IBS Journal June 2018


Temenos CEO David Arnott addresses the forum

Everyday occurrences at the fictional (and of course, digital-only) Bank of Cork included the use of Temenos’ redeveloped treasury system, embedded analytics and touched-up front office dashboard.

The Temenos team acquitted itself well, considering presentations of this sort are usually accompanied by cringe-worthy acting. The story thread took viewers through every section of the fictional bank’s strata, including retail, corporate, treasury and marketing. A particular highlight saw Mark Gunning, Temenos business solutions director, play the role of a buzzword-happy CEO, spouting phrases like “touch base” and “get our ducks in a row”. Perhaps Hollywood calls for Gunning in the future?

Titanic transformation

Among a series of case studies into the application of Temenos software, the presentation from Ezequiel Szafir, CEO of Santander- owned Openbank, created the best reactions from the crowd. Openbank has more than one million customers in its Spanish heartland, and is planning ventures into South America, with an initial focus on Argentina.

The venture is one of Santander’s ‘Speedboats’ – projects with start- up culture, led by figurehead CEOs – and selected Temenos and its T24 core banking system in 2017. The bank also went on to add Temenos’ WealthSuite.

“There comes a time when two generations of technology meet,” Szafir said. It doesn’t happen very often, but is happening today. Consumers, he added, will slowly but surely migrate away from the same old technology towards more innovative offerings. Despite financial services innovating for the past 50 years, there are still many things that remain the same, according to Szafir. He displayed a picture of a Venetian bank from the late Medieval period, and then switched to an image of a bank branch today. In each there’s “one teller, three pillars and a long queue”.

Banks used to have the enviable position of being able to set the pace of change, he said, but now they are facing more challenges

than ever and have failed (so far) to adapt to a changing landscape. Ubiquitous access to the internet and an “exponential increase” in computing power and storage capacity has meant that banks should be hurrying to innovate before things pass them by.

“What sunk the Titanic?” asked Szafir. “A monster called stupidity sunk the Titanic.” He showed an image of the ill-fated ship, alongside a series of timelines. The sheer amount of time it took the ship to react after the iceberg had first been sighted meant it was already sunk. It was, in Szafir’s words, “14 minutes of denial”. The analogy easily transitions to banks, he added. How many banks must have pre-meetings, scheduled briefings, organisational roundtables and risk assessments before any action can be taken? By then it may already be too late.

So, with all that in mind, why did Openbank select Temenos? Being a “core banking software house” was not in the bank’s interests. It wanted to focus on the customer relationship, which meant that everything had to be kept in the front office. The bank went looking for a “modern core banking system that is digitally enabled”. Since in-house systems are, in Szafir’s opinion, “anything but agile”, Openbank aimed to choose a cloud-based core banking system from the get-go.

Tier 1 technology

Away from the presentations, IBS Journal got the chance to sit down with some members of the Temenos management team. Steen Jensen, managing director for Europe at the firm, took the brunt of the questioning when it came to the vendor’s activities with its Tier 1 clients. Nordea has gone live on nearly one million accounts using T24, yet rumours swirl that the project is behind schedule. Bank of Ireland, another major client, has hired a former Westpac exec to steer its own T24 implementation.

No news is good news, was Jensen’s summary. If anything was being handled badly, he told IBSJ, then news would have escaped very quickly. Since there have been no major headlines, it’s safe to assume the projects are moving along steadily.

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