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Current banking model 'not sustainable': CBA

By Tim Stewart
 — 1 minute read

Certain aspects of the way CBA runs its business “will not be sustainable” as the financial sector embraces the blockchain and big data, says group executive Annabel Spring.

Speaking at the ASIC Annual Forum 2016, CBA group executive for wealth management, Annabel Spring, said the big Australian banks can “absolutely” survive the coming wave of fintech innovation.

“Innovation is a process of creative destruction. That means that aspects of the way we run our business now will not be sustainable in this new world as we move through the blockchain and big data,” Ms Spring said.

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“As big institutions we have to be agile and we have to recognise that some parts of our business have to change in response to what the customer wants,” she said.

Banks like CBA are “big enough” to take on risks when it comes to technology and can “try things”, Ms Spring said.

“That will involve partnering increasingly with the fintechs, just as we have with [payments systems] Kounta and Albert, along with some of the P2P lending sites,” she said.

“We have to do that... that brings in fresh blood. But we also have to innovate ourselves – [for example with things like] cardless cash,” Ms Spring said.

Joining Ms Spring on stage was Digital Asset Holdings chief executive, Blythe Masters, who said fintech providers have underestimated the costs of acquiring new customers.

“What banks have, to varying degrees, believe it or not, is in many cases very loyal customer bases and a very sticky mix of products,” Ms Masters said.

“So if banks have the opp to capture the benefits of the technology that’s being offered by the new providers but to offer it to their existing incumbent customer base, they have an opportunity to win [the battle with 'disruptors'],” she said.

“That’s why we’re seeing now almost without exception the leading fintech interfaces don’t use the word 'disruption' anymore, they use the word 'partnership'.”

Former NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne pointed out that none of the new fintech players are accepting deposits, which means that banks could end up being marginalised.

“What a lot of major players [including regulators] are concerned about is – somebody’s got to take deposits,” Mr Clyne said.

“All these new players are offering great functionalities and a whole range of things. But very few of them are offering deposits.

“And I think one of the concerns of legacy players is that they could be marginalised.”

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Current banking model 'not sustainable': CBA
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