Expert comment: COVID-19 needs better banking tech

As applications for the furlough scheme flood in, not everyone is accounted for. Many people who are struggling to cope in the crisis will rely on loans from the banks over the next few months.

Some banks will be overwhelmed, and unable to provide the help that people need. Some, however, will deliver. Fintechs are well positioned to quickly process and analyse applications, making decisions far quicker than traditional banks. In this crisis, speed is essential.

Alex Kwiatkowski, Principal Industry Consultant, Global Banking Practice, SAS, said: “Across Britain, people and businesses are struggling to access cash. As it becomes increasingly evident that the Government’s provisions have left certain groups unaccounted for, and with universal credit applications taking weeks to process, banks need to make smart and quick decisions about loans.

“In the face of unprecedented demand, traditional banks must process credit applications in the timeliest manner. Banks can employ the same AI technology as fintechs, building decades of proven wisdom about risk into their models, and speed up the approval process of credit-worthy customers. This may necessitate making changes to underlying technology and business processes, accelerating automation efforts and maximising the focus on meeting client needs in a period of turbulence. In my mind there’s a fundamental question: ‘if not now, then when?’

“What is clear is that traditional and challenger banks must work alongside one another, harnessing their respective strengths, and commit to prioritising customer need to provide Britain with the financial liquidity necessary in this crisis.”