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Neo Banking- Dos and Don’ts

The recent years has witnessed a major drift in the banking and financial industry with digitization and the ever growing use of the mobile technology. With the customers are also embracing the digital means of financial services by moving away from the cash handed out physically to the digital currency. They are comfortable in digital transactions than ever before. But the digitization in the Banking and Financial Industry has triggered huge cyber security challenges for Financial Institutes and Service Providers. It has opened up entry points for cybercriminals to stage attacks and get illegal access to critical data. Today, with digitization and technological advancements, the banking industry has grown out to be more vulnerable than ever before. Cyber security has now become a major point of focus for the Banking and Financial industries globally, especially for the financial players like the Neobanks which runs entirely on a digital banking model, cyber security should be their topmost priority. Before that let us understand what Neobanking is, how it operates and what does the future look like with these Neobanks emerging.

What is Neobanking? They are the virtual banking service providers operating digitally without having any physical infrastructure like their traditional counterparts, their offerings are limited to internet only services. Financial services that focuses on providing its tech-savvy customers the convenience of their cutting edge and technology-driven digital banking services. Neobank offerings are slightly similar to those of traditional banks but limited to just opening saving accounts, payment, and money transfer services, loans, and budgeting, to name a few. Eliminating physical infrastructure and automating banking processes, the neo banks are very different from the traditional banks. 

Neobanking and Traditional Banking differences as are follows:

Neobanks run on a digital platform and have no physical branch.            Banking processes in Neobanks are easy, quick, and automated. Neo banks’ customer support relies on a combination of chat bots and AI providing flexible, virtual, online support.

Service offerings include-

·        Opening accounts

·        Payment and money transfer services

·        Loans

·        Budgeting

Traditional banks have physical banking service branches for operating their business. Banking processes in a traditional bank are usually lengthy, tedious, and involves partial manual and automated task. Traditional banking relies on telephonic or in-person support.

Service offerings include-

·        Opening accounts

.        Payment and money transfer services

·        Insurance services

·        Wealth Management

·        Loans

·        Merchant services

·        Mobile banking services

Basically, the neobanks help in overcoming the traditional banking challenges with ease and convenience of availing the services. They also pose a huge security challenges too. Here are some of them- Cybersecurity Challenges faced by Neobanks.

Inadequate budget- Cybersecurity requires huge amounts of investment. Neobanks are comparatively smaller than the traditional banks and often lack the budget for having a full-time cybersecurity team for monitoring all the activities.

Third-party dependency– Neobanks work digitally and are heavily dependent on third-party services to serve their customers. So, with the dependency on the third-party, the risk exposure is significant

Malware- Since the entire banking process is online, a lot of sensitive data passes through the network and digital devices. Networks and devices should be appropriately secured to prevent any incidents of a breach. In case a device connected with a network is compromised with malware, it may pose a huge threat to your sensitive banking data and may result in compromised cyber security.

Spoofing- Spoofing is the latest form of cyber threat wherein the cybercriminals will impersonate the banking website’s URL with a website that is similar to the original one and functions the same way. It is a common practice adopted by most attackers to steal sensitive data. With Neobanks completely operating online the risk exposure to such scams are high.

Phishing- Phishing is an attempt made by a hacker to get access to sensitive information such as credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Compliance- Almost all of the Neo banks would be required to comply with standards such as PCI DSS. This would be in addition to the local regulatory compliance such as those concerned with Privacy.

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Goldman banker hired by the Citi bank

Citigroup has hired Luisa Leyenaar-Huntingford from Goldman Sachs. This new hire is to co-head its global infrastructure franchise. Because, it seeks to win more business from cash-rich investment firms focusing on infrastructure deals. Leyenaar-Huntingford will be based in London. Responsibility will be shared with Todd Guenther in New York.

The pair will work closely with industry teams covering healthcare, industrials, natural resources and clean energy transition (NRCET), technology and communications. Leyenaar-Huntingford helped in the establishment of the Goldman’s infrastructure franchise in her time at the Wall Street bank. They will team up with Citi’s Iberia co-head of banking, capital markets and advisory (BCMA) Jorge Ramos will continue to be a senior member of the global infrastructure franchise.

The infrastructure sector is poised for further growth, according to the memo. The memo was released by Citi’s global co-heads of the alternative assets group Anthony Diamandakis and John Eydenberg, and its EMEA head of BCMA Nacho Gutierrez-Orrantia. There was significant private investment demand across the globe to deal with environmental, energy, transportation, waste, communication, digital and other social needs.

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Banks make slow progress on UK gender pay

Major banks in Britain made a slight dent in their gender pay gaps. Several insurers went backwards. Companies in Britain with more than 250 employees have been required to publish the difference between the pay and bonuses of their male and female employees. They got a reprieve due to the pandemic, last year. The financial services sector has shown one of the largest genders pay gaps in Britain. The lack of women in senior jobs is the main reason.

Pay gap data from 21 major financial institutions showed a narrowing in their average mean gender pay gap. This is just 0.4 percentage points. Banks alone had a pay gap which narrowed by one percentage point. Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute said that the UK’s financial services industry has often been singled out. It really does have to get its house in order. Goldman Sachs had the widest gender pay gap in the year to April 2020. Goldman posted a gender pay gap of 51.8%. The bank told the staffs that narrowing the gap further was a critical priority. A spokesperson for banking lobby group UK Finance said, that there is clearly more still to be done.

FTSE 100 insurers Prudential, Legal & General and M&G reported a widening in their pay gaps. Prudential’s UK gender pay gap widened to 45.2%. M&G also reported a widening in its pay gap in the most recent year to 30.5%. The M&G spokesperson said that they are determined to narrow their gender pay gap and will do this by achieving better representation of women in all roles at all levels of our organization. Legal & General’s mean gender pay gap widened to 30.8%.

The insurer said that the legal & general is tackling the underlying causes of its pay gap. This is by creating a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive culture through sustained, long-term action. Admiral had a gender pay gap last year of 12.8%. The 21 firms surveyed were Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Standard Chartered, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs International, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, PGMS (a Phoenix unit), abrdn, Schroder Investment Management, St James’s Place, Legal & General, Prudential, Admiral Group, Aviva and M&G.

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BOJ to lower inflation target-Japan’s finance minister

Japan’s outgoing finance minister, Taro Aso, said that he had proposed lowering the central bank’s 2% inflation target. This is when the prices took a hit from plunging oil prices. He was the finance minister for nearly nine years. The slump in oil price was among the main reasons the government could not officially declare an end to deflation. In his final news conference as finance minister, Aso said that he proposed to Governor Kuroda that, with oil prices falling this much, it would be hard to achieve 2% inflation. Hence, the target must be lowered at some point. He stated this by referring to Bank of Japan (BOJ) chief Haruhiko Kuroda.

Aso also said that the governor said he would do his best to achieve the target. This is stated by adding that policymakers must scrutinise at some point, why the BOJ’s inflation target of 2% has not been met. The remarks highlight how the government and lawmakers distanced themselves from the BOJ’s target years ago, despite central bank reassurances that achieving the target was possible by maintaining or increasing stimulus.

Aso was deeply involved in negotiations with the BOJ. After Kuroda took over as governor, he deployed a massive asset-buying program. This is for pulling Japan out of deflation. Aso supported the BOJ’s stimulus efforts. He is a member of the cabinet. And also, had raised many doubts that monetary policy alone can reflate the economy out of the doldrums. New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to form a cabinet.

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