In the world of payments, it's the proverbial best and worst (or, at least, most challenging) of times. That's the impression I brought back from SWIFT's Sibos event in Sydney, Australia, which I attended earlier this month. Although it seemed at times that there was more talk of travel schedules and personal sleep patterns than of banking matters, there also was discussion about transformation of the banking industry. Depending on who was speaking (banker, vendor, regulator, SWIFT, etc.), this transformation is good, unwanted, unavoidable, costly, arbitrary or all of the above.
As Microsoft's Sheida Hadji-Ashrafi, industry manager, payments, financial services group, summed it up, among the most-significant challenges (or opportunities) facing the industry are the following: "Consolidation of payments infrastructures; how banks [can] create new payments products; margin compression; and the threat of new entrants, which is driving innovation."
Is that all? Clearly, there will be winners and losers in the new, less-bordered, and more regulated and integrated payments world. It's a question of who or what (big banks? niche players? nonbank competitors?) will come out on top, and which capabilities and resources will give the winners the competitive advantage.
Amid the talk of change and challenge, some big themes emerged:
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio