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July 20
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Interview with Vadim Gerassimenko IT Strategy Advisor “ARMBUSINESSBANK” CJSC.

The IT team of the Bank is developing modern solutions for digitization of banking services. How would you describe a digital bank?

Simply put, a contemporary bank should fit into the screen of a mobile phone. This is not a vision or concept, but a clear requirement of the end customer. We, the customers, are used to the high quality of online services of the leading technological companies, and banks have to follow the trend: attractive and simple user interfaces, around-the-clock service, instant payments and rich feature set is something that any modern bank needs to offer.

How do you see the present and the future of the banking system in parallel with the improvement of digitization process?

Currently, the banking system in many countries is experiencing a shift as the volume of online and card payments continues to increase, leading to a reduced need for physical touchpoints and paper money circulation. Some countries are even discussing the possibility of transitioning to a fully cashless economy.

This ongoing transformation is fuelled by digital payments, digitized governmental resources, digital identification and signature, artificial intelligence, biometric identification, and the emergence of international frameworks such as GDPR and PSD2. These factors are opening up new opportunities for the industry's key players.

Looking towards the future, it is encouraging to see that Armenia has developed a digitalization strategy at the state level. This approach is to bring significant benefits to the economy, people and banks, and sets the up-to-date guidelines for the evolution of the banking system.

But why do banks need to digitalize? Are the customers’ requirements essential in this regard?

Yes, they are. 

The banking sector and products are complex and continuously challenged by the fintech companies and rival banks, therefore the ability to provide customer-tailored services and quickly design and release products is strategically important.

The banks can no longer rely on off-the-shelf solutions, used for decades.

I would even say that it drives the banks to morph into IT companies with financial products, as it is a race without a finish line: continuous improvement and development must be a part of the organizational DNA.

How would you describe the IT strategy? What are the similarities between the processes across different banks and what helps “ARMBUSINESSBANK” to be competitive?

A well-defined blueprint for adopting innovative architectures is essential for a successful transition from A to Z. Although this blueprint may vary across different banks, there are some key areas that remain consistent: API-based integrations, migration from monolith solutions, reasonable cloud adoption, transition from batch to real-time processing, and optimization of business rules.

On the software-design level, key enablers include distributed architectures, backend and frontend frameworks, open-source technologies and machine learning.

This transformation is further supported by adopting agile methodologies and technologies, such as continuous integration and deployment, which allow for a more efficient and predictable in-house engineering.

We also believe that partnering with innovative fintech companies offers great potential to deliver value-added, high-quality products and services for our customers. This collaboration enables the bank to stay competitive in the ever-evolving financial landscape.

Incorporating a combination of these enablers into our strategy paves the way for a more agile and adaptable banking ecosystem.

In fact, around-the-clock remote servicing is concerned, and thus issues related to the safety of the processes, safe digital transformation emerge…

Yes, ensuring the security and safety of our customers' investments is essential for us. As a bank with a large customer base, we understand that our activities significantly impact society. Reputation is a major asset for a bank, which is why we work diligently to improve technology, processes, service quality, and security simultaneously, striving to create a better bank. Some changes may take longer to implement, but we have a vision and will continue to enhance our digital services.

Reliability, Security, Anti-Money Laundering, and prevention of financial crime are our top priorities, alongside achieving our business goals.

As you noted once, a desired result will not be attained without the will and commitment of the people no matter the innovative projects or changes introduced.

The most important part of our success, indeed, is our team. We've made significant progress over the past year thanks to the talent, hard work and dedication of our team members. Although there's still a long way to go, we have a plan and a team capable of making it happen. Together, we're focused on building a good, fair, and modern bank for everyone.

And even more, we were delighted to recruit young Armenian specialists who have improved their education and enriched their experience abroad but now are creating new added value in their homeland, breaking the stereotype about Armenian talents achieving success out of Armenia.

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