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Q&A with Yared Endale

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Yared Endale, Senior Director – Digital Financial Services @Cooperative Bank of Oromia

How could you describe your career path in few words?

As an accomplished technology professional and leader, I have enjoyed a diverse and dynamic 17-year career path, which began as a teacher and has evolved to a Senior Director role in one of the biggest banks in Ethiopia. Over the years, I have gained extensive experience in IT projects management in both core systems and digital banking.

Having worked in the technology industry as a senior consultant and as a technology professional in the banking industry, I have developed a deep understanding of the banking industry and have been able to provide strategic guidance that has led to the success of several projects. I have honed my leadership skills, analytical thinking, and relationship-building abilities, which have helped me establish a solid reputation as a results-driven professional able to take on complex challenges with confidence.

As a Senior Director DFS, I have overseen projects that have transformed the digital banking landscape for the banks I worked for and the community. I am passionate about technology, which has allowed me to offer innovative and disruptive solutions, delivering them with passion and a strong ability to communicate complex ideas to staff, stakeholders, and other professionals. I am always looking for opportunities to leverage my skills in technology, projects management, and innovative thinking to tackle new challenges, and drive growth and success in the ever-growing tech space.

What are the highlights of banking transformations in 2022? can you give us some major examples?

  • Open Banking:

Banks are opening their APIs to third-party providers to offer innovative products and services to their customers. This allows customers to have a better, more personalized experience.

  • AI and Automation:

The banking industry is adopting AI and automation to improve customer service and streamline processes. For example, chatbots are being used to assist customers with basic account inquiries, and machine learning algorithms are being used for fraud detection and risk management.

Data and AI will differentiate winners from laggards. Banks that can leverage data and artificial intelligence to personalize customer experiences, optimize operations, and enhance risk management will have a competitive edge over those that lag behind.

  • Mobile Banking and Digital Transformation:

Banks continue to invest in the digital transformation. They are focusing in areas that can create value to the customer immediately. Hence the conversion to the digital banking has grown tremendously both in the volume of transaction and number of active users. Banks are offering more mobile banking options and are making it easier for customers to do their banking from anywhere using their mobile devices. This includes features like mobile check deposit, bill payments, and account management.

  • Contactless Payments:

Contactless payments have been gaining popularity in recent years, and it is expected that more consumers will be using this technology in 2022/23.

  • Digital currencies:

The use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin has been increasing. Many banks are now offering services to their customers to buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies.

In your opinion, what are the transformation axes that are becoming more important for banks in the context of 2023?

According to the financial brand and from my experience, below are the major transformation axes that are becoming more important in 2023:

  • Customer experience:

Banks need to deliver seamless, personalized, and omnichannel experiences that delight their customers and increase their loyalty and retention.

  • Fintech Partnership and Innovation:

Banks need to foster a culture of innovation that encourages experimentation, collaboration, and learning from failures. They also need to leverage emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, blockchain, and biometrics to create new products and services that meet customer needs and expectations.

  • Sustainability:

Banks need to integrate sustainability into their core business strategy and operations, as well as their risk management and reporting. They also need to support their customers and communities in achieving their sustainability goals and addressing the challenges of climate change.

  • Resilience:

Banks need to enhance their resilience to cope with the uncertainties and disruptions caused by the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, cyberattacks, and natural disasters. They also need to ensure their operational continuity, data security, and regulatory compliance in a dynamic environment.

Based on your recent experiences, and if you have one piece of advice to give for the success of digital transformation projects, what would it be?

One of the very critical aspects of digital transformation I have learned through this couple of years is, customer is the key. Listen to the customer before you create a product during digital transformation and make MVPs available to the customer to make it more relevant to them based on their feedback. Technology is the easy part now, getting the customer use it and scale is the issue, and if products start from the customer need, the rest will fall in place easily.

The other critical point is, Partnership. Any digital transformation attempt that is tried to be done in silos is a recipe for failure. Use the right partnerships and cocreate. We should bring what we do bet to the table and create strong collaboration for a successful customer centric digital transformation.

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