Banks must ensure underserved communities not forgotten

Banks and fintech businesses must make sure that underserved communities are not left behind as the finance industry changes with technology.

Mr Ong Chong Tee, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) deputy managing director of financial supervision, said this yesterday during a German-Singaporean financial forum at Singapore Management University.

He said another area of focus was the responsible use of technology tools. Earlier this month, MAS announced it was developing a guide to promote the responsible and ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics by financial institutions.

Helping MAS to create it is the Fairness, Ethics, Accountability and Transparency Committee, co-chaired by former chairman of the United Overseas Bank group Hsieh Fu Hua and MAS' chief data officer David Hardoon.

Citing the examples of Germany's Fidor Bank, China's WeBank, and DBS'digibank in India, Mr Ong noted that fully digital banks are fast gaining traction. With services going digital, Mr Ong added that the banking industry is facing a revolution.

"This digitisation of services has transformed the customer experience say for on-boarding or transactional purposes, but frankly, are not ground-breaking in themselves," he noted.

"But a revolution is also happening when new digital services or business models emerge that employ, say, AI, or blockchain technologies.

"These can fundamentally change how we borrow, save, pay, invest or insure." - THE STRAITS TIMES