Make the digital agenda a reality, re-skill the workforce says DBS’ David Lynch


As technology threatens to make existing jobs obsolete, the banking Industry needs to look at transforming jobs and re-skilling the workforce substantially, according to David Lynch, Managing Director, Technology and Operations Hong Kong and China at DBS.

In his opening keynote address at The Technology and Innovation – The Future of Banking conference in Hong Kong last week, Lynch drew on figures from an Oxford University study which predicted that over the next decade and beyond, approximately 40 per cent of jobs today in the US economy will become automated because of technology.

Lynch said banks need to bring the digital agenda for banking into a reality, and look beyond not just servicing the customer, but also engaging the staff.

“What we are finding in banking is that no longer young staff want to be engaging with excel spread sheets, it is really important that the data is real time, adaptive, and is visualised in a way that makes people engage with it,” he said.

According to Lynch, personnel will be key to the success of the bank’s digital transformation, “we are in the midst of a complete transformation and retooling of our people, and really getting them ready for the digital era so that they are able to drive this transformation.”

Part of that transformation is the journey to creating an omni-channel experience for the customer, which Lynch highlighted as a priority for most, if not all banks. However, according to Lynch, it is not something that any bank has yet to succeed in creating.

He said the most difficult aspect in succeeding with this will be the move to service-oriented architecture, “The reality is for most banks, there is a lot of legacy, and enabling the back-end to be service oriented and connect seamlessly into the channels so we can innovate very fast on the front-end is a major challenge.”

Part of this journey for DBS is adopting a human-centred design in the delivery of mobile, according to Lynch, “One of the things we came up with recently is a set of design standards, a good example of this is a technology that we call myDBS, which is offering personalised wealth insights to our customers, and that is all based off human centered designs.”

Lynch also drew attention to social media as a banking channel, something which mainland China has been quick to adopt through the WeChat application, saying the rate of adoption is astounding.

“We are also making inroads in there, we do have a presence in WeChat, at the moment it is more marketing oriented but we are very hopeful that some of the advances that some of the Chinese banks have made in terms of using WeChat as an actual execution channel are things that we are going to start to see here in the Hong Kong market as well,” he said.

Lynch has not been the first to use WeChat as an example of where banking may be heading in the future, with Michael Leung, CIO and COO at CITIC International also pointing to WeChat as a banking channel becoming a trend in the banking industry, FST Media reported previously.

Leung said WeChat will become a key channel for banks in the payments space, “A development we are working on using WeChat, which has a unique function called ‘bundle.’ You bundle a number of accounts or credit cards to the WeChat account, and with that the customer does not have to login to mobile banking anymore, it is already pre-bundled.”