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Malaysian and Thai banks win innovation awards

Jack Loo | March 1, 2011
IT projects in AP banks are focusing on grabbing new customers, says IDC.

SINGAPORE, MARCH 1, 2011-A group of ten banks, eight of them Asian, were conferred the Financial Insights Innovation Awards (FIIA) by IDC Financial Insights last week.

Chosen out of 158 entries submitted by the region's banks, this year's winners include Malaysia-based Al Rajhi Bank, Thailand-based Bangkok Bank Public Company, India-based HDFC Bank, as well as Taiwanese firms Chinatrust Commercial Bank and Taishin International Bank. International banks like Citigroup, HSBC and Standard Chartered have been recognised too.

The projects underwent two rounds of selection from an independent panel of judges and analysts from IDC Financial Insights. Only initiatives that had gone live and been running for up to two years were considered. Scoring criteria included responsiveness to market needs, effectiveness of implementation, market take-up, sustainability, customer impact and nature of innovation.

One key theme from this year's batch of nominations has been the focus on customers. "The most notable was how banks have maintained an unwavering focus on the customer amidst a drastic change in the competitive and operating landscape, resulting in a wave of customer-centric investments in transforming operations, service channels, and ultimately, customer experience," said Shawn Yip, Senior Analyst, IDC Fnancial Insights Asia/Pacific and Program Chair of the FIIA.

Compared to the FIIAs of previous years, Yip said, the customer centric theme has moved from being focused on customer retention to "grabbing new customers or moving to new untapped segments and even competitors' space."

Indeed, the overall outlook for the Asia Pacific financial institutions has been positive, according to a survey of attendees at the Asian Financial Services Congress. Fifty-four percent of the respondents are expecting high growth of over 10 percent in revenues from the region's finance sector in 2011. Forty-six percent are expecting medium growth of 3- 10 percent. None of the respondents surveyed expect low or no growth.

Other project themes include risk-related initiatives that are driven by compliance issues, and social media programmes that are becoming more sophisticated with banks learning to better monetise these systems.

Projects that utilise Cloud computing technology remained the minority, though. Existing Cloud projects tend to run non-critical applications like software testing. The main obstacle is that regulatory bodies are not ready to accept Cloud, said Yip.



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