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Coronavirus: Digital banking is no longer optional

Digital banks have long talked about the importance of efficient online and mobile banking services at the expense of face-to-face meetings and physical branches; the coronavirus crisis means there is now little argument against this model.


Quarantine and social distancing in Tokyo: now is the moment for mobile and online banking to shine

Those looking for levity at this difficult time might enjoy an old joke: the world can be divided into three groups, those who can count and those who can’t.

Bankers, who tend to be able to count pretty well, might respond that none of them counted on a crisis quite like this.

There is another, more instructive, way to divide Asia’s bankers: those who get excited about digital finance and those who don’t.

The chief executives of Asian banks all talk up the importance of digital banking when on the record, or when delivering speeches at conferences or annual general meetings. Digital banking has become the financial equivalent of modern art: even if you don’t understand it, it’s best to pretend you do.

But when the tape recorder stops whirring or the audience leaves the room, some bank heads will tell you privately that the digital banking revolution has been over-hyped.

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