Towards Digital Banking
- Getting into complete digital banking requires more investment, especially in digital security
- 30 percent personal banking activities happened online as people feel it is comfortable
- Fraudulent activities increased during the pandemic shutdown when online banking increased
- Skilled manpower is one of the main challenges for expanding digital banking
Banks need more investment in information technology if they want to provide vibrant digital banking services around the country, said chief executives of the country's top three tech-savvy banks.
"The way banks are getting into the digital arena, they will face more security threats in future. Even fraudulence will be more sophisticated," said Selim RF Hussain, managing director of Brac Bank.
"We observed that in April when we started increasing online banking services to fulfil the demand of our customers amid a shutdown put in place to curb the Covid-19 infection," he said.
"Fraud and forgery increased drastically at that time," Selim said at a webinar recently arranged by The Business Standard.
He suggested that banks invest more keeping the security aspect in mind as the banking sector is moving into digital banking.
Mashrur Arefin, managing director of the City Bank, said, "Board members of our bank are very much cordial to adopt the highly expensive IT solutions. They understand the need for change during the pandemic."
Arfan Ali, president and managing director of Bank Asia, said, "Still banks' digital operation is very much human centric. But when banks will move to a complete artificial intelligence-based solution, investment also has to be increased.
"In Bangladesh, everyone is feeling shaky when the question of investment in the IT sector arises. But nowadays banks' directors are very much cooperative in this issue."
Selim RF Hussain said, "In our country, there is no digital banking. We are just using Internet banking or app-based banking. Digital banking is a complete digitisation of all banking channels.
"In abroad, we have seen some digital banks, which have no branch and you cannot meet any banker in person. Bangladesh is far away from such digital banking and it is not needed now in the context of our environment."
The Brac Bank MD said, "It is a great achievement that during the pandemic, people are coming forward to use digital platforms to purchase essential commodities and are making payment digitally.
"Not only banking, the working pattern is also changing. I am thinking that I will not need to go to the office in future and, by working from home, I am far more productive during 10am and 11pm six days a week. Most of my colleagues are doing the same."
As per the statements of the participants of the webinar, they are observing to increase the trend of using branchless banking.
Arfan Ali said, "Amid the pandemic, we saw that there is a change in mentality of the people. They are not much interested in coming to banks. So, banks are now trying to digitise personal banking services. We believe more changes will come in future."
He said, amid the pandemic, 30 percent personal banking activities turned into digital transactions as people feel it is comfortable.
Executive Editor of The Business Standard Sharier Khan moderated the webinar.
In response to a question by the moderator, Brac Bank MD Selim RF Hussain said, "There is a challenge that whether we have the required skilled manpower to expand digital banking in future. Hardware is very much expensive.
"Another big challenge is to strategise what banks want to do over the next three or four years in digitisation. If a bank adopts technology haphazardly, then it will not bring about a good result."