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The Digital Revolu on
Transforming Banking
through Technology
10 Inuential
Leaders
Dening the
Future of
Digital Banking
in 2024
Mario Benedict
Head of EMEA Digital
Channels and Connectivity
J.P
. Morgan
Shaping the Future of Finance:
Mario Benedict
Driving Technological Strides
Breaking Boundaries
How Digital Banking is Reshaping
the Financial Landscape
VOL 04 I ISSUE 16 I 2024
Digital banking is changing banking
fundamentally, but only banks that can
innovate and adapt will survive.
Editor's
Note
s we navigate through the year 2024, the
Alandscape of digital banking is being
shaped by a cadre of visionary leaders. These
individuals are the architects of a future where
banking is seamless, secure, and tailored to the unique
needs of every customer.
These leaders are leveraging cutting-edge
technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain,
and big data analytics to redefine the way we bank.
They are not just digitizing traditional banking services
but are creating innovative solutions that are
transforming the banking experience.
In digital banking, customer-centricity is the mantra.
The leaders of this revolution understand that the
future of banking lies in creating personalized
experiences that resonate with customers. They are
harnessing the power of data to gain insights into
customer behavior and preferences and are using
these insights to deliver services that are not just
convenient but also highly relevant.
These leaders are championing the cause of financial
inclusion. They are leveraging digital platforms to
reach the unbanked and underbanked populations,
providing them with access to financial services and
helping to bridge the financial divide. Security is
another key area of focus for these leaders. In a world
where cyber threats are a constant concern, they are
investing heavily in cybersecurity measures to ensure
that customers can bank with confidence.
Through the latest edition of 10 Influential Leaders
Defining the Future of Digital Banking in 2024, their
relentless pursuit of innovation, customer-centricity,
financial inclusion, and security is setting the stage for
a future where digital banking is the norm rather than
the exception.
Leaders Navigating the
Digital Banking Revolution
PrinceBolton
20
C O V E R S T O R Y
A R T I C L E S
08
28
16
24
The Digital Revolu on
Transforming Banking
through Technology
Breaking Boundaries
How Digital Banking is Reshaping
the Financial Landscape
Dr. Larisa Yarovaya
Innova ng for a Sustainable Digital
Banking Ecosystem
Vid Hribar
Building Value through Blockchain and
Partnerships in the Banking Industry
Shaping the Future of Finance:
Mario Benedict
Driving Technological Strides
C
O
N
T
E
N
T
S
CONTENT
Deputy Editor Anish Miller
Managing Editor Prince Bolton
DESIGN
Visualizer Dave Bates
Art & Design Director Davis Mar n
Associate Designer Jameson Carl
SALES
Senior Sales Manager Wilson T., Hunter D.
Customer Success Manager Taylor A.
Sales Execu ves Tim, Smith
TECHNICAL
Technical Head Peter Hayden
Technical Consultant Victor Collins
April, 2024
Copyright © 2024 CIOLOOK, All
rights reserved. The content and
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photocopying, recording or
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from CIOLOOK.
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CIOLOOK.
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Editor-in-Chief
sales@ciolook.com
SME-SMO
Research Analyst Eric Smith
SEO Execu ve Alen Spencer
Brief
Company Name
Gina Cass-Gottlieb
Chair
Gina is a Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission, promoting competition and fair trading in
markets.
George Estrada
Principal Enterprise
Strategist - Nonprofits
George is a technology and business leader embracing every
aspect of the customer journey to optimize the customer
experience. He accomplishes this by building, managing, and
leading the development and delivery of innovative technology-
based solutions.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
aws.amazon.com
ACCC
www.accc.gov.au
Fiona Deroo
Global Head of Product
Launch Commercialization
and Consumer Payments Sales
Fiona is an International Treasury Sales professional with a
proven track record and whose expertise in global working
capital management, leadership quality and interpersonal skills
qualify her for a career in a majority of International fields.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
www.bofaml.com
Larisa Yarovaya
Associate Professor
of Finance
and Director of Centre
for Digital Finance
With a profound expertise in international finance and Fintech,
Larisa has contributed significantly to the academic landscape,
authoring over 70 papers and co-editing the book
"Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology".
Southampton Business School,
University of Southampton, UK
www.southampton.ac.
uk/business-school
Mario Benedict
Head of EMEA Digital
Channels and Connectivity
Mario is the Head of EMEA Digital Channels and Connectivity
of J.P.Morgan, a leader in financial services, offering solutions
to clients in more than 100 countries with one of the most
comprehensive global product platforms available.
J.P. Morgan
www.jpmorgan.com
Featured Person
Vid Hribar
Blockchain Hub
(Strategic Partnerships
& Ecosystems)
Vid is a passionate generalist who embarked on a journey from
studying law to discovering his true passion in the world of
banking, fintech, and emerging technologies. As a believer in
Web3 and decentralized solutions, he is driven to explore their
transformative power.
Rob Garlick
Head of Innovation,
Technology & the
Future of Work
Rob is Head of Innovation at Citi since 2006, with UK, EMEA,
US and Global management roles. A Qualified Executive
Coach with MSc in Behavioural Change. Mentoring L&D,
Recruitment, Product Management, Sales Capital Raising,
Fund Management, Investment Analyst and Charity.
Citi
www.citigroup.com
Raiffeisen Bank
International AG
www.rbinternational.com
Nick Carter
GM Digital | Bendigo
& Adelaide Bank
Nick is a Proven Senior Banking Executive with over 5 years at
this level, and 10 year at senior management level across
multiple divisions of the Group, in all banking disciplines,
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank
www.bendigoadelaide.com.au
Ville Sointu
Head of Solutions &
Strategy, MFS
Ville is a Senior specialist in financial technology. Member of
ECB Market Advisory Group for the Digital Euro and Co-host
of Fintech Daydreaming podcast.
Ericsson
www.ericsson.com
Wasim Mushtaq
Interim COO
Wasim partners with global banks to execute large-scale
transformation, and advise innovative start-ups to launch new
products and services. His career in financial services has
focused on leading operational teams and delivering strategic
change across banking sectors.
Centre for Finance,
Innovation and Technology
(CFIT)
Shaping the Future of Finance:
Mario Benedict
Driving Technological Strides
C O V E R S T O R Y
We strive to provide
progressive experiences for
all of our clients, enabling
the channel or interfaces of
their choice depending on
their Payment needs,
capabilities and platform
architecture.
Mario Benedict
Head of EMEA Digital
Channels and Connectivity
J.P
. Morgan
B
usinesses need to develop and lead with
strategies that eventually result in transcending
organizational progress. While navigating the
complexities within, the leaders who possess a keen
understanding of both technological innovations and
the intricacies of financial ecosystems stand as reliable
personalities.
Frequently, when a company endeavors to streamline
its payment processes while ensuring strict regulatory
compliance, it becomes imperative to have a leader
capable of effectively balancing these dual priorities.
Mario Benedict exemplifies this blend of expertise,
serving the dual priorities for companies striving to
streamline payments while ensuring regulatory
compliance. Being a seasoned professional with a
wealth of experience in digital channels and
connectivity, he brings a depth of knowledge and
strategic insight to every endeavor.
With extensive experience in digital channels and
connectivity within the financial sector, Mario is adept
at optimizing financial operations, reducing costs and
mitigating risks associated with global transactions. His
leadership is marked by a deep commitment to
innovation and client-centricity, shaping the digital
transformation strategies of leading financial
institutions.
As the Head of EMEA Digital Channels and
Connectivity at J.P. Morgan Payments, Mario leads a
team dedicated to revolutionizing the digital banking
experience. Under his guidance, forward-thinking
initiatives empower clients to navigate global payment
complexities seamlessly. Mario’s strategic vision and
wealth of knowledge continue to set new benchmarks
for innovation and client satisfaction in the digital
banking landscape.
Meeting Every Need
J.P. Morgan Payments exemplifies reliability and
innovation in the bustling world of global finance. With
a comprehensive suite of services spanning treasury,
trade, cards, and merchant solutions, they empower
clients to transact seamlessly across borders in over
120 currencies. Mario encapsulates their ethos, stating,
“We’re dedicated to meeting clients wherever they are on
their digital journey.”
At the core of J.P. Morgan Payments lies the Digital
Channels and Connectivity team, a force driving digital
transformation. Tasked with delivering a holistic digital
experience, they ensure clients can effortlessly manage
their business and working capital in the growing global
economy. Mario emphasizes their commitment,
affirming, “Our mission is to provide an end-to-end digital
experience.” This team oversees a spectrum of channels
and solutions within the Payments realm, from portals
to APIs catering to diverse client needs and
preferences. “We strive to offer progressive experiences,”
Mario notes.
Their offerings extend beyond conventional interfaces
embracing machine-to-machine connectivity and
embedded solutions seamlessly integrating with client
ecosystems. Mario highlights their versatility, stating,
“We enable clients to choose the channel or interface that
suits their payment needs and platform architecture.”
In a world shaped by digital dynamics, J.P. Morgan
Payments and its Digital Channels and Connectivity
team remain steadfast in their commitment to
facilitating seamless, secure and progressive payment
experiences for all.
Investing in the Future
A staggering $12 billion annual investment in
technology ensures J.P. Morgan stays at the forefront
of practical solutions employing agile methodologies to
meet evolving client needs. Mario states, “We prioritize
meeting clients where they are now and preparing them for
the path ahead.”
Collaboration with the Digital Experience Design team
ensures a user-centric focus in all client interactions. By
actively incorporating client feedback, they
continuously refine and enhance the omnichannel
experience. Mario highlights, “We strive to provide a
seamless omnichannel interaction for our clients.”
Furthermore, partnerships with FinTechs and Third-
Party Providers enrich their offerings with cutting-edge
solutions. Mario stresses the importance of shared
expertise, noting, “Collaboration allows us to embed
innovative solutions into our digital banking offerings.”
Achieving Unity Through Communication
J.P. Morgan Payments stands as a global leader
seamlessly blending worldwide reach with local
expertise to support clients in scaling and innovating
strategically. Mario highlights the significance of this
balance, stating, “Our core global platforms ensure a
unified experience with locally relevant solutions.”
Navigating cross-border payments and regulatory
intricacies is simplified through the collaboration of
treasury and payments experts worldwide. Mario
emphasizes their role, noting, “Clients can more easily
navigate complexities no matter where they’re transacting.”
Central to fostering collaboration is the clear
articulation and alignment of strategy with
organizational goals. Mario underscores that defining
and communicating objectives ensures a unified
approach.
Leadership plays a pivotal role in modeling
collaborative behavior and incorporating diverse
perspectives into decision-making processes. Mario
stresses the importance of this inclusive approach,
We actively utilize
client feedback to
identify opportunities
for improvement to
provide a seamless
omnichannel
interaction for our
clients.
noting that representatives from different regions are
involved in ensuring diverse perspectives.
Open communication channels further reinforce
collaboration. Regular group meetings facilitate idea
exchange and serve as a platform to recognize and
celebrate achievements fostering unity among team
members. Mario highlights this, stating, “Regular
meetings facilitate collaboration and provide a forum to
acknowledge achievements.”
The Pillars of Success
In the Digital Banking landscape, J.P. Morgan Payments
adheres to core principles that guide decision-making
ensuring a seamless experience for clients. As the
leaders at J.P. Morgan Payments, Mario emphasizes
their commitment to client-centricity, stating, “We’re
dedicated to meeting and exceeding our clients’
expectations.”
Key principles driving decision-making include:
Ÿ Client-Centricity: The Digital Channels &
Connectivity team serves as the primary interface
for clients striving to enhance their end-to-end
experience. Mario underscores the importance of
incorporating client feedback into decision-making
processes ensuring alignment with evolving digital
banking needs.
Ÿ Talent Development: The team comprises diverse
talent from apprentices to seasoned leaders
essential for meeting clients’ digital needs. Mario
highlights the significance of a skilled, diverse and
adaptable workforce for long-term success.
Ÿ Strategic Adaptability: A culture of continuous
learning and innovation enables the team to
anticipate and respond effectively to digital
banking’s dynamic landscape. Mario stresses the
importance of making decisions that enhance
market offerings, stating, “We must adapt to emerging
opportunities and challenges.”
Ÿ Agile Leadership: Implementing agile frameworks
fosters collaboration and flexibility enabling J.P.
Morgan Payments to thrive amidst regulatory
changes. Mario emphasizes the importance of
agility, stating, “Agile frameworks are essential for
keeping up with the everchanging dynamics of digital
banking.”
J.P. Morgan Payments remains at the forefront of digital
banking by adhering to these core principles while
delivering innovative solutions and exceptional client
experiences.
Unlocking Future Cash Flow
It comes as no surprise that artificial intelligence and
machine learning are playing an increasingly
indispensable role in today’s society. This will inevitably
develop into AI-powered cash forecasting tools, which
will help treasurers unveil inconspicuous patterns and
trends, thereby enabling them to better forecast and
manage their future cash flows. Embracing this
technological leap, Mario aims to incorporate AI
advancements into more products, enhancing client
service.
Mario emphasizes their commitment to innovation,
stating, “This is just the tip of the iceberg for us, as we
continue to work towards incorporating this exciting
development into more of our products to better service our
clients.”
Beyond treasury, automation driven by customer
experience and real-time data is on the rise. APIs serve
as the catalyst for this transformation pulling vital
information and enhancing experiences across various
sectors. Mario underscores the versatility of APIs,
noting, “They unite customization and transparency with
security and control.”
In parallel, blockchain technology, particularly
programmable payments promise significant
advancements. Mario highlights the benefits of
programmable payments, stating, “They enable advanced
automation of treasury functions and streamline
workflows.” Leveraging this technology, finance and
treasury teams can optimize liquidity and execute
settlements in real time even across borders. As J.P.
Morgan Payments embraces these technological
strides under Mario’s leadership, they remain
committed to enhancing client experiences and
optimizing processes through innovation and
adaptability.
Diverse Teams, Innovative Solutions
At J.P. Morgan, innovation is incorporated into
everything they do. Mario emphasizes their
commitment, stating, “Our approach to innovation is
central to every solution we build.” A diverse team serves
as the bedrock for fostering an innovative mindset
ensuring fresh perspectives and creative solutions.
Mario highlights, “We take great care in hiring and
maintaining a diverse team that provides the basis for
fostering an innovative mindset.”
Collaboration with FinTechs and partners keeps J.P.
Morgan ahead of the payments curve, enabling them to
anticipate and adapt to industry shifts. Co-creating
with clients allows for the development of tailored
solutions that align with their digital transformation
journey. This agile approach facilitates the delivery of
innovative solutions while obtaining immediate
feedback for continuous improvement. Mario shares,
“With this approach, we are able to deliver innovative
solutions on an agile methodology and obtain immediate
ongoing feedback to iterate and improve.”
We prioritize risk
management,
regulatory
considerations and
data security while
staying ahead with
innovative
solutions.
Anticipating and Adapting
“At J.P. Morgan, we excel in both anticipating and adapting
to risk,” says Mario. “We prioritize risk management,
regulatory considerations and data security while staying
ahead with innovative solutions.”
Leveraging global expertise, they protect clients
throughout the payment lifecycle and offer solutions at
the forefront of emerging technology. Renowned as a
trusted innovator, J.P. Morgan ensures clients are
equipped to navigate challenges while seizing
opportunities in the ever-evolving financial landscape.
The Next Frontier
“As we look forward, APIs will emerge as standalone
channels,” explains Mario. He highlights the importance
of seamless integrations enabling real-time access to
data and insights. Prioritizing scalable and flexible APIs
with simple integration endpoints is crucial as
transaction volumes rise. In the realm of AI and
machine learning, J.P. Morgan leverages proprietary
platforms to enhance cash flow forecasting. Mario
emphasizes the significance of machine learning in
identifying subtle patterns, stating, “Machine learning
models will uncover idiosyncratic patterns for our clients.”
Blockchain remains a key player in delivering
transformative opportunities for financial services.
Mario accentuates the ongoing potential of blockchain
technology highlighting its role in shaping the future of
finance. As J.P. Morgan continues to innovate, they
remain committed to harnessing the power of these
emerging technologies to benefit their clients and stay
ahead in the rapidly evolving financial landscape.
J.P. Morgan's AI-powered
cash forecasting tools will
help treasurers unveil
inconspicuous patterns
and trends, thereby
enabling them to better
forecast and manage their
future cash flows.
Dr. Lar a Yarovaya
Dr. Lar a Yarovaya
Dr. Lar a Yarovaya
Innovating for a Sustainable Digital Banking Ecosystem
Dr Larisa Yarovaya
Associate Professor of
Finance and Director of
Centre for Digital Finance
Southampton Business
School, University of
Southampton, UK
www.ciolook.com |April 2024 |
16
I
n 2018, a new chapter unfolded in the Department
of Banking and Finance at Southampton Business
School when Dr. Larisa Yarovaya stepped into her
role at the Department of Banking and Finance. Taking
charge with vigor, Dr. Yarovaya swiftly delved into
curriculum development while taking up the leadership
role at the Centre for Digital Finance. Since then, she
has spearheaded numerous collaborative research
projects within the digital finance domain resulting in
the publication of over 70 articles in esteemed peer-
reviewed journals.
Dr. Yarovaya's contributions extend beyond academia.
Her global recognition is evidenced by her inclusion in
Stanford's top 2% Global Scientists list and her
accumulated over 9,000 citations. Her work has been
featured in prominent media outlets such as BBC,
MarketWatch, Financial Times, CBC, Euronews, and
Bloomberg. Moreover, she has shared her expertise on
platforms like CNBC's series on 'Ethereum' and
'Stablecoins.’
Among her proudest achievements is the establishment
of the inaugural Cryptocurrency Research Conference
in 2018, which has evolved into the premier annual
academic event in this niche. Its success culminated in
the recent 6th edition hosted at the International
University of Monaco in 2023 fostering international
collaboration and innovation in the field. Digital
banking represents a captivating frontier within
decentralized finance and Dr. Yarovaya has been at the
forefront of this discourse. Her involvement in
significant events like the FT Global Banking Summit,
where she facilitated a masterclass on CBDCs,
underlines her commitment to fostering invaluable
exchanges with industry leaders and peers.
Reflecting on her journey, Dr. Yarovaya is immensely
grateful for the enriching collaborations and
encounters that have shaped her trajectory in this
dynamic field. She recognizes the collective efforts of
passionate individuals who continue to drive
meaningful progress and eagerly anticipates the future
advancements that lie ahead. As the Associate
Professor of Finance and Director of the Centre for
Digital Finance at Southampton Business School,
University of Southampton, UK, Dr. Yarovaya is
stepping up the pace of innovation in Digital Banking
and Finance.
Protecting Consumers
“As the Director of the Centre for Digital Finance,” says Dr.
Yarovaya, “my journey into a leadership role in digital
banking has been driven by a passion for making scientific
advancements accessible to a broader audience and
maximizing the impact of research on society.” In her role,
she emphasizes bridging the gap between academia,
industry, policymakers, and global media fostering
collaborations to push the frontier of digital banking
research.
Dr. Yarovaya acknowledges that navigating a
traditionally male-dominated field like Fintech, Banking
and Finance has presented challenges. However, she
sees these challenges as opportunities to inspire and
support female colleagues encouraging them to strive
for success and fostering a supportive community.
Initially, Dr. Yarovaya viewed the DeFi industry as a
challenging landscape, akin to the Wild West, with a
lack of transparency and integrity among players.
However, her perspective has evolved over time. She
notes a positive shift within the industry, marked by
increased transparency among leaders. This
transformation, she believes, is due in part to the
efforts of regulators and media outlets prioritizing
unbiased opinions from academic scholars grounded in
scientific results.
This shift towards transparency, not only benefits
industry players but also serves to protect consumers.
It enables the identification and support of honest
participants contributing to the establishment of a
more efficient global regulatory framework. Dr.
Yarovaya firmly believes this change is crucial for the
continued development of the digital banking sector
fostering an environment that is accountable, secure
and conducive to sustainable growth.
Innovative Insights
In her current role, Dr. Yarovaya strategically drives
innovation and digital transformation in the banking
sector through four key priorities. Firstly, she
emphasizes championing Fintech literacy by overseeing
a comprehensive rebranding of global Finance
educational offerings resulting in the successful launch
of the BS Finance and Financial Technology program.
Secondly, she prioritizes consumer protection through
www.ciolook.com | April 2024 |
17
targeted outreach activities, aiming to empower
consumers in the digital financial landscape and foster
trust.
“Third,” Dr. Yarovaya states, “I foster collaboration
between industry, policymakers and academia to push
regulatory frontiers and create an adaptive regulatory
framework.” Lastly, she actively cultivates high-quality
global partnerships in research and enterprise
positioning the Centre for Digital Finance as a global
leader in advancing knowledge and practices in the
digital finance domain.
These efforts collectively form the foundation for
digital transformation. Additional initiatives, such as
developing an MBA module on Blockchain Technology
and Cryptocurrency Investments highlight her
commitment to providing executives with insights into
transformative technologies, further establishing the
CDF as a global leader in the field.
Striving for Change
In fostering a culture of continuous learning and
adaptation in the dynamic landscape of digital banking,
Dr. Yarovaya draws from the rich institutional
experience of the University of Southampton, where
the Centre for Digital Finance (CDF) is based.
Leveraging the university's legacy of pushing scientific
frontiers and fostering a culture of learning, she
continually challenges herself as a leader to expand
beyond her academic expertise.
Recently she has taken on the role of Chair of the
Athena Swan Self-Assessment team at the
Southampton Business School, focusing on creating an
inclusive culture and empowering female graduates to
excel in fields like finance and fintech. This experience
enhances her understanding of cultural nuances and
inclusion, contributing to her effectiveness as a leader
at the CDF.
“Additionally,” she says, “my secondment position as
Advocacy Manager in the university's Communication
Department provides invaluable opportunities to engage
directly with top media outlets and learn how academic
expertise can benefit society.” This role strengthens her
leadership and research skills by equipping her to
navigate the rapid changes in digital banking and
decentralized finance while fostering positive cultural
shifts within her team and the industry at large.
“As a research entity, we are
privileged to collaborate
with the banking sector while
adhering to the regulations and
security procedures
of Higher Education
Institutions.”
www.ciolook.com |April 2024 |
18
Security, Innovation and Regulation
Dr. Yarovaya explains, “As a research entity, we are
privileged to collaborate with the banking sector while
adhering to the regulations and security procedures of
Higher Education Institutions.” Therefore, regulatory
uncertainty in decentralized finance indirectly affects
us. She adds, “We invest a lot of time and energy in the
development of education and research outputs, based on
the assumption that blockchain technology and Fintech
innovations will continue to thrive in the future.”
While they cannot predict the regulatory landscape in
the UK and globally, it is crucial to maintain a
continuous dialogue with all key stakeholders, stay up-
to-date and whenever possible, influence this
regulatory landscape. This proactive approach ensures
that the Centre for Digital Finance remains adaptable
and responsive to changes in regulations, thus enabling
ongoing collaboration and innovation in the field.
Accessible and Safe
For Dr. Yarovaya and her team, a significant motivation
driving research outputs is centered around consumer
protection. She emphasizes, “I am dedicated to ensuring
that our research results are widely accessible and easily
understood by diverse audiences.” This commitment
forms the core of all the projects in which the Centre
for Digital Finance is engaged, emphasizing its
dedication to assisting companies in making their
products safe and user-friendly for their customers.
While there is more work to be done, motivation drives
them to continuously prioritize the enhancement of
customer experience in the digital banking landscape.
The Future Is Now
Leveraging emerging technologies, such as AI and
blockchain comes naturally to Dr. Yarovaya as a
blockchain expert. However, she acknowledges, “I
recognize that the benefits may not always be apparent to
businesses who may be more focused on the potential of AI
alone, overlooking the strategic advantages of integrating
these two technologies.”
“I am confident,” Dr. Yarovaya states, “that this oversight
will be promptly addressed.” At the Centre for Digital
Finance (CDF), she explains, “We strive to anticipate
future trends and as part of this initiative, we are launching
several projects that combine the capabilities of AI with the
security and transparency offered by blockchain.” Their
goal to drive positive changes in the digital banking
—
and fintech landscape, emphasizing the synergies
between these cutting-edge technologies.
Sustaining Excellence
“We do not face direct exposure to any risks stemming from
digital banking ourselves,” Dr. Yarovaya clarifies, “rather,
we are conducting research in this area to benefit the
community and our partners.”
She acknowledges the distinctive nature of my
leadership role, steering a transformative path within
academia. To sustain a competitive edge for the
research Centre, they consistently prioritize innovation
infusing a multidisciplinary approach and expertise into
its research endeavors. Their strategy, she explains,
“revolves around placing a strong emphasis on the quality
of our work and nurturing enduring relationships in all
partnerships we establish.” To her, “these elements
constitute the cornerstone of our ongoing success.” With
this commitment to excellence and collaboration, the
Centre for Digital Finance remains poised to continue
making significant contributions to the field of digital
banking and finance.
www.ciolook.com | April 2024 |
19
Transforming Banking through
Technology
Transforming Banking through
Technology
n the modern world, few industries have undergone
Ias significant a transformation as banking.
Historically rooted in traditional brick-and-mortar
establishments, banking has swiftly evolved into a
digital powerhouse, reshaping the way financial
services are delivered and experienced. This
metamorphosis, driven by technological advancements,
has revolutionized every aspect of banking, from
customer interactions to back-end operations, ushering
in an era of unparalleled convenience, efficiency, and
innovation.
From Traditional to Digital
The journey of banking from its traditional roots to its
digital iteration is marked by several key milestones.
Initially, banking services were confined to physical
branches, where customers conducted transactions
face-to-face with tellers and relied heavily on paper-
based documentation. While this model served its
purpose for decades, it was inherently limited by
geographical constraints and operating hours, often
causing inconvenience for customers.
The advent of electronic banking in the latter half of the
20th century laid the groundwork for a gradual shift
towards digitization. Automated teller machines
(ATMs) emerged as a pioneering technology, allowing
customers to perform basic transactions such as
withdrawals and deposits outside of banking hours.
Additionally, the introduction of online banking in the
1990s provided customers with the convenience of
managing their accounts and conducting transactions
remotely through internet-enabled devices.
However, it was the widespread adoption of
smartphones and the rise of mobile banking
applications in the 21st century that truly catalyzed the
digital revolution in banking. With the proliferation of
smartphones and the ubiquity of internet connectivity,
customers gained unprecedented access to banking
services anytime, anywhere, directly from their mobile
devices. This shift not only transformed the way
customers interacted with their banks but also paved
the way for a myriad of innovative financial products
and services.
The Digital Advantage
One of the primary drivers behind the digital
transformation of banking is the relentless pursuit of
enhancing the customer experience. Digital banking
channels offer unparalleled convenience and flexibility,
empowering customers to manage their finances on
their own terms. Whether it's checking account
balances, transferring funds, paying bills, or applying for
loans, customers can now perform a wide range of
banking activities with just a few taps on their
smartphones.
Moreover, digital banking platforms leverage advanced
technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and
machine learning (ML) to personalize the customer
experience. By analyzing transaction data and user
behavior, banks can offer targeted product
recommendations, personalized financial advice, and
proactive fraud detection, thereby fostering deeper
engagement and trust with their customers.
The integration of digital channels with emerging
technologies like biometrics and facial recognition has
revolutionized authentication and security in banking.
Biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint
scanning and facial recognition, offer a more secure and
convenient alternative to traditional password-based
authentication, mitigating the risk of unauthorized
access and identity theft.
Empowering Financial Inclusion
The digital revolution in banking has also played a
pivotal role in promoting financial inclusion by reaching
www.ciolook.com |April 2024 |
20
The Digital Revolution
www.ciolook.com | April 2024 |
21
underserved and unbanked populations. In many parts
of the world, traditional banking infrastructure is
scarce or inaccessible, leaving millions of people
without access to basic financial services. However, the
widespread adoption of mobile technology has bridged
this gap, enabling financial institutions to extend their
services to previously underserved communities.
Mobile banking applications and digital payment
platforms have emerged as powerful tools for financial
inclusion, providing individuals with access to essential
banking services such as savings accounts, payment
transfers, and microloans through their mobile devices.
Additionally, the digitization of government
disbursements and social welfare programs has
facilitated direct cash transfers to beneficiaries,
eliminating intermediaries and reducing leakages in the
system.
Blockchain technology, with its decentralized and
transparent ledger system, holds immense potential for
transforming financial services in developing countries.
By leveraging blockchain-based solutions, financial
institutions can offer secure and cost-effective
alternatives to traditional banking systems, thereby
empowering individuals and businesses in underserved
regions to participate in the global economy.
Optimizing Operational Efficiency
Beyond enhancing the customer experience, the digital
revolution in banking has also revolutionized back-end
operations, driving unprecedented levels of efficiency
and productivity. Automation technologies, such as
robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive
computing, have enabled banks to streamline routine
tasks and processes, reducing operational costs and
human errors.
For example, RPA bots can automate repetitive tasks
such as data entry, account reconciliation, and
compliance reporting, freeing up human resources to
focus on more strategic initiatives. Similarly, cognitive
computing systems can analyze vast amounts of data to
identify patterns, detect anomalies, and generate
actionable insights, empowering banks to make
informed decisions in real time.
Furthermore, the adoption of cloud computing and
software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions has transformed
the way banks manage their IT infrastructure and
applications. By migrating to cloud-based platforms,
banks can scale their operations more efficiently,
reduce infrastructure costs, and accelerate the
deployment of new digital services. Additionally, cloud-
based analytics tools enable banks to harness the
power of big data and predictive analytics to gain
deeper insights into customer behavior and market
trends.
Navigating Regulatory Challenges
While the digital revolution in banking offers immense
opportunities for innovation and growth, it also
presents a host of regulatory challenges and security
concerns. As banks increasingly rely on digital channels
to deliver services and interact with customers, they
must navigate a complex landscape of regulatory
requirements and compliance standards to ensure the
security and integrity of their operations.
Stringent regulations such as the General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card
Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) impose
strict requirements on banks to protect customer data
and maintain the privacy of sensitive information.
Moreover, the emergence of new technologies such as
cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance (DeFi)
poses novel regulatory challenges, requiring banks to
adapt their compliance frameworks to address
emerging risks and vulnerabilities.
The threat landscape in banking has evolved
dramatically in the digital age, with cyberattacks
becoming increasingly sophisticated and widespread.
Banks must invest in robust cybersecurity measures,
including encryption, multi-factor authentication, and
intrusion detection systems, to safeguard against cyber
threats and protect customer assets.
Embracing Innovation and Collaboration
Ultimately, the digital revolution in banking is not just
about embracing new technologies—it's about
reimagining the future of finance and empowering
individuals and businesses to thrive in an increasingly
interconnected and digital world. By harnessing the
transformative power of technology, banks can unlock
new opportunities for financial inclusion, operational
efficiency, and customer engagement, ushering in a new
era of banking that is truly digital, inclusive, and
resilient.
www.ciolook.com |April 2024 |
22
With digital banking,
the world becomes your bank,
and banking becomes a
seamless part of everyday life.
Vid Hribar
Building Value through Blockchain and
Partnerships in the Banking Industry
he rise of digital banking isn’t just reshaping
Tindividual financial interactions it’s also
—
revolutionizing how businesses collaborate and
compete. This digital upheaval acts as a powerful
catalyst, propelling strategic partnerships and
ecosystems forward. Amidst this transformative era,
individuals like Vid Hribar emerge as pioneers, leading
the charge with innovative strategies in the digital
banking sphere.
Vid’s journey into the realm of digital banking traces
back to his college days, a time when his interest in
banking transcended the confines of his law studies.
Exploring the intersection of law and finance, Vid
delved into the vibrant world of fintech, eager to
uncover the new horizons it offered. His journey took a
decisive turn during an internship at a regional bank,
where he embarked on a dynamic rotation through
various departments each month for a year. This
immersive experience proved invaluable, providing Vid
with a multifaceted understanding of banking
operations and fostering vital connections across
different domains.
Such diverse exposure stands as a cornerstone in Vid’s
approach, recognizing the pressing need for seamless
customer experiences in the digital age. With
customers increasingly drawing parallels between
banking services and those offered by tech giants like
Amazon or Netflix, Vid understands the imperative of
delivering an end-to-end journey that exceeds
expectations. This entails collaborative efforts with
colleagues from diverse areas within the bank, ensuring
a cohesive and customer-centric approach to digital
banking solutions.
Vid, a member of the Blockchain Hub (Strategic
Partnerships & Ecosystems department) at Raiffeisen
Bank International AG embodies a commitment to
innovation and collaboration in the pursuit of elevating
the digital banking experience.
Lessons Learned
When Vid joined the Blockchain Hub, the aim was
clear to drive change and make a meaningful impact. “I
—
wanted to introduce various blockchain applications to
transform the bank,” Vid recalls. But the journey wasn’t
without its hurdles, teaching valuable lessons along the
way.
One such lesson came during the NFT craze. “Many
suggested exploring NFTs without a clear idea of what we
could do,” Vid explains. Undeterred, they embarked on a
research project with tech-savvy students. “We
identified potential areas, but none showed sustainable
business potential upon closer examination.” This
experience underscored the importance of a well-
thought-out approach amidst industry hype.
Another lesson learned was about timing. “Sometimes
you’re just a bit ahead of the curve,” Vid reflects.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) holds immense promise,
but it’s still early days in terms of technology, regulation
and adoption. While DeFi could revolutionize
traditional banking, acknowledging that it will take time
to fully develop is crucial. These lessons have not only
shaped Vid’s approach but also the trajectory of
blockchain initiatives at the bank.
Tech Trend Radar
In Vid’s current role, driving innovation and digital
transformation in the banking sector is paramount
within the Group Strategy and Innovation department.
“We initiated a Tech Trend Radar a few years ago to identify
the most relevant technology trends for our banking group
annually,” Vid explains. With a plethora of trends, they
prioritize and assess only the top ones.
These chosen trends become focal points for seeking
experimentation opportunities and establishing
partnerships with startups.
www.ciolook.com |April 2024 |
24
It’s impera ve for
us to understand
these dynamics,
avoiding impulsive
adop on and
instead
determining the
right ming for
experimenta on
and
implementa on.”
“
Vid Hribar
Blockchain Hub (Strategic
Partnerships & Ecosystems)
Raiffeisen Bank Interna onal AG
www.ciolook.com | April 2024 |
25
Collaboration plays a pivotal role in this process, with
experiments conducted alongside relevant
stakeholders such as business lines, compliance and IT
colleagues. “Our ultimate objective is to empower our
colleagues to experiment in relevant areas,” Vid
emphasizes. As products mature, the aim is to
seamlessly integrate them into business lines ensuring
a smooth transition and implementation of innovative
solutions. This systematic and collaborative approach
aligns with the overarching strategy to remain at the
forefront of technological innovation in the banking
sector.
The Power of Sharing
Vid asserts that cultivating a culture of continuous
learning and innovation in the dynamic digital banking
landscape is vital. “Personally, my curiosity and eagerness
to learn more drive this culture,” Vid continues,
emphasizing the importance of extending interests
beyond the financial industry to recognize the
interconnectedness of various domains.
To foster continuous learning, it’s also important to
share this curiosity and innovative mindset. Recently,
Vid served as a coach in an Innovation School program
for Raiffeisen Bank International’s employees. “During
this experience, I had the opportunity to pass on my insights
and motivation to my colleagues,” Vid shares proudly. Vid
trusts them to further propagate this mindset within
their group contributing to the development of an
innovative culture that allows them to stay ahead in the
rapidly changing landscape of digital banking.
Collaborative Innovation
Vid stresses the early involvement of colleagues in new
projects as essential, allowing them to shape the
direction and contribute to successful outcomes.
Balancing innovation and digitalization with security
and regulatory compliance is crucial in banking. “Each
project undergoes strict checks to ensure both security and
compliance,” Vid emphasizes, highlighting the
importance of these measures in building and
maintaining customer trust, a key strength for banks
compared to fintech companies.
www.ciolook.com |April 2024 |
26
Despite the initial challenges, these requirements are
essential for the long term. “We took considerable time to
assemble a team with the right expertise from various
areas,” Vid explains. Initially, there were discussions
explaining and clarifying misconceptions, but over time,
the dialogue shifted from ‘there is no way’ to a more
collaborative approach like ‘let’s find a way together,’ Vid
elaborates.
Ahead of the Curve
“Customer-centricity is a key aspect of our approach to
digital banking in my department,” Vid explains. “We deal
with new technologies by identifying, prioritizing,
evaluating them, and providing recommendations. When
we come across interesting use cases, we conduct pilot
projects to test our ideas,” Vid adds while elaborating.
Despite the focus on different technologies, Vid has
learned the importance of not taking a technology-first
approach, the hard way as he admits. “Initially, we spent
a lot of time explaining technical aspects like blockchain.
However, we shifted our approach to be more customer-
centric, addressing customer pain points first and then
exploring various technology solutions,” Vid reflects. This
approach has proven more successful for them.
However, decision-making isn’t black and white. “While
customer-centricity guides us, we also consider strategic
decisions. For example, if we believe banks should have the
future-ready infrastructure, we may start building it even if
the current customer demand doesn’t justify the initial
investment,” Vid explains. Balancing customer needs
with strategic considerations is crucial for decision-
making.
Tomorrow’s Banking Experience
Utilizing emerging technologies like AI and blockchain
to elevate the digital banking experience is a strategic
journey that Vid and his team navigate with a
thoughtful approach. Typically, new technologies begin
with high expectations, often followed by a reality
check leading to more practical applications and
integration, as illustrated by the Gartner hype cycle.
“It’s imperative for us to understand these dynamics,
avoiding impulsive adoption and instead determining the
right timing for experimentation and implementation,” Vid
emphasizes.
“Our exploration of blockchain started over five years ago,
evolving from knowledge-sharing and experimentation to a
more mature phase,” Vid recalls. “Currently, we have a
well-defined blockchain strategy and concrete product
ideas showcasing substantial progress in our approach,” Vid
adds.
Regarding AI, it has already found its place in many
processes within the bank. However, the advent of
ChatGPT and generative AI provided a significant
boost. Recognizing the heightened interest from
stakeholders, they initiated a strategy analysis which
was well-received. This became the catalyst for various
projects implementing generative AI throughout the
bank.
Vid points out, importantly, it’s crucial to understand
that AI and blockchain are not in competition rather,
—
they address different challenges and are poised to
coexist in the future. Blockchain primarily revolves
around data storage and management, while AI,
particularly generative AI plays a pivotal role in
enhancing the overall user experience, exemplifying a
harmonious integration of diverse technological
solutions in the digital banking landscape.
Building Ecosystems
In Vid’s role, navigating the competitive landscape
involves staying informed about industry developments
and keeping a close eye on the strategies employed by
other banks and competitors. However, the approach is
somewhat distinct when it comes to blockchain. Given
its decentralized nature, the addition of more
participants, including other banks, enhances the
overall value of the network. “Therefore, we adopt a
unique perspective, focusing on building ecosystems, as
reflected in the name of our department,” Vid concludes,
highlighting steering through the competition in the
sector and maintaining sustained success.
www.ciolook.com | April 2024 |
27
Breaking Boundaries
www.ciolook.com |April 2024 |
28
How Digital Banking is
Reshaping the
Financial Landscape
I
n recent years, the financial industry has undergone a
seismic shift driven by technological innovation.
Traditional banking models, once rooted in physical
branches and face-to-face interactions, are rapidly being
replaced by digital alternatives that offer unprecedented
convenience, accessibility, and efficiency. This digital
revolution in banking is not just about leveraging
technology to streamline processes—it's about breaking
boundaries and redefining the way individuals and
businesses interact with financial services.
The Rise of Digital Banking
Digital banking represents a paradigm shift in the way
financial services are delivered and consumed. Unlike
traditional banking models that rely on brick-and-mortar
branches and paper-based transactions, digital banking
leverages technology to provide seamless, 24/7 access to a
wide range of financial products and services through online
and mobile channels.
The proliferation of smartphones, coupled with
advancements in internet connectivity and mobile
technology, has fueled the rapid adoption of digital banking
around the world. Today, consumers expect instant access
to their accounts, real-time transactions, and personalized
financial insights—all of which are made possible through
digital banking platforms.
Convenience Redefined
One of the most significant benefits of digital banking is the
unparalleled convenience it offers to consumers. With
digital banking platforms, customers can manage their
finances anytime, anywhere, without the need to visit a
physical branch. Whether it's checking account balances,
transferring funds, paying bills, or applying for loans, all of
these tasks can be completed with just a few taps on a
smartphone or clicks on a computer.
Moreover, digital banking eliminates many of the traditional
barriers to accessing financial services, such as geographical
www.ciolook.com | April 2024 |
29
distance and operating hours. This level of accessibility
is particularly beneficial for individuals living in remote
areas or those with busy lifestyles who may not have
the time or means to visit a bank branch during regular
business hours.
Empowering Financial Wellness
Another key aspect of digital banking is its ability to
personalize the customer experience and provide
valuable insights into financial behavior. By leveraging
data analytics and artificial intelligence, digital banking
platforms can analyze customer transactions and
behavior to offer personalized product
recommendations, financial advice, and budgeting
tools.
For example, digital banking apps can categorize
spending habits, identify areas for potential savings,
and provide alerts for upcoming bills or unusual
account activity. This level of personalized guidance
empowers consumers to make informed financial
decisions and improve their overall financial wellness.
Fostering Financial Inclusion
Digital banking also has the potential to address the
issue of financial exclusion by reaching underserved
and unbanked populations. In many parts of the world,
traditional banking infrastructure is limited or
inaccessible, leaving millions of people without access
to basic financial services. However, the widespread
adoption of mobile technology has bridged this gap,
enabling financial institutions to extend their services
to previously underserved communities.
Mobile banking apps and digital payment platforms
have emerged as powerful tools for financial inclusion,
providing individuals with access to essential banking
services such as savings accounts, payment transfers,
and microloans through their mobile devices.
Additionally, digital remittance services enable
migrants and expatriates to send money to their
families back home quickly and securely, reducing
reliance on costly and inefficient traditional remittance
channels.
Mitigating Risks in the Digital Age
Despite the many benefits of digital banking, security,
and trust remain paramount concerns for both
consumers and financial institutions. With the rise of
cyber threats and data breaches, ensuring the security
and integrity of digital banking platforms is essential to
maintaining customer trust and confidence.
Financial institutions invest heavily in cybersecurity
measures, such as encryption, multi-factor
authentication, and fraud detection systems, to protect
customer data and prevent unauthorized access to
accounts. Additionally, regulatory bodies impose
stringent compliance requirements on financial
institutions to safeguard customer information and
maintain the privacy of sensitive data.
Driving the Future of Banking
As the digital banking landscape continues to evolve,
collaboration and innovation will be key drivers of
future growth and success. Financial institutions must
embrace emerging technologies such as artificial
intelligence, blockchain, and digital identity verification
to stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving needs
of customers.
Moreover, collaboration between banks, fintech
startups, and regulatory authorities is essential to
driving innovation and addressing shared challenges in
the digital banking ecosystem. By working together,
stakeholders can leverage their respective strengths
and resources to develop innovative solutions that
benefit consumers and promote financial inclusion.
Conclusion
Digital banking is reshaping the financial landscape by
breaking boundaries and redefining the way individuals
and businesses access financial services. With its
emphasis on convenience, personalization, and
inclusivity, digital banking offers unparalleled
opportunities for financial empowerment and growth.
As we embrace the digital future of banking, it's
essential to prioritize security, trust, and collaboration
to ensure that digital banking remains a safe, reliable,
and accessible option for consumers around the world.
By harnessing the transformative power of technology
and innovation, we can create a more inclusive and
prosperous financial ecosystem that
benefits everyone.
www.ciolook.com |April 2024 |
30
Digital banking is not just about providing
convenience for customers; it's about staying
relevant in an increasingly digital world.
Digital banking is not a trend;
it's the future of banking.
www.ciolook.com

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10 Influential Leaders Defining the Future of Digital Banking in 2024.pdf

  • 1. The Digital Revolu on Transforming Banking through Technology 10 Inuential Leaders Dening the Future of Digital Banking in 2024 Mario Benedict Head of EMEA Digital Channels and Connectivity J.P . Morgan Shaping the Future of Finance: Mario Benedict Driving Technological Strides Breaking Boundaries How Digital Banking is Reshaping the Financial Landscape VOL 04 I ISSUE 16 I 2024
  • 2. Digital banking is changing banking fundamentally, but only banks that can innovate and adapt will survive.
  • 3.
  • 5. s we navigate through the year 2024, the Alandscape of digital banking is being shaped by a cadre of visionary leaders. These individuals are the architects of a future where banking is seamless, secure, and tailored to the unique needs of every customer. These leaders are leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and big data analytics to redefine the way we bank. They are not just digitizing traditional banking services but are creating innovative solutions that are transforming the banking experience. In digital banking, customer-centricity is the mantra. The leaders of this revolution understand that the future of banking lies in creating personalized experiences that resonate with customers. They are harnessing the power of data to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences and are using these insights to deliver services that are not just convenient but also highly relevant. These leaders are championing the cause of financial inclusion. They are leveraging digital platforms to reach the unbanked and underbanked populations, providing them with access to financial services and helping to bridge the financial divide. Security is another key area of focus for these leaders. In a world where cyber threats are a constant concern, they are investing heavily in cybersecurity measures to ensure that customers can bank with confidence. Through the latest edition of 10 Influential Leaders Defining the Future of Digital Banking in 2024, their relentless pursuit of innovation, customer-centricity, financial inclusion, and security is setting the stage for a future where digital banking is the norm rather than the exception. Leaders Navigating the Digital Banking Revolution PrinceBolton
  • 6. 20 C O V E R S T O R Y A R T I C L E S 08 28 16 24 The Digital Revolu on Transforming Banking through Technology Breaking Boundaries How Digital Banking is Reshaping the Financial Landscape Dr. Larisa Yarovaya Innova ng for a Sustainable Digital Banking Ecosystem Vid Hribar Building Value through Blockchain and Partnerships in the Banking Industry Shaping the Future of Finance: Mario Benedict Driving Technological Strides
  • 8. CONTENT Deputy Editor Anish Miller Managing Editor Prince Bolton DESIGN Visualizer Dave Bates Art & Design Director Davis Mar n Associate Designer Jameson Carl SALES Senior Sales Manager Wilson T., Hunter D. Customer Success Manager Taylor A. Sales Execu ves Tim, Smith TECHNICAL Technical Head Peter Hayden Technical Consultant Victor Collins April, 2024 Copyright © 2024 CIOLOOK, All rights reserved. The content and images used in this magazine should not be reproduced or transmi ed in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission from CIOLOOK. Reprint rights remain solely with CIOLOOK. FOLLOW US ON www.facebook.com/ciolook www.twi er.com/ciolook WE ARE ALSO AVAILABLE ON Email info@ciolook.com For Subscrip on www.ciolook.com CONTACT US ON Pooja M Bansal Editor-in-Chief sales@ciolook.com SME-SMO Research Analyst Eric Smith SEO Execu ve Alen Spencer
  • 9. Brief Company Name Gina Cass-Gottlieb Chair Gina is a Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, promoting competition and fair trading in markets. George Estrada Principal Enterprise Strategist - Nonprofits George is a technology and business leader embracing every aspect of the customer journey to optimize the customer experience. He accomplishes this by building, managing, and leading the development and delivery of innovative technology- based solutions. Amazon Web Services (AWS) aws.amazon.com ACCC www.accc.gov.au Fiona Deroo Global Head of Product Launch Commercialization and Consumer Payments Sales Fiona is an International Treasury Sales professional with a proven track record and whose expertise in global working capital management, leadership quality and interpersonal skills qualify her for a career in a majority of International fields. Bank of America Merrill Lynch www.bofaml.com Larisa Yarovaya Associate Professor of Finance and Director of Centre for Digital Finance With a profound expertise in international finance and Fintech, Larisa has contributed significantly to the academic landscape, authoring over 70 papers and co-editing the book "Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology". Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, UK www.southampton.ac. uk/business-school Mario Benedict Head of EMEA Digital Channels and Connectivity Mario is the Head of EMEA Digital Channels and Connectivity of J.P.Morgan, a leader in financial services, offering solutions to clients in more than 100 countries with one of the most comprehensive global product platforms available. J.P. Morgan www.jpmorgan.com Featured Person Vid Hribar Blockchain Hub (Strategic Partnerships & Ecosystems) Vid is a passionate generalist who embarked on a journey from studying law to discovering his true passion in the world of banking, fintech, and emerging technologies. As a believer in Web3 and decentralized solutions, he is driven to explore their transformative power. Rob Garlick Head of Innovation, Technology & the Future of Work Rob is Head of Innovation at Citi since 2006, with UK, EMEA, US and Global management roles. A Qualified Executive Coach with MSc in Behavioural Change. Mentoring L&D, Recruitment, Product Management, Sales Capital Raising, Fund Management, Investment Analyst and Charity. Citi www.citigroup.com Raiffeisen Bank International AG www.rbinternational.com Nick Carter GM Digital | Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Nick is a Proven Senior Banking Executive with over 5 years at this level, and 10 year at senior management level across multiple divisions of the Group, in all banking disciplines, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank www.bendigoadelaide.com.au Ville Sointu Head of Solutions & Strategy, MFS Ville is a Senior specialist in financial technology. Member of ECB Market Advisory Group for the Digital Euro and Co-host of Fintech Daydreaming podcast. Ericsson www.ericsson.com Wasim Mushtaq Interim COO Wasim partners with global banks to execute large-scale transformation, and advise innovative start-ups to launch new products and services. His career in financial services has focused on leading operational teams and delivering strategic change across banking sectors. Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT)
  • 10. Shaping the Future of Finance: Mario Benedict Driving Technological Strides C O V E R S T O R Y We strive to provide progressive experiences for all of our clients, enabling the channel or interfaces of their choice depending on their Payment needs, capabilities and platform architecture.
  • 11. Mario Benedict Head of EMEA Digital Channels and Connectivity J.P . Morgan
  • 12. B usinesses need to develop and lead with strategies that eventually result in transcending organizational progress. While navigating the complexities within, the leaders who possess a keen understanding of both technological innovations and the intricacies of financial ecosystems stand as reliable personalities. Frequently, when a company endeavors to streamline its payment processes while ensuring strict regulatory compliance, it becomes imperative to have a leader capable of effectively balancing these dual priorities. Mario Benedict exemplifies this blend of expertise, serving the dual priorities for companies striving to streamline payments while ensuring regulatory compliance. Being a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience in digital channels and connectivity, he brings a depth of knowledge and strategic insight to every endeavor. With extensive experience in digital channels and connectivity within the financial sector, Mario is adept at optimizing financial operations, reducing costs and mitigating risks associated with global transactions. His leadership is marked by a deep commitment to innovation and client-centricity, shaping the digital transformation strategies of leading financial institutions. As the Head of EMEA Digital Channels and Connectivity at J.P. Morgan Payments, Mario leads a team dedicated to revolutionizing the digital banking experience. Under his guidance, forward-thinking initiatives empower clients to navigate global payment complexities seamlessly. Mario’s strategic vision and wealth of knowledge continue to set new benchmarks for innovation and client satisfaction in the digital banking landscape. Meeting Every Need J.P. Morgan Payments exemplifies reliability and innovation in the bustling world of global finance. With a comprehensive suite of services spanning treasury, trade, cards, and merchant solutions, they empower clients to transact seamlessly across borders in over 120 currencies. Mario encapsulates their ethos, stating, “We’re dedicated to meeting clients wherever they are on their digital journey.” At the core of J.P. Morgan Payments lies the Digital Channels and Connectivity team, a force driving digital transformation. Tasked with delivering a holistic digital experience, they ensure clients can effortlessly manage their business and working capital in the growing global economy. Mario emphasizes their commitment, affirming, “Our mission is to provide an end-to-end digital experience.” This team oversees a spectrum of channels and solutions within the Payments realm, from portals to APIs catering to diverse client needs and preferences. “We strive to offer progressive experiences,” Mario notes. Their offerings extend beyond conventional interfaces embracing machine-to-machine connectivity and embedded solutions seamlessly integrating with client ecosystems. Mario highlights their versatility, stating, “We enable clients to choose the channel or interface that suits their payment needs and platform architecture.” In a world shaped by digital dynamics, J.P. Morgan Payments and its Digital Channels and Connectivity team remain steadfast in their commitment to facilitating seamless, secure and progressive payment experiences for all. Investing in the Future A staggering $12 billion annual investment in technology ensures J.P. Morgan stays at the forefront of practical solutions employing agile methodologies to meet evolving client needs. Mario states, “We prioritize meeting clients where they are now and preparing them for the path ahead.” Collaboration with the Digital Experience Design team ensures a user-centric focus in all client interactions. By actively incorporating client feedback, they continuously refine and enhance the omnichannel experience. Mario highlights, “We strive to provide a seamless omnichannel interaction for our clients.” Furthermore, partnerships with FinTechs and Third- Party Providers enrich their offerings with cutting-edge solutions. Mario stresses the importance of shared expertise, noting, “Collaboration allows us to embed innovative solutions into our digital banking offerings.” Achieving Unity Through Communication J.P. Morgan Payments stands as a global leader seamlessly blending worldwide reach with local
  • 13. expertise to support clients in scaling and innovating strategically. Mario highlights the significance of this balance, stating, “Our core global platforms ensure a unified experience with locally relevant solutions.” Navigating cross-border payments and regulatory intricacies is simplified through the collaboration of treasury and payments experts worldwide. Mario emphasizes their role, noting, “Clients can more easily navigate complexities no matter where they’re transacting.” Central to fostering collaboration is the clear articulation and alignment of strategy with organizational goals. Mario underscores that defining and communicating objectives ensures a unified approach. Leadership plays a pivotal role in modeling collaborative behavior and incorporating diverse perspectives into decision-making processes. Mario stresses the importance of this inclusive approach, We actively utilize client feedback to identify opportunities for improvement to provide a seamless omnichannel interaction for our clients.
  • 14. noting that representatives from different regions are involved in ensuring diverse perspectives. Open communication channels further reinforce collaboration. Regular group meetings facilitate idea exchange and serve as a platform to recognize and celebrate achievements fostering unity among team members. Mario highlights this, stating, “Regular meetings facilitate collaboration and provide a forum to acknowledge achievements.” The Pillars of Success In the Digital Banking landscape, J.P. Morgan Payments adheres to core principles that guide decision-making ensuring a seamless experience for clients. As the leaders at J.P. Morgan Payments, Mario emphasizes their commitment to client-centricity, stating, “We’re dedicated to meeting and exceeding our clients’ expectations.” Key principles driving decision-making include: Ÿ Client-Centricity: The Digital Channels & Connectivity team serves as the primary interface for clients striving to enhance their end-to-end experience. Mario underscores the importance of incorporating client feedback into decision-making processes ensuring alignment with evolving digital banking needs. Ÿ Talent Development: The team comprises diverse talent from apprentices to seasoned leaders essential for meeting clients’ digital needs. Mario highlights the significance of a skilled, diverse and adaptable workforce for long-term success. Ÿ Strategic Adaptability: A culture of continuous learning and innovation enables the team to anticipate and respond effectively to digital banking’s dynamic landscape. Mario stresses the importance of making decisions that enhance market offerings, stating, “We must adapt to emerging
  • 15. opportunities and challenges.” Ÿ Agile Leadership: Implementing agile frameworks fosters collaboration and flexibility enabling J.P. Morgan Payments to thrive amidst regulatory changes. Mario emphasizes the importance of agility, stating, “Agile frameworks are essential for keeping up with the everchanging dynamics of digital banking.” J.P. Morgan Payments remains at the forefront of digital banking by adhering to these core principles while delivering innovative solutions and exceptional client experiences. Unlocking Future Cash Flow It comes as no surprise that artificial intelligence and machine learning are playing an increasingly indispensable role in today’s society. This will inevitably develop into AI-powered cash forecasting tools, which will help treasurers unveil inconspicuous patterns and trends, thereby enabling them to better forecast and manage their future cash flows. Embracing this technological leap, Mario aims to incorporate AI advancements into more products, enhancing client service. Mario emphasizes their commitment to innovation, stating, “This is just the tip of the iceberg for us, as we continue to work towards incorporating this exciting development into more of our products to better service our clients.” Beyond treasury, automation driven by customer experience and real-time data is on the rise. APIs serve as the catalyst for this transformation pulling vital information and enhancing experiences across various sectors. Mario underscores the versatility of APIs, noting, “They unite customization and transparency with security and control.” In parallel, blockchain technology, particularly programmable payments promise significant advancements. Mario highlights the benefits of programmable payments, stating, “They enable advanced automation of treasury functions and streamline workflows.” Leveraging this technology, finance and treasury teams can optimize liquidity and execute settlements in real time even across borders. As J.P. Morgan Payments embraces these technological strides under Mario’s leadership, they remain committed to enhancing client experiences and optimizing processes through innovation and adaptability. Diverse Teams, Innovative Solutions At J.P. Morgan, innovation is incorporated into everything they do. Mario emphasizes their commitment, stating, “Our approach to innovation is central to every solution we build.” A diverse team serves as the bedrock for fostering an innovative mindset ensuring fresh perspectives and creative solutions. Mario highlights, “We take great care in hiring and maintaining a diverse team that provides the basis for fostering an innovative mindset.” Collaboration with FinTechs and partners keeps J.P. Morgan ahead of the payments curve, enabling them to anticipate and adapt to industry shifts. Co-creating with clients allows for the development of tailored solutions that align with their digital transformation journey. This agile approach facilitates the delivery of innovative solutions while obtaining immediate feedback for continuous improvement. Mario shares, “With this approach, we are able to deliver innovative solutions on an agile methodology and obtain immediate ongoing feedback to iterate and improve.” We prioritize risk management, regulatory considerations and data security while staying ahead with innovative solutions.
  • 16. Anticipating and Adapting “At J.P. Morgan, we excel in both anticipating and adapting to risk,” says Mario. “We prioritize risk management, regulatory considerations and data security while staying ahead with innovative solutions.” Leveraging global expertise, they protect clients throughout the payment lifecycle and offer solutions at the forefront of emerging technology. Renowned as a trusted innovator, J.P. Morgan ensures clients are equipped to navigate challenges while seizing opportunities in the ever-evolving financial landscape. The Next Frontier “As we look forward, APIs will emerge as standalone channels,” explains Mario. He highlights the importance of seamless integrations enabling real-time access to data and insights. Prioritizing scalable and flexible APIs with simple integration endpoints is crucial as transaction volumes rise. In the realm of AI and machine learning, J.P. Morgan leverages proprietary platforms to enhance cash flow forecasting. Mario emphasizes the significance of machine learning in identifying subtle patterns, stating, “Machine learning models will uncover idiosyncratic patterns for our clients.” Blockchain remains a key player in delivering transformative opportunities for financial services. Mario accentuates the ongoing potential of blockchain technology highlighting its role in shaping the future of finance. As J.P. Morgan continues to innovate, they remain committed to harnessing the power of these emerging technologies to benefit their clients and stay ahead in the rapidly evolving financial landscape. J.P. Morgan's AI-powered cash forecasting tools will help treasurers unveil inconspicuous patterns and trends, thereby enabling them to better forecast and manage their future cash flows.
  • 17.
  • 18. Dr. Lar a Yarovaya Dr. Lar a Yarovaya Dr. Lar a Yarovaya Innovating for a Sustainable Digital Banking Ecosystem Dr Larisa Yarovaya Associate Professor of Finance and Director of Centre for Digital Finance Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, UK www.ciolook.com |April 2024 | 16
  • 19. I n 2018, a new chapter unfolded in the Department of Banking and Finance at Southampton Business School when Dr. Larisa Yarovaya stepped into her role at the Department of Banking and Finance. Taking charge with vigor, Dr. Yarovaya swiftly delved into curriculum development while taking up the leadership role at the Centre for Digital Finance. Since then, she has spearheaded numerous collaborative research projects within the digital finance domain resulting in the publication of over 70 articles in esteemed peer- reviewed journals. Dr. Yarovaya's contributions extend beyond academia. Her global recognition is evidenced by her inclusion in Stanford's top 2% Global Scientists list and her accumulated over 9,000 citations. Her work has been featured in prominent media outlets such as BBC, MarketWatch, Financial Times, CBC, Euronews, and Bloomberg. Moreover, she has shared her expertise on platforms like CNBC's series on 'Ethereum' and 'Stablecoins.’ Among her proudest achievements is the establishment of the inaugural Cryptocurrency Research Conference in 2018, which has evolved into the premier annual academic event in this niche. Its success culminated in the recent 6th edition hosted at the International University of Monaco in 2023 fostering international collaboration and innovation in the field. Digital banking represents a captivating frontier within decentralized finance and Dr. Yarovaya has been at the forefront of this discourse. Her involvement in significant events like the FT Global Banking Summit, where she facilitated a masterclass on CBDCs, underlines her commitment to fostering invaluable exchanges with industry leaders and peers. Reflecting on her journey, Dr. Yarovaya is immensely grateful for the enriching collaborations and encounters that have shaped her trajectory in this dynamic field. She recognizes the collective efforts of passionate individuals who continue to drive meaningful progress and eagerly anticipates the future advancements that lie ahead. As the Associate Professor of Finance and Director of the Centre for Digital Finance at Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, UK, Dr. Yarovaya is stepping up the pace of innovation in Digital Banking and Finance. Protecting Consumers “As the Director of the Centre for Digital Finance,” says Dr. Yarovaya, “my journey into a leadership role in digital banking has been driven by a passion for making scientific advancements accessible to a broader audience and maximizing the impact of research on society.” In her role, she emphasizes bridging the gap between academia, industry, policymakers, and global media fostering collaborations to push the frontier of digital banking research. Dr. Yarovaya acknowledges that navigating a traditionally male-dominated field like Fintech, Banking and Finance has presented challenges. However, she sees these challenges as opportunities to inspire and support female colleagues encouraging them to strive for success and fostering a supportive community. Initially, Dr. Yarovaya viewed the DeFi industry as a challenging landscape, akin to the Wild West, with a lack of transparency and integrity among players. However, her perspective has evolved over time. She notes a positive shift within the industry, marked by increased transparency among leaders. This transformation, she believes, is due in part to the efforts of regulators and media outlets prioritizing unbiased opinions from academic scholars grounded in scientific results. This shift towards transparency, not only benefits industry players but also serves to protect consumers. It enables the identification and support of honest participants contributing to the establishment of a more efficient global regulatory framework. Dr. Yarovaya firmly believes this change is crucial for the continued development of the digital banking sector fostering an environment that is accountable, secure and conducive to sustainable growth. Innovative Insights In her current role, Dr. Yarovaya strategically drives innovation and digital transformation in the banking sector through four key priorities. Firstly, she emphasizes championing Fintech literacy by overseeing a comprehensive rebranding of global Finance educational offerings resulting in the successful launch of the BS Finance and Financial Technology program. Secondly, she prioritizes consumer protection through www.ciolook.com | April 2024 | 17
  • 20. targeted outreach activities, aiming to empower consumers in the digital financial landscape and foster trust. “Third,” Dr. Yarovaya states, “I foster collaboration between industry, policymakers and academia to push regulatory frontiers and create an adaptive regulatory framework.” Lastly, she actively cultivates high-quality global partnerships in research and enterprise positioning the Centre for Digital Finance as a global leader in advancing knowledge and practices in the digital finance domain. These efforts collectively form the foundation for digital transformation. Additional initiatives, such as developing an MBA module on Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency Investments highlight her commitment to providing executives with insights into transformative technologies, further establishing the CDF as a global leader in the field. Striving for Change In fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptation in the dynamic landscape of digital banking, Dr. Yarovaya draws from the rich institutional experience of the University of Southampton, where the Centre for Digital Finance (CDF) is based. Leveraging the university's legacy of pushing scientific frontiers and fostering a culture of learning, she continually challenges herself as a leader to expand beyond her academic expertise. Recently she has taken on the role of Chair of the Athena Swan Self-Assessment team at the Southampton Business School, focusing on creating an inclusive culture and empowering female graduates to excel in fields like finance and fintech. This experience enhances her understanding of cultural nuances and inclusion, contributing to her effectiveness as a leader at the CDF. “Additionally,” she says, “my secondment position as Advocacy Manager in the university's Communication Department provides invaluable opportunities to engage directly with top media outlets and learn how academic expertise can benefit society.” This role strengthens her leadership and research skills by equipping her to navigate the rapid changes in digital banking and decentralized finance while fostering positive cultural shifts within her team and the industry at large. “As a research entity, we are privileged to collaborate with the banking sector while adhering to the regulations and security procedures of Higher Education Institutions.” www.ciolook.com |April 2024 | 18
  • 21. Security, Innovation and Regulation Dr. Yarovaya explains, “As a research entity, we are privileged to collaborate with the banking sector while adhering to the regulations and security procedures of Higher Education Institutions.” Therefore, regulatory uncertainty in decentralized finance indirectly affects us. She adds, “We invest a lot of time and energy in the development of education and research outputs, based on the assumption that blockchain technology and Fintech innovations will continue to thrive in the future.” While they cannot predict the regulatory landscape in the UK and globally, it is crucial to maintain a continuous dialogue with all key stakeholders, stay up- to-date and whenever possible, influence this regulatory landscape. This proactive approach ensures that the Centre for Digital Finance remains adaptable and responsive to changes in regulations, thus enabling ongoing collaboration and innovation in the field. Accessible and Safe For Dr. Yarovaya and her team, a significant motivation driving research outputs is centered around consumer protection. She emphasizes, “I am dedicated to ensuring that our research results are widely accessible and easily understood by diverse audiences.” This commitment forms the core of all the projects in which the Centre for Digital Finance is engaged, emphasizing its dedication to assisting companies in making their products safe and user-friendly for their customers. While there is more work to be done, motivation drives them to continuously prioritize the enhancement of customer experience in the digital banking landscape. The Future Is Now Leveraging emerging technologies, such as AI and blockchain comes naturally to Dr. Yarovaya as a blockchain expert. However, she acknowledges, “I recognize that the benefits may not always be apparent to businesses who may be more focused on the potential of AI alone, overlooking the strategic advantages of integrating these two technologies.” “I am confident,” Dr. Yarovaya states, “that this oversight will be promptly addressed.” At the Centre for Digital Finance (CDF), she explains, “We strive to anticipate future trends and as part of this initiative, we are launching several projects that combine the capabilities of AI with the security and transparency offered by blockchain.” Their goal to drive positive changes in the digital banking — and fintech landscape, emphasizing the synergies between these cutting-edge technologies. Sustaining Excellence “We do not face direct exposure to any risks stemming from digital banking ourselves,” Dr. Yarovaya clarifies, “rather, we are conducting research in this area to benefit the community and our partners.” She acknowledges the distinctive nature of my leadership role, steering a transformative path within academia. To sustain a competitive edge for the research Centre, they consistently prioritize innovation infusing a multidisciplinary approach and expertise into its research endeavors. Their strategy, she explains, “revolves around placing a strong emphasis on the quality of our work and nurturing enduring relationships in all partnerships we establish.” To her, “these elements constitute the cornerstone of our ongoing success.” With this commitment to excellence and collaboration, the Centre for Digital Finance remains poised to continue making significant contributions to the field of digital banking and finance. www.ciolook.com | April 2024 | 19
  • 22. Transforming Banking through Technology Transforming Banking through Technology n the modern world, few industries have undergone Ias significant a transformation as banking. Historically rooted in traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, banking has swiftly evolved into a digital powerhouse, reshaping the way financial services are delivered and experienced. This metamorphosis, driven by technological advancements, has revolutionized every aspect of banking, from customer interactions to back-end operations, ushering in an era of unparalleled convenience, efficiency, and innovation. From Traditional to Digital The journey of banking from its traditional roots to its digital iteration is marked by several key milestones. Initially, banking services were confined to physical branches, where customers conducted transactions face-to-face with tellers and relied heavily on paper- based documentation. While this model served its purpose for decades, it was inherently limited by geographical constraints and operating hours, often causing inconvenience for customers. The advent of electronic banking in the latter half of the 20th century laid the groundwork for a gradual shift towards digitization. Automated teller machines (ATMs) emerged as a pioneering technology, allowing customers to perform basic transactions such as withdrawals and deposits outside of banking hours. Additionally, the introduction of online banking in the 1990s provided customers with the convenience of managing their accounts and conducting transactions remotely through internet-enabled devices. However, it was the widespread adoption of smartphones and the rise of mobile banking applications in the 21st century that truly catalyzed the digital revolution in banking. With the proliferation of smartphones and the ubiquity of internet connectivity, customers gained unprecedented access to banking services anytime, anywhere, directly from their mobile devices. This shift not only transformed the way customers interacted with their banks but also paved the way for a myriad of innovative financial products and services. The Digital Advantage One of the primary drivers behind the digital transformation of banking is the relentless pursuit of enhancing the customer experience. Digital banking channels offer unparalleled convenience and flexibility, empowering customers to manage their finances on their own terms. Whether it's checking account balances, transferring funds, paying bills, or applying for loans, customers can now perform a wide range of banking activities with just a few taps on their smartphones. Moreover, digital banking platforms leverage advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to personalize the customer experience. By analyzing transaction data and user behavior, banks can offer targeted product recommendations, personalized financial advice, and proactive fraud detection, thereby fostering deeper engagement and trust with their customers. The integration of digital channels with emerging technologies like biometrics and facial recognition has revolutionized authentication and security in banking. Biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition, offer a more secure and convenient alternative to traditional password-based authentication, mitigating the risk of unauthorized access and identity theft. Empowering Financial Inclusion The digital revolution in banking has also played a pivotal role in promoting financial inclusion by reaching www.ciolook.com |April 2024 | 20
  • 24. underserved and unbanked populations. In many parts of the world, traditional banking infrastructure is scarce or inaccessible, leaving millions of people without access to basic financial services. However, the widespread adoption of mobile technology has bridged this gap, enabling financial institutions to extend their services to previously underserved communities. Mobile banking applications and digital payment platforms have emerged as powerful tools for financial inclusion, providing individuals with access to essential banking services such as savings accounts, payment transfers, and microloans through their mobile devices. Additionally, the digitization of government disbursements and social welfare programs has facilitated direct cash transfers to beneficiaries, eliminating intermediaries and reducing leakages in the system. Blockchain technology, with its decentralized and transparent ledger system, holds immense potential for transforming financial services in developing countries. By leveraging blockchain-based solutions, financial institutions can offer secure and cost-effective alternatives to traditional banking systems, thereby empowering individuals and businesses in underserved regions to participate in the global economy. Optimizing Operational Efficiency Beyond enhancing the customer experience, the digital revolution in banking has also revolutionized back-end operations, driving unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity. Automation technologies, such as robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive computing, have enabled banks to streamline routine tasks and processes, reducing operational costs and human errors. For example, RPA bots can automate repetitive tasks such as data entry, account reconciliation, and compliance reporting, freeing up human resources to focus on more strategic initiatives. Similarly, cognitive computing systems can analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns, detect anomalies, and generate actionable insights, empowering banks to make informed decisions in real time. Furthermore, the adoption of cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions has transformed the way banks manage their IT infrastructure and applications. By migrating to cloud-based platforms, banks can scale their operations more efficiently, reduce infrastructure costs, and accelerate the deployment of new digital services. Additionally, cloud- based analytics tools enable banks to harness the power of big data and predictive analytics to gain deeper insights into customer behavior and market trends. Navigating Regulatory Challenges While the digital revolution in banking offers immense opportunities for innovation and growth, it also presents a host of regulatory challenges and security concerns. As banks increasingly rely on digital channels to deliver services and interact with customers, they must navigate a complex landscape of regulatory requirements and compliance standards to ensure the security and integrity of their operations. Stringent regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) impose strict requirements on banks to protect customer data and maintain the privacy of sensitive information. Moreover, the emergence of new technologies such as cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance (DeFi) poses novel regulatory challenges, requiring banks to adapt their compliance frameworks to address emerging risks and vulnerabilities. The threat landscape in banking has evolved dramatically in the digital age, with cyberattacks becoming increasingly sophisticated and widespread. Banks must invest in robust cybersecurity measures, including encryption, multi-factor authentication, and intrusion detection systems, to safeguard against cyber threats and protect customer assets. Embracing Innovation and Collaboration Ultimately, the digital revolution in banking is not just about embracing new technologies—it's about reimagining the future of finance and empowering individuals and businesses to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and digital world. By harnessing the transformative power of technology, banks can unlock new opportunities for financial inclusion, operational efficiency, and customer engagement, ushering in a new era of banking that is truly digital, inclusive, and resilient. www.ciolook.com |April 2024 | 22
  • 25. With digital banking, the world becomes your bank, and banking becomes a seamless part of everyday life.
  • 26. Vid Hribar Building Value through Blockchain and Partnerships in the Banking Industry he rise of digital banking isn’t just reshaping Tindividual financial interactions it’s also — revolutionizing how businesses collaborate and compete. This digital upheaval acts as a powerful catalyst, propelling strategic partnerships and ecosystems forward. Amidst this transformative era, individuals like Vid Hribar emerge as pioneers, leading the charge with innovative strategies in the digital banking sphere. Vid’s journey into the realm of digital banking traces back to his college days, a time when his interest in banking transcended the confines of his law studies. Exploring the intersection of law and finance, Vid delved into the vibrant world of fintech, eager to uncover the new horizons it offered. His journey took a decisive turn during an internship at a regional bank, where he embarked on a dynamic rotation through various departments each month for a year. This immersive experience proved invaluable, providing Vid with a multifaceted understanding of banking operations and fostering vital connections across different domains. Such diverse exposure stands as a cornerstone in Vid’s approach, recognizing the pressing need for seamless customer experiences in the digital age. With customers increasingly drawing parallels between banking services and those offered by tech giants like Amazon or Netflix, Vid understands the imperative of delivering an end-to-end journey that exceeds expectations. This entails collaborative efforts with colleagues from diverse areas within the bank, ensuring a cohesive and customer-centric approach to digital banking solutions. Vid, a member of the Blockchain Hub (Strategic Partnerships & Ecosystems department) at Raiffeisen Bank International AG embodies a commitment to innovation and collaboration in the pursuit of elevating the digital banking experience. Lessons Learned When Vid joined the Blockchain Hub, the aim was clear to drive change and make a meaningful impact. “I — wanted to introduce various blockchain applications to transform the bank,” Vid recalls. But the journey wasn’t without its hurdles, teaching valuable lessons along the way. One such lesson came during the NFT craze. “Many suggested exploring NFTs without a clear idea of what we could do,” Vid explains. Undeterred, they embarked on a research project with tech-savvy students. “We identified potential areas, but none showed sustainable business potential upon closer examination.” This experience underscored the importance of a well- thought-out approach amidst industry hype. Another lesson learned was about timing. “Sometimes you’re just a bit ahead of the curve,” Vid reflects. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) holds immense promise, but it’s still early days in terms of technology, regulation and adoption. While DeFi could revolutionize traditional banking, acknowledging that it will take time to fully develop is crucial. These lessons have not only shaped Vid’s approach but also the trajectory of blockchain initiatives at the bank. Tech Trend Radar In Vid’s current role, driving innovation and digital transformation in the banking sector is paramount within the Group Strategy and Innovation department. “We initiated a Tech Trend Radar a few years ago to identify the most relevant technology trends for our banking group annually,” Vid explains. With a plethora of trends, they prioritize and assess only the top ones. These chosen trends become focal points for seeking experimentation opportunities and establishing partnerships with startups. www.ciolook.com |April 2024 | 24
  • 27. It’s impera ve for us to understand these dynamics, avoiding impulsive adop on and instead determining the right ming for experimenta on and implementa on.” “ Vid Hribar Blockchain Hub (Strategic Partnerships & Ecosystems) Raiffeisen Bank Interna onal AG www.ciolook.com | April 2024 | 25
  • 28. Collaboration plays a pivotal role in this process, with experiments conducted alongside relevant stakeholders such as business lines, compliance and IT colleagues. “Our ultimate objective is to empower our colleagues to experiment in relevant areas,” Vid emphasizes. As products mature, the aim is to seamlessly integrate them into business lines ensuring a smooth transition and implementation of innovative solutions. This systematic and collaborative approach aligns with the overarching strategy to remain at the forefront of technological innovation in the banking sector. The Power of Sharing Vid asserts that cultivating a culture of continuous learning and innovation in the dynamic digital banking landscape is vital. “Personally, my curiosity and eagerness to learn more drive this culture,” Vid continues, emphasizing the importance of extending interests beyond the financial industry to recognize the interconnectedness of various domains. To foster continuous learning, it’s also important to share this curiosity and innovative mindset. Recently, Vid served as a coach in an Innovation School program for Raiffeisen Bank International’s employees. “During this experience, I had the opportunity to pass on my insights and motivation to my colleagues,” Vid shares proudly. Vid trusts them to further propagate this mindset within their group contributing to the development of an innovative culture that allows them to stay ahead in the rapidly changing landscape of digital banking. Collaborative Innovation Vid stresses the early involvement of colleagues in new projects as essential, allowing them to shape the direction and contribute to successful outcomes. Balancing innovation and digitalization with security and regulatory compliance is crucial in banking. “Each project undergoes strict checks to ensure both security and compliance,” Vid emphasizes, highlighting the importance of these measures in building and maintaining customer trust, a key strength for banks compared to fintech companies. www.ciolook.com |April 2024 | 26
  • 29. Despite the initial challenges, these requirements are essential for the long term. “We took considerable time to assemble a team with the right expertise from various areas,” Vid explains. Initially, there were discussions explaining and clarifying misconceptions, but over time, the dialogue shifted from ‘there is no way’ to a more collaborative approach like ‘let’s find a way together,’ Vid elaborates. Ahead of the Curve “Customer-centricity is a key aspect of our approach to digital banking in my department,” Vid explains. “We deal with new technologies by identifying, prioritizing, evaluating them, and providing recommendations. When we come across interesting use cases, we conduct pilot projects to test our ideas,” Vid adds while elaborating. Despite the focus on different technologies, Vid has learned the importance of not taking a technology-first approach, the hard way as he admits. “Initially, we spent a lot of time explaining technical aspects like blockchain. However, we shifted our approach to be more customer- centric, addressing customer pain points first and then exploring various technology solutions,” Vid reflects. This approach has proven more successful for them. However, decision-making isn’t black and white. “While customer-centricity guides us, we also consider strategic decisions. For example, if we believe banks should have the future-ready infrastructure, we may start building it even if the current customer demand doesn’t justify the initial investment,” Vid explains. Balancing customer needs with strategic considerations is crucial for decision- making. Tomorrow’s Banking Experience Utilizing emerging technologies like AI and blockchain to elevate the digital banking experience is a strategic journey that Vid and his team navigate with a thoughtful approach. Typically, new technologies begin with high expectations, often followed by a reality check leading to more practical applications and integration, as illustrated by the Gartner hype cycle. “It’s imperative for us to understand these dynamics, avoiding impulsive adoption and instead determining the right timing for experimentation and implementation,” Vid emphasizes. “Our exploration of blockchain started over five years ago, evolving from knowledge-sharing and experimentation to a more mature phase,” Vid recalls. “Currently, we have a well-defined blockchain strategy and concrete product ideas showcasing substantial progress in our approach,” Vid adds. Regarding AI, it has already found its place in many processes within the bank. However, the advent of ChatGPT and generative AI provided a significant boost. Recognizing the heightened interest from stakeholders, they initiated a strategy analysis which was well-received. This became the catalyst for various projects implementing generative AI throughout the bank. Vid points out, importantly, it’s crucial to understand that AI and blockchain are not in competition rather, — they address different challenges and are poised to coexist in the future. Blockchain primarily revolves around data storage and management, while AI, particularly generative AI plays a pivotal role in enhancing the overall user experience, exemplifying a harmonious integration of diverse technological solutions in the digital banking landscape. Building Ecosystems In Vid’s role, navigating the competitive landscape involves staying informed about industry developments and keeping a close eye on the strategies employed by other banks and competitors. However, the approach is somewhat distinct when it comes to blockchain. Given its decentralized nature, the addition of more participants, including other banks, enhances the overall value of the network. “Therefore, we adopt a unique perspective, focusing on building ecosystems, as reflected in the name of our department,” Vid concludes, highlighting steering through the competition in the sector and maintaining sustained success. www.ciolook.com | April 2024 | 27
  • 31. How Digital Banking is Reshaping the Financial Landscape I n recent years, the financial industry has undergone a seismic shift driven by technological innovation. Traditional banking models, once rooted in physical branches and face-to-face interactions, are rapidly being replaced by digital alternatives that offer unprecedented convenience, accessibility, and efficiency. This digital revolution in banking is not just about leveraging technology to streamline processes—it's about breaking boundaries and redefining the way individuals and businesses interact with financial services. The Rise of Digital Banking Digital banking represents a paradigm shift in the way financial services are delivered and consumed. Unlike traditional banking models that rely on brick-and-mortar branches and paper-based transactions, digital banking leverages technology to provide seamless, 24/7 access to a wide range of financial products and services through online and mobile channels. The proliferation of smartphones, coupled with advancements in internet connectivity and mobile technology, has fueled the rapid adoption of digital banking around the world. Today, consumers expect instant access to their accounts, real-time transactions, and personalized financial insights—all of which are made possible through digital banking platforms. Convenience Redefined One of the most significant benefits of digital banking is the unparalleled convenience it offers to consumers. With digital banking platforms, customers can manage their finances anytime, anywhere, without the need to visit a physical branch. Whether it's checking account balances, transferring funds, paying bills, or applying for loans, all of these tasks can be completed with just a few taps on a smartphone or clicks on a computer. Moreover, digital banking eliminates many of the traditional barriers to accessing financial services, such as geographical www.ciolook.com | April 2024 | 29
  • 32. distance and operating hours. This level of accessibility is particularly beneficial for individuals living in remote areas or those with busy lifestyles who may not have the time or means to visit a bank branch during regular business hours. Empowering Financial Wellness Another key aspect of digital banking is its ability to personalize the customer experience and provide valuable insights into financial behavior. By leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence, digital banking platforms can analyze customer transactions and behavior to offer personalized product recommendations, financial advice, and budgeting tools. For example, digital banking apps can categorize spending habits, identify areas for potential savings, and provide alerts for upcoming bills or unusual account activity. This level of personalized guidance empowers consumers to make informed financial decisions and improve their overall financial wellness. Fostering Financial Inclusion Digital banking also has the potential to address the issue of financial exclusion by reaching underserved and unbanked populations. In many parts of the world, traditional banking infrastructure is limited or inaccessible, leaving millions of people without access to basic financial services. However, the widespread adoption of mobile technology has bridged this gap, enabling financial institutions to extend their services to previously underserved communities. Mobile banking apps and digital payment platforms have emerged as powerful tools for financial inclusion, providing individuals with access to essential banking services such as savings accounts, payment transfers, and microloans through their mobile devices. Additionally, digital remittance services enable migrants and expatriates to send money to their families back home quickly and securely, reducing reliance on costly and inefficient traditional remittance channels. Mitigating Risks in the Digital Age Despite the many benefits of digital banking, security, and trust remain paramount concerns for both consumers and financial institutions. With the rise of cyber threats and data breaches, ensuring the security and integrity of digital banking platforms is essential to maintaining customer trust and confidence. Financial institutions invest heavily in cybersecurity measures, such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and fraud detection systems, to protect customer data and prevent unauthorized access to accounts. Additionally, regulatory bodies impose stringent compliance requirements on financial institutions to safeguard customer information and maintain the privacy of sensitive data. Driving the Future of Banking As the digital banking landscape continues to evolve, collaboration and innovation will be key drivers of future growth and success. Financial institutions must embrace emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and digital identity verification to stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving needs of customers. Moreover, collaboration between banks, fintech startups, and regulatory authorities is essential to driving innovation and addressing shared challenges in the digital banking ecosystem. By working together, stakeholders can leverage their respective strengths and resources to develop innovative solutions that benefit consumers and promote financial inclusion. Conclusion Digital banking is reshaping the financial landscape by breaking boundaries and redefining the way individuals and businesses access financial services. With its emphasis on convenience, personalization, and inclusivity, digital banking offers unparalleled opportunities for financial empowerment and growth. As we embrace the digital future of banking, it's essential to prioritize security, trust, and collaboration to ensure that digital banking remains a safe, reliable, and accessible option for consumers around the world. By harnessing the transformative power of technology and innovation, we can create a more inclusive and prosperous financial ecosystem that benefits everyone. www.ciolook.com |April 2024 | 30
  • 33. Digital banking is not just about providing convenience for customers; it's about staying relevant in an increasingly digital world.
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  • 35. Digital banking is not a trend; it's the future of banking.