Just a few years back, words like artificial intelligence, robots, machine learning and cashless payment sounded like parts of scripts written for some sci-fi movies.
Who could have thought that we could actually step into a world where mobile wallets, digital loans, digital lockers and virtual assistants are as normal as the bank queues that we were used to some time back?
Yes, banking, as we know it, has changed. This change is not incremental or gradual but a sudden, massive and hugely transformative one – kind of a leap-frog. Banking players, financial technology enablers, regulators are all walking the breadcrumbs of hints that today’s technology-savvy and digitally-born customer is leaving for them.
Convenience, speed, and experience have overtaken almost every other characteristic of old-age banking. Now customers want to bank at jet-travel speed and they also want to have security, smooth usability, and stability in the whole package.
Circa 2017, the banking industry would no longer raise eyebrows or exclaim surprises for things like bots and machine algorithms. In fact, most leading banks have already introduced chat bots and other AI features in their services and features. They are wooing customers with digital wallets, digital loan approvals, digital tracking, digital lockers, digital payments, P2P transfers, digital assistance – everything that can be possibly digital will become digital.
To add to that UPI (Unified Payment Interface) has already made its echo felt since the day RBI announced its intent of bringing in standard APIs for leveraging Smartphone adoption and pursuing next-generation payments across many players in the industry. Payments architecture and applications are all set to undergo a deep-cutting change in the way payments happen and are facilitated.
The way banking is done is not at all the way it used to happen some decades back. In a matter of two or three years, fin-tech has become a buzz word and almost every player worth its salt – from the new-age ones to the legacy banks, are now jumping on the digital bandwagon, lest they miss out on the customer’s needs.
Soon, digital will cease to be a differentiator and would be a hygiene factor across many areas – whether it is transactions, analytics, personal banking or investments. The rise of block-chains and other new disruptions would also make their presence felt on banking – whether directly or indirectly. So would be the case with the emergence of crypto-currencies like bitcoins.
Banking has changed and that is reflecting in the kind of skills it is seeking out today. Chat bots may replace human assistants but they would also create a simultaneous need for digitally-oriented professionals who have the kind of advanced and tech-savvy skills to steer the digital banking journey in the right direction and without mishaps.
Professionals in banking would have to become strongly accentuated with new-age skills and would have to start to unlearn as well as relearn what they think comes to play here.
The way banks approach customers would change. The way they service customers and sort out their issues would change. The same paradigm would appear in the features that new-age customers would look out for. They would need banking to be on-the-go, without interruptions and as agile as they are. In a constantly-connected, complex and fluid world, banking would have to be in rhythm with the changing ways of the customer. This would change how a bank works. That would change how a bank professional works and what skills and competencies can be delivered in this upcoming scenario. This will percolate down to how even study materials for bank exams be consumed. From heavy books to pen drives, e-Books, PDF books, online video interactive sessions, on-the-spot assessment for exam preparation, real time analytics and what not.
Candidates hoping to get into the banking sector will have to get trained in reputed Institutes, not just for fulfilling exam criteria but also for acquiring key skill sets that will render them efficient when they actually start working in the bank.
The year 2017 would be different, very different. Are you ready?