An interview with Mr Aijaz Ahmed Shalla, AGM(ICT), i&M Bank, Kenya

Written by: Fleming. Team

1. How do you see East African banking 5 years from now?

The current Banking sector events such as tightening regulation, interest rate capping and liquidity imbalances are affecting the banking industry with impact on investment attractiveness of the sector. This, along with the competitive, low cost, low margin environment will force banks to differentiate based on a client focused strategy. To tide the wave, Banks are expected to focus on (1) operational and cultural transformation (2) increased investment in digital transformation and innovation (3) smart partnerships with market disruptors.

2. In your opinion, how can digital transformation and innovation in banking help in achieving a competitive edge?

Digital Transformation and innovation is far beyond just moving from traditional banking to a digital world. It is a vital change in how banks and other financial institutions learn about, interact with and satisfy customers. An efficacious Digital Transformation begins with an understanding of customer behavior, preferences, choices, likes, dislikes, stated as well as unstated needs, aspirations etc. And this transformation leads to the major changes in the organizations, from product-centric to customer-centric view. Digital transformation will help banks to design the products and services in line with customers’ needs for every niche segment.

3. In your opinion, which innovations and disruptions will make a mark in the coming years in regards with the banking sector?
There is lot in the offing for banking sector from technology perspective that is likely to change the way banking business is conducted. The tools and techniques of Predictive Analysis, Block Chain Technology, Robotic automations in Banking Operations, Neural Networks and artificial intelligence are the key technology focus areas that are likely to take Banking to next level.

4. In addition to implementation of new technology what measures and strategies should the banks develop to be well guarded against limitations of security and risk?
Though putting in place the state of the art security devices and applications is very critical to safeguarding against external and internal threats, the other equally important measures are the risk awareness, policies and procedures. Risk awareness amongst staff and the clients’ needs to be a prime strategic initiative as risk is all pervasive. Besides, conducting risk assessments through multiple external partners needs to be built in the strategy document.

5. How do you think this conference will benefit the participants?
As the theme of the conference goes “EAST AFRICA, FUTURE BANKING SUMMIT”, we are expected to have an insight into future of banking especially from technology innovations impact and security perspectives. Such forums always add value to the knowledge base of the participants vis-à-vis the latest developments in the banking space and also bridging the gap between industry players.