After years of neglect, the Iraqi banking sector offers promise once again. Mobile banking, trade finance and infrastructure financing opportunities are proving attractive to existing lenders and the wave of new entrants looking to break into the market. But, before the tide can finally turn, there are regulatory issues that need addressing.
Latest articles from Retail Banking
A strong economy and good governance have helped maintain healthy profitability at most of the Philippines' largest lenders, but with plans to establish a semi-integrated regional banking industry among the Association of South-east Asian Nations members – which would pit local institutions against much more mature banks – many are looking to diversify, both in terms of the products they offer and the customer base they serve.
There is an optimistic feeling among the CEOs of Spain's leading banks, as profits and domestic conditions improve. With the European Central Bank's imminent asset quality review expected to be passed with flying colours, the country's lenders are now looking beyond survival and towards growth, both domestically and internationally.
If the early 2000s were all about the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, now attention is shifting to the up-and-coming countries of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – the MINTs. And with rapid economic growth predicted, retail banks in these countries will be under enormous pressure to keep up.
China's leading e-commerce companies are using their wealth of consumer knowledge to tap into the country's state-dominated banking market, introducing innovative new products that threaten to overshadow the more conventional offerings of local banks.
Addressing the economic needs of the billions of individuals at the base of the global pyramid has long been seen as one of the great opportunities left for financial institutions. However, this section of society is now beginning to come up with its own solutions – thanks to a spate of 'reverse innovation' – leaving the large developing world lenders superfluous to its needs.
Competition and non-performing loans are rising among Russia's consumer lenders, but their profit performance is still well ahead of the rest of the Russian banking sector
With technology making data processing 1000 times faster, banks could find the cost burden of anti-money laundering rules a whole lot lighter. Alternative data storage platforms are starting to make current systems look cumbersome and slow, not to mention uneconomical.
The winners in the retail banking categories of The Banker's Innovation in Technology and Transaction Banking Awards for 2013.
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