia, where banks are focused on meeting their net interest margins and manage their exposures, becoming more efficient while offering new services makes sense. Banks need to look at new revenue sources and going digital is the way to do this efficiently and effectively.


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