Finance executives speak during a panel on the future of banking at CNBC’s East Tech West event.
Dave Zhong | Getty Images for CNBC
Banks must operate more like technology companies in order to stay relevant for years to come, executives in the financial services industry say.
“I happen to believe that many banks, perhaps not all, are well-positioned to build brand new products,” David Rafalovsky, chief technology officer at Russian state-owned lender Sberbank, said during a panel at CNBC’s East Tech West event in Guangzhou, China on Monday.
Rafalovsky expressed frustration with the categorization of fintech, or financial technology, firms as separate to — and a threat to the existence of — the banks. “We are fintechs,” he said, adding major lenders are “no less” fintech than the technology upstarts.
A flurry of new players have entered the market looking to compete with established banks. In Europe for instance, app-based checking accounts from the likes of Monzo, Revolut and N26 have lured in millions of customers thanks to their slick user interface and absence of fees.
To add to the pressure on the banks, tech giants like Apple, Facebook and now Google have been making inroads into finance. Apple earlier this year launched a credit card, piggybacking off an account provided by Goldman Sachs, while Facebook announced its libra cryptocurrency initiative and Google is set to debut a checking account next year.
For Standard Chartered, the focus is ensuring its IT team works…