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Bridging the skills gap – the growing importance of IT & digital talent in banking transformations

Whether cloud, artificial intelligence, usability, mobile, agile development, embedded banking, ... we are only at the beginning of the digital transformation of the banking industry. Although we are now more than 8 billion people, there is still a lack of IT & digital talent in many regions of the world, especially in banks. Today, the best IT & digital talents do not work in banks, but at companies from Silicon Valley, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Apple. As a result, banks must make significant efforts to bridge the gaps and to attract, train & develop and retain relevant talent.

1 Attract the right talent


Banks undergoing transformation require new skill sets and competencies, which do not exist to the needed extend within the current workforce. For banks it is paramount to first identify the needed IT & digital skills and then to attract the right talent. These skills include technical skills like software engineering, data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity as well as business acumen. IT & digital talent must also understand the business side of banking. A deep knowledge of products, processes and services, customer behavior, market trends, and regulatory compliance is required. A bank should also look for digital management skills like agile development when hiring. 

Founded in 1920 the Egyptian bank Banque Misr serves more than 13 million clients in Egypt and has more than 20,000 employees. Banque Misr started a digital transformation in 2017 to improve customer experience and expand its market share. The bank invested in recruiting top talent in the areas of digital. According to a KPMG report Banque Misr has seen significant growth in its digital banking operations since the implementation of its digital transformation strategy, with online and mobile banking transactions increasing by over 100% in 2020, alone.

Largely government owned Bank Rakyat Indonesia is one the largest banks in Indonesia with about 30 million retail clients, more than 100,000 employees and 4,000 branches. The bank transformed its business towards a more agile and collaborative work culture. Talent acquisition strategy involved hiring employees with experience in agile methodologies and digital transformation to drive the bank's transformation. Bank Rakyat Indonesia's agile transformation resulted in an increase in productivity by 20% and a decrease in project delivery time by 40%. The bank also launched new digital products, such as its mobile banking app, to better serve its customers.

2 Training & development never stops


Besides hiring new talent training & development programs can help bridge the gap by providing employees with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their roles.

IT & digital talent must develop its leadership & communication skills. This includes the ability to communicate complex technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, collaborate with cross-functional teams, and lead change management initiatives. With the pace of technological change accelerating, IT & digital talent in the banking industry need to constantly upskill and reskill themselves to keep up. And banks need support the continuous learning needs by providing access to training and development opportunities via workshops, conferences, online courses and university & business school co-operations.

Fidelity Bank is a universal bank in Ghana that operates across 73 Branches and 115 ATMs across the countrywith more than 2,000 employees. As part of the bank’s digitization expansion, the Fidelity Bank has opened four digital-bank branches with e-lounges at Osu, KNUST (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology), Labone and East Legon. In 2019 the bank implemented a transformational change program known as the 'Project Leapfrog' to enhance operational efficiency, customer service delivery, and market position. As part of the program, the bank implemented several initiatives to improve employee skills, knowledge, and competencies, including training and development programs. And two years later, in 2021, the bank launched the Fidelity Banking Academy, a new capacity-building program to provide regular, holistic training and competency upskilling for staff of the bank. The initiative, being implemented in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Bankers Ghana, would elevate standards in the Ghanaian banking industry with respect to technical skills, and essential non-technical skills such as management and interpersonal skills. Fidelity Bank Ghana reported a significant improvement in employee performance and productivity as a result of the Training & Development programs. The bank's staff retention rate improved from 75% in 2019 to 84% in 2020, indicating that employees were more satisfied and engaged with the bank's work environment. The bank also reported a 25% increase in customer deposits in 2020, indicating an improvement in customer service delivery.

3 Retain talent


During a bank's transformation, it is crucial to retain employees who possess the necessary expertise to drive the change. Retaining talent ensures that the bank can continue to tap into the knowledge and experience of its existing workforce and avoid any loss of institutional knowledge. Flexibility, work-life balance and clear career paths help.

Access Bank Botswana (former: BancABC Botswana) transformed from a small regional bank to a leading financial institution and the fifth largest bank in Botswana. Talent retention played a crucial role in Access Bank's transformation as the bank focused on creating a culture of learning, growth, and development for its employees. A tangible achievement is the decrease of the staff turnover rate from 19% in 2018 to 9% in 2020. And Access Bank was named the Best Bank to Work for in Botswana by the African Business Magazine in 2020.

The Nigerian bank Guaranty Trust Holding Company PLC also known as GTCO PLC is a multinational financial services group, that offers retail and investment banking, pension management, asset management and payments services and is headquartered in Victoria Island, Lagos. The bank serves over 24 million customers across 10 African countries and has more than 10,000 employees. GTCO PLC developed a culture of continuous learning which aimed to improve the capabilities of its workforce and to develop future leaders. These programs were designed to provide employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their roles effectively and meet the evolving needs of the organization. According to the GTCO PLC's 2020 annual report, the programs had a significant impact on the bank's performance, like the development of future leaders from within the organization, with 70% of management positions filled internally.

Links / References

Access Bank Botswana,

Bank Rakyat Indonesia,

Banque Misr,

Fidelity Bank Ghana,

Guaranty Trust Holding,


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Published in talent, banking, transformation, digital,  Bridging-the-skills-gap on 20.03.2023 20:46 Uhr. 0 commentsComment here

3 key strategies how APIs support the digital transformation of a bank

In general Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) can play a key role in enabling banks to become more competitive and customer-centric, while also reducing costs and improving their bottom line. Essentially there are three strategies how API support the digital transformation of a bank.

1 Better Partnership Banking


APIs enable banks to open up their products and services to their partners. Making use of APIs banking products and services can be seamlessly integrated into the business processes of the partners and, as a result, customer experiences can be significantly improved.


For example, by implementing APIs, BBVA was able to integrate its products and services into partner businesses, resulting in a 20% revenue growth. These partners, especially new FinTechs, had better access to financial information, which allowed them to build better services. Recently, companies like nerdwallet, Spreedly, Cardlytics, Automated Financial Systems, Execupay and Mx technologies have partnered up with BBVA. 


By opening up its APIs to third-party developers, Barclays was able to integrate its services with partner businesses and significantly improve customer experiences. 


Banks like Barclays also benefit from the adoption of open banking through APIs. Beyond the standard free offerings required by compliance with European Union’s PSD2 regulation, banks can provide Premium APIs. This direct monetisation provides a lower risk and higher returns. 


As of the end of 2022 Q4, there were 246 regulated third-party providers in the UK. They all make more than a billion API calls every month. 



2 Higher competitiveness through innovation


APIs allow banks to open up their systems and data to third-party developers, enabling the development of new financial products and services. This helps banks continue to innovate and to stay ahead of the competition. Good examples are developer platforms of Capital One and HSBC.


Capital One has launched a developer platform that offers third-party developers APIs, allowing them to integrate Capital One services into their applications. This has resulted in the creation of new financial products and services.  An example of these products is the Digital Auto Financing Credit Application, which allows customers to launch a credit application entirely online. 


Also, HSBC launched a global developer portal. This portal provides access to APIs for third-party developers to integrate HSBC services into their applications, creating new financial products and services. 


Reports in the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) showed that more than 6.5 million users actively use open banking-backer products in the UK. These products provide end users (individuals and small businesses) with innovative services to support money management.



3 Increased Efficiency


By automating processes and reducing manual intervention, APIs can help banks increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.


By implementing APIs, Wells Fargo was able to automate many of its manual processes and reduce operational costs. Processes such as fraud detection, payments, and data services are well integrated into the API gateways of the bank.


By using APIs to automate its processes, Bank of America was able to reduce its costs and improve the efficiency of its operations.  For example, the bank was able to expand its cashPro payment API to give choices of over 350 payment types to customers. 





By applying the three strategies APIs can play a crucial role in transforming a bank.





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Published in api, banking, transformation, apibanking, openbanking, 3-key-strategies-how-APIs-support-the-digital-transformation-of-a-bank  on 23.02.2023 19:35 Uhr. 0 commentsComment here

6 themes members of the board of directors should know about the crypto currency & blockchain industry 

The cryptocurrency and blockchain industry has the potential to change the way we think about money, ownership, and trust. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology can enable faster, cheaper, and more secure transactions, and have applications beyond just digital currencies, like ICOs, STOs and NFTs to name a few. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain tokens have a current market cap of about $1 trillion. This is about 1% of global money. We can assume that there are more than 1 billion blockchain transactions performed over the last years, alone 400 million Ethereum transaction in 2022.  Also in 2022 bitcoin handled over $8 trillion worth of transactions. Already in 2015 the World Economic Forum predicted that by 2027 about 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP) is stored on blockchain technology. Currently it looks like that we are on track. While the crypto currency & blockchain industry is still at infant stage it is the right time for members of the board of directors to understand some themes in more detail before they impact a company’s business model. It is recommended to learn about the potential disruption, new business opportunities, basic concepts & technologies, relevant laws & regulation, potential risks and the dynamics of an early industry.

1. Potential disruption of several industries 

There are several industries that are potentially disrupted by cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. Members of the board of directors should observe the following industries and look for signs of disruption.

Supply chain management: Blockchain technology can enable increased transparency and security in supply chain management, allowing for more efficient tracking of goods and materials.

Real estate: Blockchain technology can be used to create a more efficient and transparent system for buying and selling property, as well as for tracking and managing property ownership.

Healthcare: Blockchain technology can be used to securely store and share medical records, as well as to facilitate more efficient and secure communication between healthcare providers.

Gaming & entertainment: Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology can be used to enable new forms of digital ownership and monetization of in-game assets.

Retail: Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology can be used to enable secure and transparent transactions between retailers and customers, as well as to improve supply chain management and inventory tracking.

Financial services: Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology have the potential to disrupt traditional financial services by providing a more inclusive and accessible way for individuals and businesses to access financial services, such as banking and payments.

2. New business opportunities

Cryptocurrencies & blockchain technologies have the potential to enable a wide range of new business opportunities. Some of the most relevant examples include:

Supply Chain Management: Blockchain can be used to create transparent and tamper-proof records of transactions in supply chain management, allowing for increased trust and efficiency.

Digital Identity: Blockchain can be used to create secure and decentralized digital identities, allowing for greater privacy and control over personal information.

Gaming: Blockchain can be used to create decentralized and transparent in-game economies, allowing for true ownership of virtual assets.

Tokenization: Blockchain can be used to tokenize assets such as real estate, art, and other collectibles, making it possible to buy and sell fractions of these assets.

Payment: The use of cryptocurrency as a form of payment enables faster and cheaper transactions, especially cross-border transactions.

Crowdfunding: Blockchain can be used to create decentralized crowdfunding platforms, allowing for more transparent and efficient fundraising for projects.

Internet of Things: Blockchain technology can be used to create secure and decentralized networks for the Internet of Things (IoT), allowing for greater trust and control over the exchange of data.

Decentralized finance (DeFi): Blockchain technology can be used to create decentralized financial services, such as lending and borrowing platforms, that operate independently of traditional financial institutions.

3. Basic concepts & technologies

It is recommended to introduce the basic concepts and technologies behind cryptocurrencies and blockchain to the members of the board of directors. Decentralization, immutability, transparency, cryptography, smart contracts, distributed ledger, limited supply, anonymity, borderless and digital are the most central ones.

Decentralization: Blockchain technologies and respective cryptocurrencies are decentralized, meaning they are not controlled by any single entity or organization. Crypto currencies are not controlled by any central authority such as a government or central bank. This allows for increased autonomy and control for users over their own funds.

Immutability: Once a transaction is added to a block and the block is added to the blockchain, the information in that block cannot be altered. This ensures the integrity and immutability of the data and crypto currency transactions stored on the blockchain.

Transparency: Blockchain technology allows for increased transparency by providing a public, tamper-proof record of all crypto currency transactions.

Cryptography: Blockchain and crypto currencies use cryptography to secure and protect transactions, making it a secure technology for storing and sharing sensitive information. This also ensures the integrity and security of crypto currencies.

Smart Contracts: Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code. These contracts can be stored and replicated on the blockchain network. 

Distributed Ledger: A distributed ledger is a database that is spread across a network of computers. Each copy of the database is identical and is updated simultaneously.

Limited supply: The total supply of most cryptocurrencies is limited, meaning that there is a maximum number of units that can be created. This can help to prevent inflation and ensure the value of the currency remains stable.

Anonymity: Cryptocurrencies can provide a high level of anonymity for users, as transactions are recorded using a public key rather than a name or personal information.

Borderless: Cryptocurrencies can be sent and received from anywhere in the world, and the transaction can be done almost instantaneously, regardless of geographical boundaries.

Digital: Blockchain & cryptocurrencies exist only in digital form and are stored and transferred electronically.

4. Relevant laws & regulations

Members of the board of directors should consider a number of laws and regulations related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain when developing their policies and procedures. It is important to note that the laws and regulations surrounding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology vary by jurisdiction. However some of the most relevant laws are AML, KYC, taxation, securities, GDPR and smart contracts regulations:

Anti-money laundering (AML) laws: These laws aim to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities such as money laundering and terrorist financing.

Know-your-customer (KYC) regulations: These regulations require cryptocurrency exchanges and other companies to verify the identity of their customers.

Taxation laws: Different countries have different tax laws for cryptocurrencies, and it is important for individuals and businesses to comply with these laws to avoid penalties.

Securities laws: Some jurisdictions consider certain cryptocurrencies to be securities, and they are subject to securities laws and regulations.

Data privacy laws: As blockchain technology is used for storing data, it is important for companies to comply with data privacy laws such as the 

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.

Smart contracts regulations: Smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code, also fall under scrutiny and regulations.

Given that the crypto & blockchain industry is still at early stage the surrounding laws and regulations are constantly evolving and it is essential to stay informed of updates and changes in order to comply with them.

5. Potential risks

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology can bring several potential risks to a company.

Security risks: Cryptocurrencies and blockchain transactions are vulnerable to hacking, fraud, and other types of cyber attacks, which can lead to financial losses for the company.

Compliance risks: Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are still largely unregulated, and companies may not be fully aware of the legal and compliance requirements related to their use.

Volatility risks: The value of cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile, which can lead to significant financial losses for a company if they are holding a significant amount of cryptocurrency assets.

Operational risks: Implementing and using blockchain technology can be complex and may require significant resources and expertise, which can lead to operational challenges and disruptions for a company.

Reputational risks: Companies that are associated with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology may be perceived as risky or untrustworthy by some customers, investors, and partners.

6. Dynamics of the early industry

The early cryptocurrency and blockchain industry sometimes feel like Wild West and has several key dynamics that members of the board of directors should be aware of.

High volatility in prices, as the market is still relatively new and uncertain. 

A high degree of speculation, as many investors buy cryptocurrencies in the hopes of making a quick profit.

A lack of regulation, which has led to a Wild West atmosphere and a lack of protection for investors.

Innovation and experimentation, as many companies and individuals are working to find new use cases for blockchain technology.

Heavy competition, as there are many different cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects vying for market share.

High growth potential, as the technology is still in its early stages and has the potential to disrupt a wide range of industries.

High speed of technological changes with new crypto currencies and different blockchain versions coming up every now and then.

Finally,  it's worth noting that while the crypto-currencies and blockchain industry is still in its early stages, regulations and institutional involvement have been increasing which may change the dynamics of the industry. 


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Published in crypto, cryptocurrency, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, technology, BoD,  6-themes-members-of-the-board-of-directors-should-know-about-the-crypto-currency-&-blockchain-industry  on 25.01.2023 17:48 Uhr. 0 commentsComment here

8 key considerations for Board of Directors on Artificial Intelligence in Banking

Summary: There are several key considerations for boards of directors when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) in the banking industry. Eight of the most important ones include integrated into business strategy, established governance and oversight, well-trained talent & skills, legal & regulatory compliance, data privacy, ethical considerations, risk management and transparency.

1) Business strategy: Boards should consider how AI can be used to support the bank's business strategy and goals, and how it can be integrated into existing processes and systems, like customer service chatbots, fraud detection, credit risk assessment or personalized service offering

2) Governance and oversight: Banking Boards should establish clear governance structures and processes to oversee the development and deployment of AI, including defining roles and responsibilities, setting performance metrics, and establishing risk management procedures. Given the dynamics of AI and the need for constant calibration and validation of AI models boards need to establish a frequent model oversight process.  

3) Talent and skills: AI requires specialized skills and knowledge, and boards should ensure that the bank has the necessary talent and resources trained in both banking and AI to develop and implement AI initiatives.

4) Legal and regulatory compliance: It is important for the board to ensure that the use of AI in the banking industry complies with all relevant laws and regulations. This includes data protection laws, consumer protection laws, digital operational resilience act, and any other laws that may be relevant to the use of AI in the banking industry.

5) Data and data privacy: The use of AI in the banking industry often involves the collection and processing of large amounts of sensitive data. The board should consider how this data is collected, stored, and used, and ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect the privacy of customers and other stakeholders. All AI models are dependent on high quality data. There is the risk of garbage in, garbage out. Therefore, boards must provide framework conditions that ensure robust and high data quality.

6) Ethical considerations: The use of AI in the banking industry can raise ethical concerns, such as the potential for bias in decision-making or the impact on employment. The board should consider these ethical concerns and ensure that the use of AI is consistent with the values and mission of the organization.

7) Risk management: The use of AI can introduce new risks to the banking industry, such as the risk of biased decision-making or the risk of data breaches. The board should consider these risks and ensure that appropriate measures are in place to mitigate them.

8) Transparency: It is important for the board to be transparent about the use of AI in the banking industry and to ensure that customers and other stakeholders are informed about how AI is being used. This may include providing information about how decisions are made and what data is being collected and used.

Finally, AI training for board members is recommended to make them knowledgable about the concepts, methods, needs, challenges and risks.

Published in board, boardofdirectors, governance, AI, artificialintelligence,  8-key-considerations-for-Board-of-Directors-on-Artificial-Intelligence-in-Banking  on 31.12.2022 11:16 Uhr. 0 commentsComment here

The four seasons of cryptocurrencies

Summary:  In the past few weeks, reports about the end of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have increased. It looks like that the history of crypto currency market capitalization can be divided into 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Following the last two cycles, one would now expect a fifth crypto winter lasting many months with a minimum market capitalization of USD 200 billion. But this time the upcoming crypto winter 2021 could be short-lived. 

It's that time again. In the past few days and weeks, reports about the end of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have increased. - Now for the fifth time - after June 2011 (cycle 1), April 2013 (cycle 2), December 2013 (cycle 3) and January 2018 (cycle 4).

The following perspectives and thoughts on the past two cycles (3 and 4) and the current fifth cycle:

Obviously, the course of the market capitalization of the fledgling cryptocurrency and blockchain industry repeats itself. Since the media repeatedly talk about the crypto winter, I ask myself several questions:

  • Are there also the crypto seasons spring, summer and autumn?
  • If so, how do they differ and how long do they last?

One try. What can be observed:

Cycle 3 - 2.5 years from May 2013 to Dec 2016
  • The six-month crypto spring May to Oct 2013 showed a stable market capitalization of USD 2.5 billion
  • In the only two-month crypto summer Oct / Nov 2013, the market capitalization quadrupled from USD 2.5 billion to more than USD 10 billion
  • In the two-month crypto fall Dec 2013 / Jan 2014, market capitalization peaked at USD 15 billion, which was six times the crypto spring.
  • The market capitalization of USD 5 billion in the following almost two-year crypto winter 2014/2015 fell to a third of the high of USD 15 billion in the crypto autumn 2013/2014
  • The market capitalization in the crypto winter 2014/2015 was at least USD 5 billion, roughly twice as high as the market capitalization in the crypto spring 2013.
  • In December 2015, market capitalization was back to just under USD 7 billion.

Cycle 4 - 2.25 years from Jan 2017 to March 2019

  • As part of the fourth cycle, a four-month spring can be observed. The 4th spring started with a market capitalization of more than USD 17 billion in Jan 2017 and in May 2017 it already had a fivefold increase in market capitalization with more than USD 90 billion.
  • The six-month summer that followed drove market capitalization as high as USD 650 billion from June 2017 to Dec 2017
  • And at the beginning of the crypto fall (Jan-May 2018) of the 4th cycle, the market capitalization reached more than USD 800 billion in Jan 2018.
  • This was followed by another, now the fourth, crypto winter, which started in June 2018 and after about eight months in Jan 2019 saw market capitalization shrink to USD 100 billion, 1/8 of the high a year earlier.
  • Despite this decline, even in the crypto winter of the fourth cycle, market capitalization remained constant above USD 100 billion and thus well above the market capitalization of spring

Cycle 5 - April 2020 to today

  • We are now in the 5th cycle, which started around April 2020 with a market capitalization of USD 180 billion.
  • In the nine-month spring (April to Dec 2020), a market capitalization of over USD 500 was already achieved in Dec 2020
  • The summer of the fifth cycle can be estimated over a four-month period from Jan to April 2021. At the end of the summer, market capitalization topped USD 2,200 billion for the first time.
  • And in May 2021, market capitalization hit its preliminary high of more than USD 2,500 billion.
  • Since May 2021 we have been in the autumn of the fifth cycle from my point of view.
  • A decline in market capitalization to USD 1,500 billion in May / June 2021 suggests that the fifth crypto winter is imminent


Following the last two cycles, one would now expect a fifth crypto winter lasting many months with a minimum market capitalization of USD 200 billion.

But the upcoming crypto winter 2021 could be short-lived this time, because many framework conditions have developed significantly in the last few cycles and the next generation of private and commercial users is in the starting blocks. The maturity level of crypto projects, products, coins and tokens is also increasingly broader and deeper.

The global, financial framework conditions also show signs of change. Whether new FinTech attackers, large platforms or the unbelievably large amounts of new money from the central banks in recent months - traditional banks, financial service providers and FIAT currencies are in a state of upheaval, not least due to negative interest rates and expected inflation.

This opens up the opportunity for cryptocurrencies to establish themselves as digital currencies for a digitized world.

And the steadily increasing wallet and transaction numbers support this thinking.

Published in cryptocurrency, The-four-seasons-of-cryptocurrencies  on 07.06.2021 12:42 Uhr. 0 commentsComment here

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