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Friday July 12th, 2024

Innovating for Tomorrow: Nations Trust Bank’s Digital Revolution

As global banking undergoes a transformation fueled by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences, our attention is drawn to the future of banking in Sri Lanka. Customers today expect their banking interactions to be seamless and user-friendly. This evolution requires banks to not only compete with each other but also with the highest standards of digital experiences available.

In Sri Lanka, consumers are looking for banking services that are as integrated and convenient as their favourite apps. To meet these expectations, banks must innovate and collaborate with technology companies to ensure their services are on par with global standards.

Randil Boteju, Chief Digital Officer at Nations Trust Bank, shares insights into the bank’s trailblazing initiatives to drive digital banking in Sri Lanka by launching innovative digital solutions such as the customizable FriMi app and the revamped Nation Direct. These initiatives aim to enhance customer lifestyles and deliver a seamless banking experience, highlighting the importance of customer-centric digitization in the rapidly evolving banking sector.

As NTB celebrates its 25th anniversary, the bank’s efforts symbolize a deep commitment to customer-centricity and growth. “Our digital journey is an integral part of our strategy to meet the evolving needs of consumers. Looking ahead, we are focused on continuous evolution to deliver what our customers will demand in the future,” Boteju says in this interview.

Excerpts are as follows:

As banking continues to evolve globally driven by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences, what is your perspective on the future of banking in Sri Lanka and how do you envision the future of digital innovations in the local banking industry?

With global digital advancements and the widespread use of smartphones, customers have fully embraced digital experiences. Today, people especially the “Smart Generation” rely heavily on their phones and apps, expecting the same seamless interaction from their banks as they do from platforms like Uber and Spotify. This shift means that customers no longer compare banks to other banks but to the best digital experiences they encounter.

In Sri Lanka and beyond, consumers demand that banks adapt to their evolving needs and preferences. They want banking to be integrated into their daily lives, just like their favourite social media or entertainment apps. Therefore, banks must focus on incorporating banking seamlessly into consumers’ lifestyles and ecosystems rather than forcing them to use specific applications.

To stay competitive and gain a greater portion within the concept of “share of life”, Sri Lankan banks must innovate and merge technologies to deliver the digital experiences customers expect. The competition is global, and to keep pace, local banks need to elevate their services to meet international standards.

Could you highlight some key digital products launched by the bank and their impact on customers and the bank’s performance?

At our bank, we focus on customer-centric digitization, prioritizing what our customers want and need. Our latest innovation, the FriMi app, stands out as the only app in Sri Lanka that lets users fully customize their app experience starting with personalizing their home screen. Users can also personalize widgets, and transaction settings/limits, and even switch between light and dark modes in addition to using the app in a language they prefer i.e. E/S/T.

FriMi supports various payment types, including virtual and physical debit cards, QR payments, and subscription models, allowing seamless integration with other apps. We’ve ensured strong security measures without compromising convenience, so users can even start making payments without logging into the app.

FriMi also offers an array of smart saving options such as goal-based savings and the popular Roundup Savings, helping users save effortlessly while they spend. Additionally, we’ve launched a new version of our mobile banking app, Nation Direct, which offers private banking, investment portfolios, and insurance.

Our tech, business, risk management, marketing and operations teams are dedicated to delivering what customers want, ensuring our digital products enhance their lifestyles and provide a seamless banking experience along with validating them with data and analytics. This customer-centric approach has resulted in a positive impact on customer acquisition, engagement, and satisfaction metrics, as well as a high Net Promoter Score (NPS).

With the shift towards a digital banking ecosystem in Sri Lanka, how will the bank address cybersecurity concerns and their effects on the economy? How will the bank effectively allocate resources to instil public confidence and foster a secure, reliable digital banking environment?

Security is paramount in the future of digital banking. At our bank, we take security very seriously, understanding its importance for both the bank and the industry, hence we approach security differently to ensure that we enable convenience together with advanced security. The challenge lies in not just relying on solutions or systems but ensuring security is integrated into practical customer journeys through multi-layered approaches.

We anticipate future security threats and proactively address them. Consumers may perceive our Bank apps like Spotify, but banking security is far more advanced. We aim to think ahead for our customers, delivering the necessary security while maintaining convenience.

Our strategies include multi-factor authentication and advanced security mechanisms. While details remain confidential, we are confident in our technology stack’s ability to meet consumer needs, even those they may not yet realize.

Educating consumers about security threats is crucial. Fraud in the financial industry is a significant global issue, and we work to keep our customers informed and secure. Our staff and digital communication channels, including chatbots, are aligned to support and educate consumers, ensuring a successful digital journey.

By focusing on security, convenience, and customer education, we aim to grow and maintain the trust of our consumers, benefiting both the market and our bank. Additionally, contributing to Sri Lanka’s overall digital transformation journey is essential. The journey towards a digital nation cannot happen without a nation’s financial ecosystem becoming digital. Our efforts in driving digital banking are crucial in elevating the country’s financial landscape to meet global standards.