Financial technology start-ups (FinTechs) are transforming the financial services industry globally and many banks are embracing this platform in order to work out at more innovative solutions. The trend is now catching on in Pakistan.
Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan’s largest bank announces a big push into branchless banking, investments in technology infrastructure towards FinTech.
Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan held their FinTech challenge with the objective. HBL launched their ‘Innovation Challenge’ to find potential start-ups to bring in new and efficient financial solutions and ideas to their financial system to promote financial inclusion in Pakistan.
Aurangzeb CEO of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan appeared to be turning the matter completely, that for a bank to survive in the 21st century consumer financial market, they must come to an end to think of banking as the core service and instead assume that technology will drive consumer behavior and decisions far more than financial products will. We have to start thinking that we’re an IT company with a banking license.
HBL FinTech challenge was based on five themes for which the bank required solutions. These included customer authentication, data protection, automation, artificial intelligence and regulatory reporting.
It was open to anyone (teams or individuals) who could bring in ideas and help the bank achieve the aim of “becoming the bank of the future” – which will have rationalized operations, improved service and customized product offerings for each customer’s unique needs.
The market appears to be responding favorably to Habib Bank’s pivot toward technology. Technology transformation in mainstream processes would assist the bank’s expansion and provide HBL with an edge over its peers.
HBL bank legacy infrastructure is not going to be easy to transform. Habib Bank has the largest branch network in the country, with more than 1,700 physical locations nationwide. Much of this infrastructure was inherited by the bank from the days when it was a state-owned entity making massive politically-motivated loans at the request of senior government officials and politicians and not investing at all in its infrastructure.
Even though FinTechs maybe at a growing stage in Pakistan, there is immense potential for their growth given the high percentage of the unbanked population and relatively weak consumer banking due to geographically limited services.
FinTechs can enhance linkages with financial institutions and obtain the much-needed funding they require for their own growth and innovation. FinTechs can come up with more efficient and flawless branchless banking solutions.