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Banks accelerate new branch strategies in increasingly digital post-COVID world

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After the novel coronavirus forced banks to close their branch lobbies, Pittsburgh-based F.N.B. Corp. added an online tool allowing customers to make in-branch appointments with a banker for the first time. The customer response was swift and unexpected: The bank went from 21 appointments in January to more than 2,700 during April, according to CEO Vincent Delie.

F.N.B.’s experience is emblematic of how the pandemic is forcing consumers to rethink many behaviors — including the way they use physical bank branches. In the age of social distancing, even customers who long relied on their local branch are turning to digital options. And that is opening the door for banks to rethink their branch footprints.

“Every generation wants convenience,” said Mike Carter, executive vice president of advisory firm Strategic Resource Management. “What has happened now, people who didn’t understand how convenient digital banking is, they got a taste of it.”

Experts and bankers say physical locations will continue playing an important role in bank strategies, but the pandemic will change the way branches look and operate for good.

“In the future, the bank branch will be a lot like going to the dentist or seeing a doctor — you’ll make an appointment to go in and discuss something,” Carter said in an interview.

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Source: https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/resources/sponsored/banks-accelerate-new-branch-strategies-in-increasingly-digital-post-covid-world/

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Spanish Financial Giant BBVA’s US Division Recognized as one of the Best Corporate Digital Banks in North America

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The US division of the BBVA (NYSE:BBVA), a Spanish multinational financial services company based in Madrid and Bilbao, Spain with nearly €700 billion in assets, was recently recognized as one of the world’s best corporate and institutional digital banks in North America by Global Finance.

As confirmed by the bank’s management, the BBVA was named the winner in the subcategories of “Best Mobile Adaptive Site” and “Best Mobile Banking App.” A blog posted by the BBVA states that the bank has “been honored by Global Finance twice prior, named as the Top Treasury and Cash Management Provider in the Southwest for 2019 and 2020.”

Gabriel Palafox, BBVA’s USA Director of Multichannel Development, said that they’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 crisis that their customers depend on their all-digital platforms to manage their finances. Palafox added that useful features like the BBVA Real Time Positive Pay and Real Time ARP offer their customers the option to manage ACH and check transactions “in real time, so they can prevent fraud before it occurs.”

As explained by the BBVA team, winning banking institutions were chosen by Global Finance based “on strength of strategy for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital offerings and the growth of digital customers.” Banks were also assessed based on the range of products they offer, “evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives”, and their overall web/mobile site design and user experience.

Gabriel Paladfox, Director of Multichannel Development at BBVA Compass, stated:

“Receiving this recognition from Global Finance tells us that we’re on the right path, that the work we’ve put into these resources as part of our digital transformation effort are making a difference…. data and technology are the main points of one of the key pillars in our new 5-year strategic plan. We will continue to build on our overall strength in digital solutions to give our customers the flexibility and mobility they need in an increasingly digital business environment.”

TJ Shavers, VP, Application Manager at BBVA Compass, remarked:

“We compete with some very strong financial institutions around the world, and I’m so proud that the hard work of the entire team and our commitment to providing our customers with the best digital experience has been recognized like this.”

As covered recently, the BBVA continues to work on quantum computing data projects. It’s also collaborating with German Fintech Rubean to trial a contactless payments solution.

Javier Rodriguez Soler, the Country Manager / CEO at the BBVA USA, confirmed that in early August 2020, the BBVA USA revealed it would work with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) on a digital bank account.

The new all-digital accounts will be offered through Google Pay and are expected to be available in 2021.

Soler, a Columbia Business School MBA graduate, claims:

“Collaborations with companies like Google represent the future of banking. Consumers end up the true winners when finance and big tech work together for their benefit.”

The BBVA team had pointed out that it seems that tech and finance are beginning to realize what the bank has “seen coming for years: By collaborating rather than competing, everybody wins.” Soler had argued that there are “multiple winners in a tech and bank link up, from consumers to banks and tech.”

He explained:

“[Consumers benefit from] the increased convenience that comes with a single digital platform that allows customers to access their chosen providers with a consistent user experience.”

Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2020/09/166972-spanish-financial-giant-bbvas-us-division-recognized-as-one-of-the-best-corporate-digital-banks-in-north-america/

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Google Temporarily Removes Paytm Mobile App from Play Store Due to Supposedly Being in Violation For Gambling

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Mobile wallet service provider Paytm announced on Friday its Android mobile app was temporarily removed from the Google Play Store. The company reassured its uses that their account balances are 100% safe and its services are fully functional.

Paytm reported that it recently launched “Paytm Cricket League” on its consumer app for users to engage their interest in the sport while getting cashback.

The game allows users to get player stickers after each transaction, collect them and receive Paytm Cashback.”

Unfortunately, Paytm received communication from Google that the internet giant suspended the Paytm app because it believed the game was a violation of its Play Store policies in regards to gambling. This meant that the Paytm Android App was unlisted from the Google Play Store and temporarily unavailable to users for new downloads or updates.

“While it is clear that all activities on Paytm are completely lawful, we have temporarily removed the cashback component in an effort to meet the Play Store policy requirements. We continue to work with Google to restore the app. We assure all our users that their balances and linked accounts are 100% safe. Our services are fully functional on all existing apps and you can continue enjoying Paytm like before.”

Luckily, Paytm updated users a few hours later that its mobile app functions were restored.

Founded in 2010, Paytm claims to be India’s largest payments company that offers multi-source and multi-destination payment solutions. The platform offers comprehensive payment solutions to more than eight million merchants and allows consumers to make payments from any bank account to any bank account at 0% fee.

Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2020/09/166968-google-temporarily-removes-paytm-mobile-app-from-play-store-due-to-supposedly-being-in-violation-for-gambling/

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Digital Transformation: Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority to Migrate Online Services to Microsoft Cloud

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The Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) recently revealed that it will be migrating its online services to the Microsoft Cloud in order to move forward with its digital transformation strategy.

The move to Microsoft Cloud comes after the Middle Eastern nation’s Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC) teamed up with Microsoft in 2019. The migration to the new Cloud services should offer significant benefits such as improved scalability, enhanced productivity, lower costs, and better security. This should help with meeting relevant regulatory and compliance requirements.

Eisa Ahmed Abdulla, COO at QFCRA, stated that, at the QFCRA, they’re focused on following the applicable international regulatory guidelines while adhering to industry best practices. This approach should help with maintaining “a healthy financial environment that encourages economic diversification and sustainable growth, a vital pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030,” Abdulla added.

He further noted that by migrating the organization’s IT infrastructure to the Microsoft Cloud, they’ll be able to meet their digital transformation objectives, while scaling their services in a secure manner. This should ensure “the soundness and stability of Qatar’s financial landscape,” Abdulla said.

The QFCRA confirmed that it will deploy its existing and new critical business applications to Microsoft Azure. This should allow the organization to operate in a flexible manner, while building solutions at scale and ensuring security, compliance, privacy, and transparency.

Lana Khalaf, Country Manager at Microsoft Qatar, remarked:

“We are excited to partner with QFCRA to support their digital transformation journey by enabling them to migrate to the trusted, scalable and intelligent Microsoft Cloud. This will empower them to securely scale with agility, accelerate innovation, as well as optimize costs, while ensuring to meet the local policies and regulations within the financial services industry.” 

The MoTC had partnered with Microsoft in 2019 in order to work on Qatar’s digital transformation roadmap. The nation’s government had decided to use Microsoft Azure as its Cloud platform to meet its objective. Microsoft has also set up a data centre region in the country.

The Microsoft Cloud solution will go live at some point next year.

As reported recently, Mastercard partnered with Qatar Development Bank to support the ongoing development of the nation’s Fintech sector.

As covered, Qatar is supporting Fintech development with sustainable solar energy initiatives. Local firms are also using blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) to streamline operations. Qatar was recently ranked high on “ease of doing business,” as the country develops Fintech friendly policies and launches a regulatory sandbox.

Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2020/09/166929-digital-transformation-qatar-financial-center-regulatory-authority-to-migrate-online-services-to-microsoft-cloud/

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