Well played SWIFT. And another record breaking Sibos with more than 8,000 attendees, notwithstanding the best efforts of Ripple via its Swell-The Future is here bash to capture the headlines.
Sibos was topped and tailed with two big hitters: Dave McKay of Royal Bank of Canada and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Ripple countered with Ben Bernanke.
Given the choice of hearing Dave McKay or Ben Bernanke pocketing a no-doubt generous cheque from Ripple, EPI chose to attend Sibos.
Highlights included the eight banks that formed the we.trade platform including new member Santander discussing their roadmap for full deployment of the platform including the addition of new member banks.
Tim Berners-Lee shamelessly plugged the World Wide Web Consortium’s efforts to streamline online checkout via standardised APIs. This will enable users to register payment instruments and select the right payment type via the browser, making payments, especially from mobiles, easier to manage.
IBM announced its blockchain solution to clear and settle cross-border payments was gathering speed and said that pilots were underway with the first transactions now flowing,
An impressive list of banks including BBVA, NAB, Toronto Dominion, Sumitomo Mitsui, Mizuho and RCBC Philippines has already signed up.
The potential offered by greater collaboration between fintech start-ups and established banks was arguably the key takeaway of Sibos.
For practical examples of such collaboration, Swift could not have chosen better than McKay to give the opening keynote. He referenced RBC’s work with Wave to integrate invoicing, accounting, and business financial insights technology into RBC’s online banking platform.
In addition, he flagged up RBCs work with Personetics to deliver services that provide AI-powered financial guidance and an automated savings programme via RBC’s mobile app.
As for blockchain, security and compliance were the key themes with another big hitter, Blythe Masters arguing predictably that blockchain offered the potential to minimise the risk of fraud.
Meantime, before by all accounts a gathering of a few hundred, Bernanke told the Ripple event that he believes payments can be slow and expensive and that there was room for improvement.
But no doubt he was good value and well worth his large cheque.
Remote deposit finally hits the UK
Better late than never. As EPI November goes to press, the UK is finally set to introduce a phased roll-out of remote cheque deposit.
And about time too.
The technology works. It is not a novelty. First introduced by USAA Bank in the US in 2009, remote cheque imaging works well in a number of markets including the US and Canada.
I can recall chairing a roundtable on the subject with NCR and Barclays years ago, perhaps as long ago as 2012.
One immediate benefit will be a reduction in cheque clearance times. Instead of the four to six days clearance of old, cheque processing times will be reduced to one working day.
At best, to be realistic, this belated UK banking innovation may do no more than give a brief kiss of life to the cheque for another few years.
There will however be benefits to the admittedly, diminishing number of customers still writing cheques.
There will be benefits also for banks that remain enthusiastic about shrinking the size of their branch networks. Branch footfall will inevitably fall as customers adopt remote cheque deposit. For banks keen to continue branch rightsizing, there will be added impetus to continue with their branch closure programmes.
Investment in the old-fashioned cheque may also serve to boost mobile banking penetration rates. Once the cheque using segment of the market see how easy it is to use a mobile banking app, expect to see a further rise in m-banking.