Banking board members have no real understanding of the digital world

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In the world of banking, which is going digital as fast as it possibly can, it is shocking to read that board members within the banking community are lacking knowledge and skill when it comes to technology.

The good news is that this is changing. The bad news is that it is not changing fast.

Right now, only 10% of Board Directors and 10% of CEOs have technology experience. Yet, banks are there to advise and arrange every type of financial transaction, from huge loans to mergers and acquisitions. How can they possibly advise on transactions in the digital world if they do not know how it works.

Indeed, how can directors understand their own digital transformations without a knowledge of the risks and rewards of digitalisation?

A Board Member might defend this statistic (from a report by Accenture) by saying that banking is all about people. Yet, more and more, people are becoming digitally focused and making decisions based on technology.

Even shovelling away the heap of hype surrounding a new technology such as AI, many decisions are already being taken by AI-based tech.

Lower down the ranks, it is a decent bet that line managers have technology experience, which means that they are better placed to understand the new world than their bosses – and that cannot be good.

While banking has been put into the spotlight by this report, it is a fair bet that other sectors are suffering the same naivety when it comes to technology and digitalisation. The now-famous quote from a BBC reporter that ‘telecoms is very good at helping other industries go digital, so why is it so bad at doing it itself’ comes to mind.

While banks, one of the most trusted pillars of society, lack the technology experience at the top of their organisations, it only increases the risks they face from Neobanks. These wholly digital and digitally minded upstarts are on their trail. Unless the big decision-makers in the banking world properly understand the tsunami of threat heading their way, there is little doubt about the outcome of that fight.

An image of a slow motion car crash comes to mind.

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