Technology to help Asian banks tackle crisis

Banks do more with what they have to lessen impact of lower demand for banking products and rising credit defaults, new Financial Insights report notes.
Written by Sol E. Solomon, Contributor

Negative economic factors affecting the global industry have led banks in the Asia-Pacific region to align their technology priorities to new strategies, designed to help them effectively respond to the current crisis, a new report noted.

Financial Insights noted in its report, Top Ten Strategic IT Initiatives for Asia-Pacific Banks in 2009: What is Your Counter-Cyclical Strategy?, banks are looking at "counter-cyclical" technology initiatives such as portfolio analytics, asset-liability management, and credit collections and recovery. The aim of these initiatives is to help banks minimize the impact of lower demand for banking products, shifts in customers' banking preferences, and rising credit delinquencies and defaults, noted the advisory firm, which is a subsidiary of IDC.

Michael Araneta, senior research manager at Financial Insights Asia-Pacific, said banks now have to find ways to generate new demand and find new sources of income.

"Technology imperatives here include CRM (customer relationship management) and customer-centric projects, and payments initiatives to generate fee income," Araneta said in a statement.

Li-May Chew, senior research manager at the research firm, said banks recognize that the modes of operation during boom times are ineffective in a crisis environment.

"IT optimization will be the key concern for bank IT leaders as they search for clarity in their existing technology assets, and see how these can be integrated more effectively to meet current and future requirements," Chew explained in the statement.

"The overarching objective is simply to do more with what you have," she added.

Despite the current economic crisis, Financial Insights said the Asia-Pacific region continues to provide opportunities to banks--thanks to recent wealth accumulation, relatively stable economic and corporate fundamentals, as well as pockets of under-served banking segments in the region.

According to the research firm, banks in the region are still expected to increase technology spending in several overarching priority areas in 2009, albeit at lower rates of growth compared to those seen in previous years.

The 2009 priority list is made up of discrete projects that are typically ad-hoc and tactical in nature. These include virtualization, customer loyalty, customer retention, credit collections and recovery and software-as-a-service, the report noted.

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