Digitalization Is No Longer Exotic But a Vanguard of Banking Services
Let's go back a year - the situation was radically different. Although at an unsatisfactory pace, the economy was on the path of growth. Banks reported solid profits and the digitalization of the banking sector was advancing with planned operations.
A year later, the traditional conference of "The Banker", dedicated to digital banking, is held in light of the pandemic that overturned the whole world while the measures to control the infection brought about a series of restrictions related to our most basic needs - movement, social contacts, shopping, even visits to the bank branch. It wouldn't be far-fetched to say that the internet remained the only space unaffected by the restrictions. Digital banking services and continuous contact with our bank are no longer just convenience, but necessity. The pandemic has proven the need for even more flexible, organized, facilitated but mostly secure online channels for remittances and payments. That is why digitization in the current situation is not exotic it is the vanguard of banking services.
For a fourth consecutive year, "The Banker", in partnership with VIVACOM, brought together (on November 17th) the expert community to align our course towards innovation, new regulations and challenges in digital banking. This time, however, everything happens in the context of a global health and economic crisis, which is why our virtual forum has put particular emphasis on managing digital wallets, services and customer relations, as well as the challenges of 2020. The simplest example is the transition of employees into home office mode.
The Deputy Governor of the BNB and Head of the Banking Department Mrs. Nina Stoyanova outlined the new European regulations, which are about to enter into force. Immediate payments are the major topic and it is expected that this service will also be available in Bulgaria in 2021. The Deputy Governor reported that by the end of 2020 Bulgarian payment service providers will generally meet the requirements of the PSD2 Directive, which have already entered into force, regarding the in-depth authentication and increase of security of payments.
The data announced by the commercial banks managers show categorically that the pandemic has significantly increased the use of mobile and online banking as well as digital wallets. There has been double-digit growth in consumers who have resorted to these channels for all credit institutions. The most frequently requested services are related to the granting and renegotiation of loans, opening an account and deposit, as well as the relief related to the credit moratorium that was introduced at the beginning of the crisis.
Experts rallied around the view that COVID-19 was both an engine but also a catalyst for the transformation of banks. The main questions are how to keep this increased interest in digital services in a post-pandemic world, provided that bankers face problems with the customers themselves, the latter being still more willing to visit the branch even for the most basic banking services.
Details - in the new issue of "The Banker" in circulation from November 20!