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Isabela IBRAIM, Director Digital Banking at OTP Bank Romania

Isabela IBRAIM, Director Digital Banking at OTP Bank Romania

1. What are some of the major challenges and trends that have been impacting the Banking space lately?

The banking industry is undergoing a radical shift, driven by increase in customer demands, changing business models, cyber-attacks, regulation and compliance requirements and disruptive technologies.

One of the leading banking challenges is related to security breaches that increased significantly in the past years and banks must continue to invest in the latest technology security measures to keep customer and their financials safe.

In the same time clients are becoming more and more demanding by requesting personalized and qualitative services, fast and reliable. Millennials have led the charge to digitization pushing banks to invest in Omnichannel banking, latest technologies and Mobile banking. Other generations prefer more human interaction and physical branch visits. Therefore, banks had to adapt to serve all generations leading to a hybrid banking model that include both digital experiences and traditional bank services. The success here comes from offering clients mobile AI assistant or digital services for basic needs focusing branch experts into offering the right consultancy and financial products.

It is not enough just to have a mobile application to manage bank products or have a corporate website. The key is how we save clients time and efforts by offering fit for purpose information, online journeys for acquiring bank products and services in the comfort of their home and mobile experience fast, easy to use with live chat, digital assistance, secure, and regularly updated in order to keep customers satisfied.       

2. What keeps you up at night when it comes to some of the major predicaments in the Banking space?

Leading the Omnichannel team in OTP Bank Romania, I have a strong focus on creating the right balance between aligning our product and services to regulatory requirements, creating the best customer experience and building trust. We look to leverage customer data to provide a personalized banking experience, redefine call center strategies and agents to be able to deal with complex customer needs, and identify opportunities for digitization, including process digitization and intelligent automation.

All of this is a market in which Fintechs are offering streamlined banking solutions, security issues, fraud increased and digital mindset and appetite for buying an online loan still needs to be educated among customers. 

3. Can you tell us about the latest project that you have been working on and what are some of the technological and process elements that you leveraged to make the project successful?

In line with our digital payments strategy, OTP Bank Romania has launched "OTP POSibil" - a new service which allows merchants to accept card payments directly on their mobile devices without the need of a physical POS terminal.

This new technology called “Software Point of Sale” or “Soft POS” enables our customers to install the bank’s application (available for download in Google Play Store) on their mobile terminals with Android operating system, which ease the acceptance of Mastercard and Visa card payments, performed through physical plastic or digital wallet.

“New technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) will have the greatest impact on banking in the future and will help banks to significantly reduce costs and build optimized processes.”

 After "OTP POSibil" installation, the customer will use the access data received from OBR via e-mail and SMS, according to the "Card Payment Acceptance Agreement" previously signed. Once installed, the application provides easy-to-use services for all involved parties and, at the same time, a better customer experience. This modern payment solution addresses merchants who need mobility, speed and flexibility in their activities such as: home delivery, transport (taxi, shuttle, etc.), as well as courier companies.

Lending products were improved to ease the access to funding for private individuals both for cash loans and mortgage loans, achieving better time to yes and enabling our sales staff to contribute with a proper value proposition to our clients. New end to end online process for cash loan was launched offering to our potential clients an easy to use alternative for taking a loan.

Moreover, launching 100 percent online on boarding journeys for companies & individuals were launched.

Using mobile banking product, OTP clients can experience a full stack of transactions helping them to perform payments, deposits, fast top up of their account (money magnet).  Last year we have invested in adding “digital card” feature for all new OTP clients that allow them to make immediate online transactions until the physical card is received. In the same time, clients have access to preferential FX rates, BNR Rate, investments and in the near future to a new way of accessing the platform, a new way of interaction with OTP Website and Chabot’s for client support.  

4. What are some of the technological trends which excite you for the future of the Banking space?

New technologies like Blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) will have the greatest impact on banking in the future and will help banks to significantly reduce costs and build optimized processes. Video based technologies are also in focus if I am thinking on financial consultancy or why not even buying online products or performing daily banking operations.

5. How can budding and evolving companies reach you for suggestions to streamline their business?

One of OTP Bank Romania strengths is being always near entrepreneurs, startups, people that are at the beginning of building a dream. We are well known for the best consultancy and services from branches, for trying always to find solutions instead of classical “you are not eligible”. We treat each customer with respect, openness and flexibility. In the same time, we offer excellence customer services through call center department or digital channels. We don’t see problems; we see opportunities of working together as partners, or growing together as business.  

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