In the same way that COVID-19 social distancing rules have fueled an explosion in the use of video meeting, remote work requirements are triggering a huge spike in demand for digital banking services among companies across Asia.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses massive risks for the millions of companies around the world that rely on their banks for liquidity, capital and other critical services. In this new environment, digital banking tools that until recently were seen as nice-to-have features are now lifelines to companies across Asia.
“Almost overnight, digital banking has changed from a helpful feature that made life easier for companies to an essential tool for keeping businesses working smoothly during this crisis,” says Gaurav Arora, Greenwich Associates Head of Asia Pacific & Middle East and author of Asian Corporate Finance: Social Distancing Boosts Digital in Corporate Banking.
A Technology Tipping Point?
Over the past decade, banks have been building out digital platforms that allow businesses to execute many routine banking functions electronically, with much attention focused on how digital tools could help address onboarding and other compliance burdens. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed that completely, and companies are now looking to digital platforms to handle core banking functions.
Bank systems and API-enabled apps are opening up the world of advanced analytics that allow companies to uncover opportunities for internal efficiency enhancement in areas like cash management, and to analyze new business opportunities.
Artificial intelligence also allows banks to develop more sophisticated client business intelligence and provide deeper and more actionable advice. At the same time, technology systems—many enabled by APIs—are forming the backbone of emerging “ecosystem plays” that link entire supply chains into end-to-end bank solutions that leverage transaction data and other information from companies throughout the supply chain to access liquidity and other services for stakeholders.
“The COVID-19 crisis could represent a seminal moment in Asian corporate banking in which companies across the region make the switch to digital banking en masse, setting the foundation for a new, technology-based industry,” says Gaurav Arora.