Banking and FinTech: What’s at stake?

Oct 23, 2016 – By Omnia Elnosairy, Vice President Business Development at Barclays Bank Egypt

“Change is the only constant”: The banking sector is by no mean an exception to this rule. Ergo, banks have realized that change would happen with or without them on board of the upcoming wave. Ergo, banks are taking bold step to engage with emerging innovations in the FinTech field. Effectively, many banks have started to create new businesses within their existing structures that adapt and collaborate to meet these challenges and make a more efficient use of their enduring source of competitive advantage—customer insight.

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Omnia Elnosairy, Vice President Business Development at Barclays Bank Egypt

The rapid change in customer behaviour, led by technology innovation, mobility, big data, social networks and more, is forcing financial service organizations to rethink their strategies and transform the way they do business.  Many industries have been disrupted by a wave of innovation, often by non-traditional players – players from outside the industry. This has caused customer expectations to change at a pace that is even faster than the innovations introduced. And again, banking is not different. It was back in the early 90s when Bill Gates said: “Banking is necessary… banks are not”. Rightfully said, this is mandating banks to refresh their offerings if they want to lead, not to mention, stay in business.

By nature, the banking industry is strictly governed by a set of robust policies and procedures. The benefits of such governance is with no doubt huge and have helped keep in the industry intact over the most turbulent times. However, it has imposed a lot of limitation on creativity and innovation from within the industry. Banks have discovered the necessity of deploying “open innovation” to tap into an infinite source for promising opportunities and disruptive ideas that will swing the needle for them. The concept is central in innovation management and an increasing number of banks understand what is at stake. Yet, many others are imbalanced as they are very good at handling the demands of today’s businesses, but not so successful in being creative and reinventing themselves over the long term. They must not only be innovative to continue growth or attenuate growth slowdown in existing businesses, but also explore areas they can turn into high growth business opportunities in the future.

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1864 Accelerator FinTech Hackathon at the GrEEK Campus

Today, every bank should look at innovations that help dramatically impact their financial and non-financial indicators, such as: increasing customer base and improving cross-sell ratios as well as enhancing their reputation and their net promoting scores. That, while delivering a much better customer experience to customers through savings, a much better and faster experience as well as customized and personalized services. 1864 Accelerator powered Flat6labs and Barclays Bank Egypt is the perfect example embodying the banking sector’s commitment to invest in FinTech. Effectively, 1864 Accelerator connects the best expertise in both fields, the innovative and the financial services, to breed a new generation of FinTech startups that caters to the increasing demand for tech-oriented financial services.

Investing in innovation is crucial: If we assume the investments are available and there is a decision to direct them towards developing innovative solutions that deliver true value to customers, deciding on where to direct the investment can be tricky. None of us is good as all of us, banks have the financial expertise but they surely need to plug into the FinTech ecosystem to build solid partnerships with ace players in the technology arena. The partnerships should look at leveraging the strengths of those players, such as: tech savvy human resources and speed of developing breakthrough solutions. The objective is to form a collaborative platform that allows constant product and service development that meet the constantly changing customer needs and lifestyles.

Omnia Elnosairy

Vice President, Business Development

Barclays Bank Egypt

About the author:
Omnia Elnosairy is Vice President for Business Development at Barclays Bank Egypt; a role she assumed since October 2015 to lead on aspects of the strategic transformation of the organization.

She drives establishing and managing a sustainable “Open Innovation” framework that harnesses opportunities aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the bank in light of the rapidly changing financial services industry.

In her capacity, she is a fundamental part of the leadership team driving Barclays Bank Egypt’s innovation agenda where she designed and activated an operating model governing and driving the innovation framework across the organisation.

She actively contributes to driving business growth through scoping and implementing strategic innovation initiatives in support of the bank’s strategy, business priorities and objectives. Her role revolves around providing primary support for the origination of activities through identifying, assessing and delivering key partnership (or other inorganic) opportunities and other disruptive innovation engagements.

Omnia has been with Barclays since 2004, where she has assumed various senior leadership roles driving Corporate Communications, Citizenship and Public Affairs.