How Asian banks handled the situation arising out of the outbreak of COVID-19 is something worth emulating by banks around the world that are still amid the crisis and experimenting with initiatives, says an article appearing in “McKinsey Insights’, an online compilation of research studies carried out by McKinsey’s senior partners.
The study says financial institutions in countries initially affected by the pandemic moved quickly to safeguard their employees, transform their operations and serve customers in new ways.
“By focusing on 3 imperatives - ensuring business survival, fulfilling social responsibilities and adapting to the new normal - banks can minimize disruption and continue to provide vital services to their customers,” says the study, maintaining that the actions by the Asian banks could offer a valuable template for banks around the world, now in the grip of the situation created by the pandemic.
The study says Asian banks moved quickly to shore up their operations and implement new approaches to mitigate operational disruptions. They prioritized several areas to identify issues or obstacles to business continuity and then experimented with new solutions and ways of working. And then, in order to guide the pandemic response, many of them formed a response-management unit composed of executive-level, cross-functional teams. These teams were empowered to make key decisions as well as communicate COVID19 responses quickly and effectively across the organization, says the study.
“Asian banks also had to shift to remote working for most employees, a move that required IT to ensure the organization’s infrastructure and systems could support such a shift. In defining remote and work-from-home setups, bank executives considered both the level of human interaction required for certain tasks and the degree to which work can be segmented and individualized,” says the study.
It cites the instance of a Southeast Asian bank, which moved the work setup of its 125-member product development team completely off-site over the course of 2 weeks. “The team first implemented no-regrets moves, such as reinforcing best practices in handling data, and then defined a clear set of actions across key operating models to enable fully remote work. The actions were shaped by various business-continuity planning scenarios, ensuring operational continuity while supporting similar levels of productivity,” adds the study.
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