Kazakh bank merger to boost modernisation, say experts

ASTANA – Bank consumers are becoming pickier, requiring a wide range of services provided online instantly. Unfortunately, Kazakh banks can’t keep pace with Russian financial institutions, let alone Western ones. Experts believe a bank merger, which seems to be unavoidable, can help to modernise them and make them more competitive.

Consumers want digital banks to be a complete, customisable, interactive function of their financial life, according to a report by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Customers also want to manage all their accounts, deposits, loans, deals, periodic payments, pension contributions, savings and securities. Clients no longer want to deal with paperwork and need the bank to recognise them immediately and promptly offer personalised products. Experts are sure customers will choose banks able to provide such services.

Eastern European and Russian banks are behind Western banks, they add. Kazakh banks need at least three years’ development to draw level with Western banks, according to Misys Global Regional Director Theo Simons. He added Kazakh banks have problems with support from different systems which haven’t been integrated with each other, according to Forbes.kz.

“Operating Internet banks don’t satisfy the requirements of clients. All second-tier banks need transformation and have to organise their own business processes in accordance with customers’ interests,” he said.

“But not everything is so bad; there are some positive moments. For example, Altyn Bank makes very interesting, up-to-date things related to remote channels, but these innovations have nothing to do with the renovation of existing back-office and transactional systems,” he added.

Halyk Bank IT Department Director Mikhail Kablashev indicated there is no need to create a single system for all bank processes and products.

“That is why we use a number of solutions from such companies as OpenWay, Colvir and BSS. Also, we create our own systems as well,” he said.

Kaspi bank is also focusing on innovative digital services.

“Our main advantage is an ability to create innovative services that our customers love. We first of all answer the question ‘what do we want to do?’ and only after that do we ask ourselves ‘how.’ We use the best technological solutions in the world. We have the best professionals. This combination makes it possible to create services that improve the lives of customers,” according to the bank’s press service.

Experts consider a bank merger and adopting new strategies to develop their IT platforms will make them competitive. Purification through renewal will improve the market.

“A bank merger is a natural process. After it, credit institutions will be able to afford the transformation, increase operational efficiency and find a compromise between the requirements of shareholders and the regulator, which is welcomed by National Bank and its customers,” said Simons.

“The processes give managers and owners of banks an excellent opportunity to transform their financial institutions towards full-fledged digitalisation. So, the merger is not just the ‘addition’ of two banks, but the prospect of choosing a new development strategy for the next five-six years to remain the locomotives of the entire economy,” he added.

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