Monday, 23 January 2017

What happens to the Banking Industry after Demonetization?

banking industry
Everyone in the country is talking about the after-effects of Nov 8th. Everyone, in some way or the other, directly or indirectly, in long queues or with empty pockets, has been affected by Government’s demonetization drive.

But even after all the consequences that are visible already, the real impact of demonetization would only come to the surface in several months from now. One industry that is going to absorb most of the impact would undoubtedly be the banking industry.

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A major research firm has already predicted that thanks to demonetization, one in three jobs would be moving to software, robots, and smart infrastructure. As the overall payment ecosystem undergoes a massive change, the human resource aspect of the industry is certain to feel some significant wake-up calls.

Most banks and major names at that, had already started experimenting with bots and influx of AI (Artificial Intelligence) by investing in many pilots and projects of scale. Industry trailblazers are bringing changes where robots and intelligent devices would not just complement but also replace human professionals in the industry. Call centres and service personnel had already started questioning their relevance and future even before Nov 8th happened.

Now, with the massive, irreversible and comprehensive push on ‘going cashless’ and ‘adopting digital’, the banking industry is going to adopt financial technology with a new scale and scope. Investments will indicate the direction towards a system where intelligent technology and robust software takes care of most of the parts in the chain.

Adding to the movement is the new thrust on UPI or Unified Payment Interface, thus giving a major impetus for online and digital transactions. Banking is going to become Internet-enabled, online, bot-powered, blockchain-ready and way more future-forward than it was till now. The days of RTGS or NEFT push are nothing compared to the new digital technologies that the industry is going to witness.

It is a good time to get scared. But getting scared in a positive way, in a way that makes you adapt instead of shrinking in fear is the answer now. Be aware of the sweeping changes that demonetization is going to bring forth as the Government focuses on curbing black money, corruption and bringing in more transparency in the system. All these goals require a new digital infrastructure for the industry. As that gets into shape, you can either sit and worry about the job skills that have gone obsolete; or you can stand up and start preparing for the skills that will now be in demand.

The ease with computers, being well-versed with technology, quick adaptability to change, a fast digital learning curve, ability to handle new-age applications, IT-friendliness, and agile orientation will be the new skill sets required, as old skills ride into the sunset.

You can either tap the new opportunities that will now open if you are already a digitally native generation, or you can prepare yourself at a rapid pace for the competencies that the industry will require. No matter what you do, you can’t rely on the skills of the yesteryear.

If you can re-invent your understanding and rigour for processes and sell its relevance in the new era, you can secure your future in the era of digital banking. That should not be hard because as much digital as the industry turns, there would be certain core areas of work that only experienced professionals can supply. Hence, if you pack a core skill that is very specific to this domain and can marry the digital with the solid ground of understanding the banking system in an agile and smooth way, you will not go out of date.

Just watch well and repackage. Do not recycle the old.
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