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DBS CEO on the bank's digital reinvention and the challenges they expect

Piyush Gupta discusses challenges and opportunities for the future of banking, reports Tech in Asia

Joydeep Sengupta | Tech in Asia 

DBS is one of the many financial services groups in Asia. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, the company has a growing presence in the region. One of the most important prongs of its ambitions is the bank’s digital strategy—its determination to embrace technology, reimagine the customer journey, and make the bank’s culture more entrepreneurial. I recently sat down with Piyush Gupta, the CEO of DBS since 2009, to discuss the challenges and opportunities he has encountered along the way and the future shape of banking, including the threat from platform companies. What led you to set out on a digital journey? “Banking is arguably the most digitizable industry of all so, in some ways, it’s surprising that we haven’t been more disrupted. I think part of that has to do with psychology—people think about money a little bit differently than they do about other things—and it’s partly to do with regulatory barriers.” What mechanisms did you set up to help people think differently? “One of the big things we focused on was how to get the company technology literate.

After a couple of months, the learning group reported back that classroom sessions didn’t work. But they came up with a different idea—running a series of ‘hackathons.’ This involved taking seven or eight DBS employees and forming them into a joint team with a couple of people from a startup company. Is there anything that worries you as you look to the future? “In Asia and China at least, the so-called platform companies are doing a remarkable job and, with the support of regulators, are moving rapidly into financial services territory. This is quite worrisome for incumbents because these are not only technology companies with a technology culture, they also have a large customer base, perhaps as many as a billion.”

The article was published on Tech In Asia. You can read the full article here

First Published: Wed, May 17 2017. 13:20 IST