Interview with Vimal Kumar

What has been your personal takeaway from the experience of the COVID19 crisis in terms of its effect on business operations and re-strategizing the new way forward?

The ability to quickly adapt in an uncertain environment is the first thing that comes to mind. The onset of the pandemic has forced us to be more agile, enable productivity from segregated workplaces and is accelerating our digital transformation. It was important in that we were already on a path to building the new Absa DX, as being in lockdown pressure tested the digital strategies that we had implemented.

According to you what are the emerging technologies or innovations that you think will become crucial in the financial sector, keeping in mind the current global situation?

Digital is transforming the way we in which banks operate.  Artificial Intelligence; Big Data and Predictive analytics; Collaborating with Fintechs; Digital account opening, cloud computing, distributed ledger technology and onboarding; and onset of challenger banks; – these are just some of the new technologies that are coming our way, especially given the pandemic and how it has restricted face to face contact.

How ready is the region in adapting to the change in operations and how are government bodies assisting in the implementation of the changes?

Regulators have been very receptive to the changes that banks have been proposing to combat the effects of the pandemic. Reduced branch banking hours; implementation of payment holiday options; low touch/low contact payment models and working from home models have been established across our business. From a bank’s perspective, we have been ready with accelerating our Digital strategies and changing the ways in which we operate.

AI and Robotics, Blockchain, Data Science, Digital Engagement and CRM, Financial Inclusions – Which area has noted most promising adaptation in terms of innovation and digital integration? Why?
There isn’t really just one of these that has dominated the scene. In fact they all work well if they are used in collaboration. I would not want to rank order then as they are no firmly embedded in our go to strategy especially during these uncertain and challenging times.

How would you think attendees will benefit by attending Africa Bank 4.0 Summit?

I think that attendees would benefit from listening to how banks have reacted to the pandemic. It helps when you get insight from someone that you would normally not have access to.

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