According to a recent report by Deloitte, banks in the Middle East and around the world have been racing to keep up with ever-evolving technological developments. Additionally, COVID-19 has intensified the trend. The report finds that the Middle East financial services industry was developing at a calculated pace prior to COVID-19, guided by changing consumer preferences, intensified competition from incumbents and new entrants, evolving rules, and technological advances.
COVID-19 upended certain conventions in a matter of weeks. Khaled Hilmi, Consulting Partner, ME Financial Services industry chief, Deloitte Middle East, said as the danger and uncertainty from COVID-19 would remain for the near future, banks have little option but to be hyper-vigilant. Likewise, they have to rewrite their business continuity playbooks as circumstances shift.
In order to meet growing consumer demands to stay competitive in today’s demanding market climate, the financial services industry is rapidly moving towards digitization and embracing new technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI).
AI is now becoming part of the market climate, reinventing the banking sector’s entire ecosystem. The technology facilitates decision-making, enhances customer experience, and improves operational performance by increasing the level of automation and using dynamic systems. AI also offers strategic oversight to get value from data, which is now needed more than ever because of the flow of data from a wide variety of sources.
“While it is reassuring to see some aggressive fiscal and monetary policy responses around the world already, clarity on how these actions will stabilize markets and accelerate the path to normalcy is slowly emerging, and in some cases yet to emerge”, said Hilmi.
The study said banks need to understand the immediate needs of their consumers actively. At the same time, the multiple implications of close, short, and medium-term operational, financial, and regulatory risk and enforcement.
“Banks that have embraced today’s technologies may be better placed to weather this crisis and facilitate a quick return to recovery. Now more than ever, the accelerated adoption of these technologies can enable the industry to recover and thrive from the impact of COVID-19,” concludes Hilmi.