Nadeesha Senaratne of HSBC doesn’t feel that the banking industry has been disrupted. He’s spent his entire professional career in the banking sector, including stints in Hong Kong and Malaysia. Now head of retail banking and wealth management for HSBC Sri Lanka, he offers a different perspective on the future of banking.
“Customers now expect a bank to anticipate what they want and offer a solution before they have to ask. So, we’re looking at how we can get to that level and how we can simplify those solutions. We live such busy lifestyles, and no one wants to be asked hundreds of questions or presented with multiple documents.”
Senaratne argues that the core fundamentals of banking remain the same. In his view, the change shouldn’t be referred to with buzzwords such as disruption. Instead, he’s swivelled his approach to understanding customer needs and craft HSBC’s products and services to cater to those insights. “In this industry, the challenge is the changing demographics of the consumer,” says Senaratne. “You have two groups—the millennials who are influenced by digital, and the traditional consumer who likes to see the physical bank branch. Obviously, their banking needs are different.”
Instead of picking one side, Senaratne sees the ultimate solution as being a melding of both, to offer what he describes as a “phygital” (physical and digital) form of banking. That means a heavy emphasis on embracing mobile centered smart banking for everyday tasks such as bill payments and transfers, but also maintaining the human connection for more complex actions, such as investments or legacy planning. Senaratne says he sees this innovation coming from a different angle.
“Customers now expect a bank to anticipate what they want and offer a solution before they have to ask. So, we’re looking at how we can get to that level and how we can simplify those solutions. We live such busy lifestyles, and no one wants to be asked hundreds of questions or presented with multiple documents.” The strategy being implemented has to innovate solutions and mimics the predictive ads that are so pervasive in social media today. Senaratne’s view of the future is not just a bank that can move with the times, but one having an innate understanding of where those times are headed.