The Stack Archive Interview

Meeting modern demands in banking

Thu 22 Feb 2018 | Jehangir Byramji

How has the online banking sector changed in recent years and what are the trends and benefits experienced by customers? Lloyds Banking Group’s Jehangir Byramji discusses these notable aspects with John Bensalhia

“No industry stands still: yet in recent years there has been an acceleration of change in financial services, including banking and insurance.”

Jehangir Byramji of Lloyds Banking Group is looking ahead to what’s in store for his talk at this year’s Cloud Expo Europe, London. The hastened changes, Jehangir explains, have in part, been brought about by technological change, such as the adoption of enterprise use of cloud computing and analysis techniques like machine learning.

lbg“Another major source has been the explosion of new tech-enabled businesses, which in our industry is known as Fintech. These fintech companies have been jumping on changes in the industry trying to find new ways to meet customer needs. A key enabler has been Open Banking and the European Payment Services Directive, which is creating a common set of standards and capabilities that is fuelling this innovation.”

As a strategist for many years, Jehangir shaped numerous business models in the private and public sectors based on analysis of market and competitor trends, bringing his ability to frame ambiguous and complex problems. “With a recent pivot in my career, I moved into corporate innovation where I take unscoped potential business opportunities and define experiments, like proof of concepts and pilots to learn first-hand, reduce business risk and accelerate speed to market.

I have been a business mentor since 2012 with a particular focus on social enterprises as well as Fintech.”

Jehangir’s current role is to lead Lloyds Banking Group’s engagement with Fintech and early-stage ventures to create potential transformative innovation for the bank.

“We have accelerators that we use to globally scout early-stage fintech companies and bring the best to London for three-month programmes where we offer them mentorship and insight into our client needs to help them develop. We have programmes like RainMaking Colab that we use to constructively work with later stage fintech businesses.”

“However, as the largest UK-focussed retail and commercial bank, we have pretty good traction at directly engaging with relevant fintech initiatives to partner with for piloting and proposition development.”

“To be good at the job, I need to keep both my eyes looking outside the bank as well as both eyes inside, as I need to have an overall view of the external world and internal situations.”


Latest advances

There has been a recent range of enhancements to the services offered to customers in the online banking sector. For example, from last year’s fourth quarter, UK banks gradually began introducing the new cheque clearing system. “To enable our customers to make best use of these changes, Lloyds Banking Group will include an enhanced mobile banking app across our brands that can capture an image of a cheque and submit it securely,” says Jehangir.

Other notable technological introductions last year from Lloyds included simple to use and instant customer support via chatbots. Over the coming months, Jehangir says that Lloyds will be introducing new functions into its online services, like the ability for customers to message their bank, control how and where cards are used, and receive personalised notifications.

With the recent growth in changes in the financial system, a notable one discussed by Jehangir is the way in which customers interact with the banks.

38% of small businesses and 49% of charities lack basic digital skills

“The way our customers interact with us is changing with fewer customers going into branches or calling our contact centres, as they are expecting to be able to service their needs online. We are continuing to invest in areas to enhance our digital offering so we can provide customers with the products and services they want and need.”

“This doesn’t stop at online or mobile; we’re also bringing digital to our branch and telephony centres to allow us to service customers in their channel of choice with the most relevant help to meet their needs. It also means supporting our colleagues and ensuring they have the digital capability to fulfil their jobs.”

Digital literacy

For consumers, Jehangir explains that Lloyds have identified the need to continue to get more people online. “9% of the UK population are offline with 51% saying they aren’t interested in digital. Although 1.1 million more people have gained basic digital skills within a year, there are still 11.5 million that do not have basic digital skills.” Jehangir adds that there are considerable social and economic benefits for consumers, such as the fact that consumers could save on average £444 from cashback and discount websites alone.

“We have identified that many small businesses and charities need to do more to improve their digital skills, as 38% of small businesses and 49% of charities lack basic digital skills,” says Jehangir. “This has huge ramifications for the UK economy as most digital small businesses are twice as likely to report an increase in turnover than the least digital. Likewise, charities that are more digitally mature are 28% more likely to report an increase in funding than those who aren’t.”

“Our Halifax website and mobile app has been accredited by AbilityNet which ensures content is suitable for all users.”

Securing the future of finance

One notable issue for online banks to grapple with is that of security. Last year, 2.9 million UK firms suffered cybersecurity breaches, costing them £29.1 billion. But as the cyber threats continue to evolve for the whole industry, Jehangir says that defences are being updated and tested in a variety of ways which include working with industry bodies and law enforcement agencies.

“We continue to invest heavily in our systems so that we have a cutting-edge IT platform that meets the demands put upon modern banks, including our 25 million customers. This has enabled Lloyds Banking Group to have some of the strongest IT resilience figures across the sector.”

The role of the branch remains important given increasing concerns about cybersecurity and fraud

Looking forward to the future, Jehangir outlines the key digital vision for Lloyds Banking Group customers. “Our vision is to provide the best digital experience for our customers. We want to make it easy for customers to manage their money. Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland services are always driven by customer expectations and demand, and as new technologies are released and adopted, we will continue to test how we can integrate them into our banking services.”

“As customers embrace the convenience of our online channels they are using our branches less and less each year. For example, we know that we now meet the majority of our customers’ needs through digital channels. Counter transactions are also falling around 13% year on year.”

However, despite these trends, Jehangir points out that customers continue to value branches for the expertise and guidance that colleagues can provide when they face a more complex financial decision or situation. “Branches can also play an important role in helping less confident customers get online and for some, the branch provides a failsafe when things go wrong and they need a hand sorting it out.”

“We believe that the role of the branch remains important given increasing concerns about cybersecurity and fraud, and in a post-Open Banking world, branches can be the place where our colleagues can help customers make sense of the choice available to them. It is worth noting that at the end of last year, 90% of our customers were still within five miles of a Lloyds Banking Group branch.”

logo-cloudexpoeuropeJehangir Byramji will be speaking at the forthcoming Cloud Expo Europe which takes place on 21st and 22nd March 2018 at London’s ExCeL Centre. To hear from Jehangir and other IT experts from the world of finance, register today for your FREE ticket.

Experts featured:

Jehangir Byramji

Senior Fintech Lead
Lloyds Banking Group


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