Opinion Report

Evaluating the Impact of Covid-19 Crisis on Financial Industry & Proposed Tech Solutions

The Covid-19 pandemic has created immense pressure on the financial industry due to disruptions in supply chain and fall in demand at macro level. The other reasons are lack of employment growing and production shutdown at various levels resulting in fallen GDP.

This is a grave challenge for the overall financial industry with less footfalls and spike in call volumes leading to lasting impact on long term performance in marketing and other strategic areas.

Financial institutions and banks have their business continuity plans in place but many such plans where not devised for handling a pandemic as Covid-19 the effect of which is vast spreading across continents.

Nobody imagined a day when their will global travel restrictions, social distancing, nation-wide lockdowns, massive surge in call and data tra?c, workforce reduction, tightening of liquidity, increased cybercrimes and work from scenario. This also adds to ensuring workforce safety and wellbeing a big challenge during the pandemic spread.

This challenging time will also test the efficiency of any business continuity plans and the need to make required changes to deliver seamlessly in near future.

Recently TCS in its research have highlighted the crisis in the financial service industry and proposed technology led solutions.

Digital Maturity: This  Includes availability of all banking services on digital channels. High bandwidth requirements of existing digital channels resulting in unavailability of banking apps and disruption in service. Friction and trust issues caused by disruption in digital channels can escalate into panic.

In this scenario it is important to understand the current Digital scenario, take an assessment and understand the percentage of people depending on digital channels, shift them to online channels. Bots can be introduced more to avoid disruption of services and managing response time and performance.

Customer Confidence: Waning customer con?dence and trust can lead to a run on the bank. There can be a growing desire for customers to talk to human agents as there is greater comfort in talking to human beings during uncertain times.

Regular communication from appropriate authorities is of prime importance as this would retain customer confidence and trust. This can be done through multiple digital channels like ATM screens, video messaging, web, mobile apps and video banking for customers through dedicated relationship managers.

Workforce Disruptions: Due to lockdown there is every possibility that there will be shortage of workforce due to sickness. In this scenario it is important for the sta?s to wear multiple hats i.e. work on multiple functions and address multiple customer needs. This in turn also requires necessitating urgent cross-functional training to be provided online for employees.

The worker may get fatigued, fearful due to spread of pandemic and there can be every mental weariness of the workforce.

So the work from home (WFH) model is best suited for workers ensuring their financial stability. At the same time constant communication with e-engagement tools is a effective way to communicate. Along with there are many Digital apps used to in?uence employee behaviour and demands the usage in this crisis period and protect their health. There are also Digital councils to help employees engage with professionals for their wellbeing needs.

Emerging Risks: This includes such as inability to man branches and call centres inability of clients to service debt due to job or business losses, increased cyber-crimes, and inability of vendors to provide services

What is recommended in such situation is to develop technology based solutions like AI-based monitoring and assessment  management dashboards with decision support tools n Digital workouts for loan. Digital loan life cycle including workouts and closures and Machine intelligence frameworks and Analytics and insights (A&I) solutions.

It is essential to invest in new digital business models, identify and participate in the ecosystems that are likely to disrupt business models. This also requires ensuring minimal expenditure within reasonable limits. Imbibe deep learning predicting models with AI and machine learning tools.

In these are testing times it is important that banks and other financial institutions will need to quickly initiate measures to ensure seamless delivery of services to customers with minimal disruptions. Solutions that provide rapid or quick resolutions to the problems created by the COVID-19 crisis are the need of the hour.

(Image Courtesy: www.finance-monthly.com)

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