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EBAday 2022: Embracing the power of continuity

EBAday 2022: Embracing the power of continuity

Launching in to EBAday 2022, Wolfgang Ehrmann, chair of the board, EBA, set the context for this year’s first in-person EBAday conference since 2019.

“A lot has happened since we last met. A global pandemic has disrupted not only our daily lives, but also our industry. It has shifted our priorities and required many problem solving skills. But disruption has also come from within our industry itself,” explained Ehrmann.

“New business models, new technologies, new market entrants, to name only a few, have ensured that our industry has evolved and moved forward in line with the needs of the customers we serve. It is here is where despite the major consequences of disruptions, the power of continuity comes in. This is because the key of dealing with disruption, both positive and negative, is to approach it from our customers perspective. What do they want, and what do we need to do to provide relevant and impactful services? In other words, where are they looking for continuity, and where do they want to see change?”

Ehrmann added that the conference will highlight the digital transformation the payments industry has been undergoing in recent years.

Open finance, real time payments, request to pay, payments as a service, digital operating models, Enriched data, CBDC and stablecoins will play a central part in the evolution of transaction banking and payments.

Payment trends which consider both the practitioner perspective as well examining the macro view will embellish the agenda, advocating the possibilities that technology can offer to leverage these forces.

Speaking of the city playing host to EBAday this year, Ehrmann explained, “When it comes to the story of disruption and continuity, Vienna can tell a lot of stories. Dynastic disputes, sieges, the Reformation, the plague, inflation, bankruptcy, and many other events have disrupted the development of the city throughout its history. Yet, Vienna has shown again and again that disruption does not equal destruction.”

“Disruption paired with continuity, as evident in Vienna, can in fact be a chance for new beginnings and improvement […] Many consider Vienna the capital of modernity.”

Following Ehrmann, David O’Mahony, chief operations officer, Erste Group, set out a list of challenges for attendees to meet throughout the conference.

First, he urged attendees to consider the importance of trust in technology. He argued that we must trust technology’s ability to be able to use data intelligently, to automate and digitise, and to provide customer services, must be prioritised.

Second, he recommended that attendees adopt an open mindset. “Think in terms of not just what do we do today, how do we do it today, and how to put a system on top of it. But go back to the start and ask, given this technology, what can we do with it? There is so much we can do with this in terms of developing our payment services.”

Third, O’Mahony suggested that compliance and fraud monitoring be considered to as a benefit and not a burden. He stated that it is essential to strengthen collaboration by speaking to the regulators, the lawmakers, those with influence, as “the only way we can develop our systems with the two priorities of being efficient and simple for clients, is to standardise them as much as possible.

“My request to you is not just to sit and be passive or to be a victim on these topics. Go outside and explain the benefits not just for your working environment, but also around what the benefits are for the clients.”

He stated that cards and payments should be considered in parallel, and that new ecosystems should be embraced. “When we have this complexity, we have to embrace ecosystems,” he stated that we cannot demand that our own organisations will develop everything end to end, collaboration is fundamental in this regard.

Finally, O’Mahony emphasised that it all comes back down to the people.

“Banking operations and payment processing has developed, over the last few years, and we have been able to benefit from technology. But that doesn't mean we need more technology and less people. We need to be able to develop people and I think different people but give people the opportunity to develop.

“Banking operations will continue to be the heart and lungs of any good and functioning banking organisation. When we believe that, payments is lifeblood.”

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