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BANKING FRONTIERS Joining the blockchain

Joining the blockchain

While Bitcoin was intended to free the currency system from the shackles of regulatory framework, R3 appears to be giving the concept sort of a regulatory approval. The progress will be watched with all seriousness and extreme interest for there could be a time not in the distant future when there will be no physical bank branches, where transactions can happen based on a video call and where the current alternate channels would become redundant. Blockchain-enabled solutions can possibly ensure total decentraliztion, can empower the end-users and make the technology razor-sharp and more powerful. Some observers feel banks would face the risk of being left out in case they overlook the new world of virtual currencies. Remember there were safety and security warnings from banks themselves during the initial days of internet banking and e-commerce. Similarly, banks have been stating cryptocurrencies are high-risk. It can only be said that those who profess these views do not understand the concept in its true worth. And, the way the technology is developing is so amazing that someone compared it to the days when websites were created using HTML code to creating sites using WordPress.ust about a year ago, when Bitcoin started making waves, global banks were rather frightened. They described the cryptocurrencies as unreliable, prone to frauds and difficult to be administered. But the fact was that these banks were hesitant to innovate to match the comprehensiveness of the blockchain, often described as distributed ledger. There were charges that the system could lead to money laundering and frauds could happen more frequently. Things seem to have changed. Banks today are readying to embrace blockchain and the concept of cryptocurrency, for they have realized the advantages of the quicker and decentralized transaction verification system offered by the technology which can have applications not just in money transactions but even in areas like stock trades, property transfers, etc. Eight global banks have recently launched a project called R3, which intends to develop blockchain commercial applications and standards for the financial world. And, 13 more banks have joined this founding team giving a clear indication that there is immense value in the technology. R3 is mandated to ‘define, design and deliver the next generation of financial technology’. This is a major development in the financial services domain as the project brings together not only the experts, but also the considerable resources of 21 large banks for purposes of research, experimentation and design of an efficient ledger system, which they believe can not just meet the banking requirements but can also ensure security, reliability, performance, scalability and audit in the domain.

 

Project Pipeline

BoB to have new mPassbook system

BankofBarodawillbe implementing an upgraded mPassbook on mobile and has sought proposals from service providers in this regard. The solution should be compatible with iOS, Windows, Blackberry and Java and should be similar to design and integration of the existing mPassbook solution of the bank offered on Android platform. Besides the platforms, the bank wants the new system to be available for not only for the bank, but for its RRBs as well as its international branches.

SBI Group to have CRM solution

State Bank of India Group is preparing to implement a CRM solution and it has invited proposals from service providers to provide such a system, install it and offer customization integration and other related work. The bank expects the solution to be implemented to be meeting the current as well as future business requirements and enable any authorized employee, business partner, agent or associate of any of the SBI Group entities to cross-sell any product of the Group and cross-service any query/request/complaint from any customer of any group entity. The cross-selling and cross-servicing would be carried out through the contact centre, branch, ATM, kiosk, mobiles, internet, emails, SMSs and tablets or any other channels and the proposed solution should enable the same capabilities on the selfservice customer modules such as internet banking, ATM, kiosks, mobile banking etc. The bank is expecting to have a solution that has seamless integration capabilities with the systems (services, data, etc.) of the Group entities along with various other applications/ systems and a robust architecture with accessibility via the Group entities website, the product’s own User Interface and from various channels protected by the necessary security protocols and encryption requirements.

LIC to implement RM system

Life Insurance Corporation of India is setting up an enterprise risk management system and associated processes across the organization and it has sought the help of a consultant to identify a suitable system. With the system, LOC wants to have solutions to consistently identify, measure, aggregate and manage risk exposures and mitigating measures within predetermined tolerance guidelines. LIC wants the consultant to bring in required domain knowledge and appropriate Indian and global data to perform the associated tasks so as to come out with a best in class ERM system that will set apart LIC from its peers in the industry. The consultant should be able to map every risk that may arise in any of its offices and identify a system that can take care of these risks. The work would largely involve historical analysis of damages/losses in LIC and other relevant and comparable companies to undertake a risk visualizaton, risk identification (articulation) of material and potential risks for LIC at the corporate level, functional department level, product level, zonal, divisional and branch level and a detailed analysis as well as identification of gaps in risk identification process and risk mitigation measures currently being used in business and business specific risks, investment risk, market risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, operational risk, underwriting risk, actuarial valuation risk.