Continuity and customer-centricity: Mashreq’s technology platform in action
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Ellis Wang, EVP, Technology, Transformation and Information at Mashreq Bank joined Richard Banks, Editor, Euromoney LiveStream (remotely) to talk about the banks’ investment in and drive towards a digital-first future.
Euromoney:What’s your background and why did you join Mashreq
EW: I come to Mashreq from a technology background, not a banking one. I have worked at tech companies like Google, Intel and Alibaba. I am excited to be helping the bank in its drive towards the development of a real open banking platform.
Euromoney: As CIO what are your areas of responsibility at the bank?
EW: Mashreq redefined the traditional role of CIO to be responsible for technology, information and, very importantly, transformation. We are committed to leveraging the bank’s existing technology platform to ensure we remain a competitive institution going forward.
Euromoney: What have you learned from the experience of the pandemic?
EW: We learned very quickly the importance of being able to operate the bank from the cloud and become almost fully digital at speed. We had to move away from face-to-face to digital in order to maintain client service and we managed to do this quite successfully thanks to our investment in digital technology.
Euromoney: What does digital first and customer-centric mean to you?
EW: We focus on ‘digital inside’ to improve both our end-to-end business process and ability to operate efficiently under all conditions. We also have a ‘digital outside’ focus which concerns our improving our overall ability to serve customers, particularly those who traditionally use physical branches and meetings. This external or ‘outside’ focus is new for bank technology functions which historically have focused internally.
Euromoney: What is unique about Mashreq Bank’s attitude to technology?
EW: I was really surprised when I joined about how focused the bank at all levels on understanding technology and how it impacts our business. This is particularly clear when you consider how Mashreq is absolutely committed to moving from a traditional model of financial service to a new one of platform or open banking. We intend to be able to work with multiple marketplaces in areas such as e-commerce in order to create a one-stop service to all our clients.
Euromoney: How do you manage technology risk?
EW: As a bank we always put risk and security as priority one. We have built a robust governance, risk and compliance (GRC) framework into which technology is natively integrated.
Euromoney: What excites you about the role you have at Mashreq Bank?
EW: What excites me is how we can use technology to help people to manage the new normal post-Covid. This could be quick loan approvals or healthcare payments. We also want to make our customers’ live easier. This means we need to focus on people as much as we foucs on technology. People are at the heart of everything we do – we must remember that.