'Digital transformation vital for future growth'

MANAMA: Digital transformation is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, a leading Bahrain-based expert has said.

“Banks that are agile, flexible and willing to transform their business models will be the ones that succeed, and secure their financial strength for future growth,” said KPMG Bahrain financial services partner Mahesh Balasubramanian.

Speaking during a webinar themed, ‘Covid-19: Implications for the GCC banking sector’, he said banks need to start reviewing and planning how to respond to the operational and regulatory challenges while contributing to the economic recovery and growth in the short and medium terms.

The session was organised by KPMG in Middle East and South Asia (MESA) region to provide the banking community in the region an opportunity to gain insights from the KPMG regional panel of experts that included Bhavesh Gandhi, audit partner and head of financial services at KPMG Kuwait; Ravikanth Petluri, audit director at KPMG Oman; Omar Mahmood, audit partner and head of financial services KPMG Qatar; Ovais Shahab, head of financial services at KPMG Saudi Arabia; Abbas Basrai, partner and head of financial services at KPMG UAE, in addition to Mr Balasubramaniam.

The Covid-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on financial markets globally and regionally with implications for operating models, employees, suppliers, customers and in turn financial results.

This coupled with the effects of drop in oil prices, creates a unique set of challenges that banks will inevitably face in the medium term.

Mr Balasubramanian said there has been an increasing demand on digital assets rather than the historical preference for ‘in person’ banking.

Offering services and products without branches puts more emphasis on customers’ digital experience and requirements than ever before.

The situation also demands both employees and customer to work from home, which puts further cyber security pressures on banks.

In Bahrain, the government has announced a BD4.3 billion stimulus package to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

This means deferment of payments for loans for six months, revising pricing for new loans for the affected sectors and customers; and cancellation of fees imposed on point of sale and ATM withdrawals, are all additional operational challenges banks needs to prepare for and deal with.

Around 200 senior banking sector officials in the region attended the webinar.

 

Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/824002

 

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