Banks are increasingly open to pushing innovation projects, with many lenders opting to strengthen their fintech operations as well as research into such avenues as blockchain and artificial intelligence. On a broader level, most banks have ushered in a more digitized approach as clients’ needs are shifting and as each group tries to outmanoeuvre its rivals in the fintech sector.
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Canada’s Scotiabank is the latest bank to pioneer these efforts, opening a new facility to help develop a wide range of technologies including blockchain, AI, and others. The impetus behind this movement has been a creeping uptick in competition seen in rival banks that are all looking to gain an edge in a more digital-centric era.
To date, Scotiabank also boasts fintech hubs in Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Columbia, which it has dubbed as the ‘Pacific Alliance’. Its latest fintech hub in Canada however will help the group accelerate its research and growth into new technologies.
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Over the past few years, Canada’s largest banks have also been investing hundreds of millions of dollars into new technologies in a bid to help re-calibrate their businesses to clients that are more likely to utilize online banking. Consequently, this has seen the loss or closure of hundreds of branches, though this phenomenon is not confined to Canada, but is widespread in North America and Europe.
In Scotiabank’s case, the group’s Executive Vice President of Digital Banking Shawn Rose has championed the move, trying to solidify the group’s position as a fintech leader and proponent of startups.
“It’s accelerating, that competitive fear. We don’t want to lose a day. It’s critical. The people we hire, they need a place to establish these routines,” he explained in a recent Reuters report.
As recently as December, the group announced a new cadre of leaders to help steer their fintech innovation moving forward. This included the appointments of Jeff Marshall (Canada), Fuencis Gomez (Mexico), Peru (Luis Torres), Daniel Kennedy (Chile), and Marcelino Herrera Vegas (Colombia), helping expand Scotiabank’s digital footprint in each respective country.