The demand in the market today is for the right talent, whether it’s for business, technology or some of the niche skills around AI or analytics
Banks are going to face a major challenge in finding talent for meeting their digital ambitions. While banks are putting more money in digital than branches and have the resources to invest in technology, they are finding it difficult to hire the right people.
According to Sonali Kulkarni, lead for financial services at Accenture in India, banks have emerged stronger with better liquidity and bad loans under control. They have also learnt to deal with uncertainty and operate with staff working from home. But, whether it is technology, customer behaviour and expectation or fin-techs unbundling their value chain, they now face change at an unprecedented velocity.
“The demand in the market today is for the right talent, whether it’s for business, technology or some of the niche skills around AI or analytics. How do banks attract the best talent given that there are more than enough fin-techs competing for them and banks are not seen as a home for these skills?” said Kulkarni.
While some banks have chosen to outsource, they would still need some technical skills to understand which way these technologies are going and manage the changes. “A lot of banks have recently made public statements around wanting to be a technology company in the business of financial services. Given that focus and ambition, it can’t be just left to consultants”, said Kulkarni.
To enable employees to have the right conversations with customers, either around selling or resolving some of the more complex queries, banks will need to reskill existing them besides hiring talent in technology.
The interim alternative for banks is to enter into collaborations with fintechs and leverage their capabilities. Moving to cloud-based architecture will also address some issues around scalability or infrastructure. “But I don’t think that will necessarily be a silver bullet”, said Kulkarni.
Besides reskilling, a cultural change is required to embrace the new wave of disruption, improving the technology quotient of different segments of employees and moving to a more data-driven culture. “You may want to tie up or do collaborations with fin-techs in the shorter term. But on a longer-term basis, lending is a core business. So, banks have to upgrade their lending systems and make them nimble so that they can do the same thing on their own as well”.
According to Kulkarni, the other disruptive trends that 2022 will see includes the account aggregator model being operationalized. Also, the introduction of a data protection law would require banks to decide how they use external data. “The use cases for API technology have just exploded right across and not just in the retail or the payments but also wholesale, commercial and small and medium enterprises”, she said.
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