Technology needs to address privacy and security in banking: Experts

Kochi, Mar 23: With new age technologies making phenomenal inroads in the functioning of banks, the banking sector would be required to address the issues of privacy and security in an effective manner, experts said here today.

Participating in a panel discussion on the topic “The Digital Future of Banking, Finance and Retail” at Kerala’s first-ever two-day Global Digital Summit, #FUTURE, which concluded at Le Meridien this evening, they said there must be technologies to manage these concerns which are vital for the robustness of the banking system.

“The concept of branch is changing and branches may become extinct in future. Banking will exist in its new form, but branches may disappear as physical existence of the branch may not be in need,” said Mr. Shyam Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, Federal Bank.

Ms. Gita Gopinath, Professor of International Studies and Economics, Harvard University, said when the ATMs were introduced in the US in the 1980s, there were concerns that it would lead to loss of employment in the banking sector.

“But 20-25 years later, there was actually an increase in jobs in the sector because with the advent of ATMs it became cheaper to run branches and so there was 50 per cent increase of branches in the US,” she told the panel session, which was moderated by Ms Shereen Bhan, Managing Editor, CNBC-TV18.        

Initiatives must be made to educate people so that they become adaptive to the technological changes, she said.

Ms Gopinath, who is also the financial adviser to the Kerala Chief Minister, emphatically stated that automation has its positive side too. 

Ms. Gayathri Parthasarathy , head of financial services, KPMG India, said automation would open up new job opportunities, but the skill sets required may vary the ones that are currently in practice.  

Mr. B.G. Srinivas, Group Managing Director and Executive Director, PCCW, said the concept of bank branch should change. “Why can't banks think of a branch at a coffee house where youngsters spend several hours?''

Mr. Rajesh Rege, MD, Red Hat India, pointed out that industry after industry is facing challenges in the face of emergence of new technologies. “Cyber security and data security will be a major concern,” he remarked.

Referring to cyber security, Rajesh Nair, Member of the High Power IT Committee (HPIC) of the Kerala Govt, was of the opinion that Blockchain may have brought certain innovations, but it was not a time to say that this technology is an answer for all the issues.

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