In a bid to ward off threats from telecommunication companies in the future, Sri Lanka’s second biggest private lender, Hatton National Bank PLC (HNB), has created a new role inside the bank, a top bank official said. HNB said it is seeing the rising challenges from the telecommunication companies infiltrating into the space traditionally dominated by banks.
Telecommunication firms have come into the banking space, particularly the payments side of the business, leveraging the smartphone technology and Internet.
This has, to some extent, threatened some of the traditional businesses by the banks, which earlier could not have been carried without their direct involvement.
HNB Chairman Rienzie Arseceleratne cited the entry of non-bank players such as telecommunication companies into the banking space as a potential challenge in his annual review to the shareholders.
Hence, HNB has created a new position titled chief digital officer (CDO), probably the first in the industry, to drive the bank’s digital agenda across the entire value chain as a proactive measure to find common ground with the digital transformation that is rapidly taking place.
The emergence of fintech innovations such as mobile-only stock trading apps, peer-to-peer lending sites, mobile banking, digital wallets, financial advisory and robo-advisor sites and all-in-one money management tools have upended the way the people transact and bank. Those who work in fintech argue that they work together with banks than becoming a threat to them, which is beneficial to both parties as well as the customer. HNB will launch its first digital branch early 2018, HNB CEO Jonathan Alles said in his annual review.
“Digitalisation as we know is breaking down boundaries and becoming the foundation for entirely new ways of doing business as well as creating new business,” Alles added.