Invest in technology or you'll lose existence in 5-7 years: ABB chairman warns banks
Banks that are not investing enough in technology now will not survive in 5-7 years
Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) Chairman and Brac Bank MD & CEO Selim RF Hussain has warned that if the banks do not invest enough in digital security, they may face large-scale danger in future.
"Earlier, we used to think hacking only happens in rich countries. We were proved wrong after the hacking of the central bank in 2016," he said on the last day of a two-day summit, styled "Digital Transformation Summit 2023" on Thursday.
"Investment in digital security needs to be at the same pace as investment in technology," Selim RF Hussain said.
Most banks are now more or less investing in digital security, he said.
However, most banks are behind in technology, the chairman observed. "Only 4-5 banks have advanced among more than 60 banks."
"So the entire sector has to take this digital transformation initiative forward," he added.
He thinks that banks that are not investing in technology now will not survive in 5-7 years.
Pointing out that banks have a big role in the implementation of Digital Bangladesh, he said, "When Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina talked about Digital Bangladesh, many of us did not understand it."
"But now the foundations of our Digital Bangladesh are all done, the next goal is Smart Bangladesh," he added.
He lauded the central bank's adoption of real-time gross settlement (RTGS) and Bangladesh Electronic Funds Transfer Network (BEFTN).
The central bank governor is encouraging banks to bring remittance through apps which many banks will develop in the next couple of years. "I think these apps will be a game changer for us."
"Not only technology, but we also need manpower. We need to create resources. We have to invest in technology in the short term, medium term and long term. " he noted.
A bank's biggest investment in digital transformation is in people. Banks have to decide how to skill them up.
For instance, DBS Bank has twice as many engineers as bankers, 10 years after embarking on a digital transformation, he mentioned.
He suggested the promotion of digital literacy in schools, colleges and through social media.
Although smartphones are now readily available at lower prices in Bangladesh, the cost of the internet is high, he observed. "This needs to be brought down."
"Brac Bank has had its own security operation centre for three years with 25 ethical hackers. In 2020, we had 17-18% of transactions through apps, now it's 70% after three years and 85% of our transactions are now through digital channels," Selim RF Hussain informed the summit.