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Insights from the Cedar-IBSi Digital Banking & AI Summit, Riyadh, KSA

By Puja Sharma

February 27, 2024

  • AI
  • cedar-ibsi event
  • cedar-ibsi summit

Cedar-IBSi Digital Banking & AI Summit, Riyadh, KSABanking in Saudi Arabia (KSA) is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by digital innovation and artificial intelligence. The Cedar-IBSi Digital Banking & AI Summit in Riyadh brought together bankers eager to navigate this digital revolution. Organized by Cedar Management Consulting International and IBS Intelligence, the summit unveiled the banking landscape of tomorrow, presenting invaluable insights, learning avenues, and exceptional networking opportunities.

Here’s a snapshot of what attendees experienced:

  • Navigating Digital Transformation: The summit explored how Saudi Arabia’s financial sector is embracing digital banking, with a national strategy for data and AI driving the agenda.
  • Harnessing AI and Analytics: Discussions centred on how AI and analytics are revolutionizing customer experiences and operational efficiencies, with collaborations between banks and FinTechs paving the way for innovation.
  • Reimagining Digital Lending: Attendees learned about how digital lending fosters an efficient lending environment and contribute to the Kingdom’s growth with personalized loan products and better-informed credit decisions.

Among distinguished guests participating in panel discussions were: Dr. Ahmed Darwish Elsayed Mobile Banking/OpenBanking/BaaS/CBDC Expert, بنك البلاد | Bank Albilad, | Ahmad Ghandour, Backbase | David Jimenez Maireles | Khaled AlQassem, Banque Saudi Fransi, | Shikkoh Malik | Srirang Srikantha, Yethi Consulting | Nitin Bhargava, Al Masraf | Dimple G, Intellect Design Arena Ltd

Navigating the Digital Transformation

At the heart of the transformation of the Saudi financial sector is a vibrant, tech-savvy population driving the shift towards digital banking. With an overwhelming preference for digital channels, transaction values at digital-only banks are set to soar from $1.7 billion in 2020 to $15 billion by 2026. This digital shift, underpinned by the National Strategy for Data & AI, aims to position Saudi Arabia as a global leader in AI by 2030, fostering a conducive environment for FinTech innovation.

The panel Banking in an Increasingly Digital World was moderated by V. Ramkumar, Senior Partner, Cedar Management Consulting International, and discussed how banks in KSA can draw upon insights from both global and regional experiences to enable the society’s broader digital transformation.

In the panel discussion moderated by Chetan Parekh, Managing Partner, Head – MENA FinTech Practice at Cedar on Utilizing the power of AI and analytics to foster innovation, Shikkoh Malik, Islamic Financial Services & Transaction Banking SME, Standard Chartered Bank shared: “The Kingdom’s banking and financial landscape is experiencing exponential growth, presenting exciting opportunities for innovation. Here are three key strategies banks can adopt to stay ahead:

  • Implement an end-to-end innovation strategy.
  • Foster a culture of innovation within the organization.
  • Leverage strategic partnerships with FinTechs.

Moreover, the evolution of Islamic banking, particularly in Saudi Arabia, is nothing short of remarkable. With its unique principles and growing demand, Islamic banking presents a wealth of opportunities for innovation and growth.”

​In the discussion, Reimagining the digital lending landscape in Saudi Arabia, moderated by Ramakrishnan Viswanathan, Senior Partner – FinTech Practice at Cedar, Nitin Bhargava, Chief Operating Officer of Al Masraf Bank, noted: “With advanced data analysis and mining techniques, including insights from social sources and supply chain analysis, digital lending broke free from linear decision-making processes. By leveraging data analytics, banks could differentiate between good and risky customers, ensuring right pricing and delivering optimal value. Meanwhile, in the realm of digital product launches, agility was the name of the game. Modular, plug-and-play offerings allowed for rapid feature deployment and seamless integration, empowering banks to stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape.”

Shaping the banking of tomorrow

The Cedar-IBSi Digital Banking and AI Summit in Riyadh was a must-attend event. Here’s a brief round-up of the dominant topics shaping the future of customer services in digital banking:

Customer Service: Panel discussions underscored the importance of exceptional customer service in digital banking. With digital channels becoming the primary touchpoints for customer interactions, banks are leveraging AI-driven chatbots, virtual assistants, and predictive analytics to provide round-the-clock support, personalized recommendations, and proactive problem resolution. A customer-centric approach enhances satisfaction, loyalty, and retention in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Customer Experience: Panelists emphasized the critical importance of seamless and personalized customer experiences in the digital banking landscape. With customers increasingly expecting convenience and efficiency in their banking interactions, banks are leveraging AI and automation to improve user interfaces, streamline processes, and deliver tailored services.

Automation and AI: From automating routine tasks to powering chatbots for customer support, AI-driven automation is improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enabling banks to focus more on delivering value-added services.

Risk Management: With the proliferation of digital transactions and cyber threats, banks are leveraging AI-powered risk management systems to detect and prevent fraudulent activities in real time. Panelists discussed the importance of continuously evolving risk management strategies to stay ahead of emerging threats.

Customer Data ManagementCredit Score: Effective management of customer data, particularly credit scores, emerged as a crucial aspect of digital banking. Panelists highlighted how AI and analytics are being used to process vast amounts of customer data to assess creditworthiness, personalize offerings, and mitigate lending risk.

Stay tuned for upcoming Cedar-IBSi summits in Bengaluru, Kuwait, London, Dubai, Bahrain, Muscat, and Mumbai, where global experts will spotlight themes of digital banking, payments, lending, and the role of automation and AI in banking transformation. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this transformative journey!”

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