Amit Dua, President at SunTec: Financial Services Professional Comments on Role of ESG Initiatives in Banking Sector


As the banking landscape rapidly evolves, we decided to speak with Amit Dua, President at SunTec, a technology partner that claims to work with the world’s largest banks, helping them to improve their customer experience, pricing strategies, and ESG approach through technology-led solutions.

Amit has provided insightful perspectives on the future of account analysis in banking, pricing strategies, and the critical role of ESG initiatives in the banking space.

As we delve into the post-hype phase of ESG, the market is witnessing a paradigm shift. Banks across the globe are increasingly integrating ESG factors into their business strategies, making sustainability commitments, and striving towards achieving net zero goals. SunTec helps banks to actively support their corporate treasury customers and unlock new avenues for growth, revenue diversification, and sustainable business models.

Amit commented on the future of account analysis, particularly in the context of ESG, and why banks must take an innovative approach to account analysis and harness its potential to drive customer-centric solutions.

He touched on the concept of Green Earnings Credit Reconciliation (ECR), which goes beyond traditional earnings credit and allows banks to partner with carbon credit marketplaces. He will highlight how this approach empowers corporate customers to offset their carbon footprint and support sustainability projects.

Our conversation with Amit is shared below.

Crowdfund Insider: How has the pandemic shifted customer banking needs?

Amit Dua: The pandemic has completely shifted the banking industry by pushing a full digitization of services when customers could not go to their local bank branch. Overnight, banks had to enable full account opening to client servicing digitally. Customers had to learn to navigate and meet their financial needs without the hub of a physical banking branch that has defined the banking industry for decades.

While this is in the wheelhouse of many younger banking customers, older demographics that have come to rely on in-person services that banks offer, such as financial planning, were left in the dark. Owing to financial pressures, customers also started expecting the banks to help them with better control of their finances and more transparency and trust in their interactions.

While technology has brought banking to our fingertips – banks still need to find a way to connect with their customers. It’s up to banks to humanize their in-person and digital offerings to meet a wide range of customer demands across demographic groups. While previous models of banking relied heavily on in-person interaction, it was not necessary human-centric. Retail banking existed primarily as a transaction-centered process – governed by the rules and regulations set forth by market factors.

The pandemic has seen a shift towards what the bank of the future could look like. Instead of a transactional focus, many banks are now shifting their sights to a customer-centric model. Banks are realizing that they can unify digital and in-person experiences to serve their increasingly diverse customer bases. Fundamentally, banking is about human beings and human interactions. I suspect we will see future industry shifts to expand in-person services and modernize branch banking to support the wide range of services that customers can now access digitally.

Crowdfund Insider: What are the benefits of in-person interactions over digital experiences when navigating financial planning?

Amit Dua: The future of banking lies within the effective and innovative use of technology to meet increasingly complex customer needs. However, it is important for banks to put the human experience at the center of business planning to ensure that digital experiences are a complement – not replacement – of robust in-person offerings. In-person interactions can humanize confusing financial topics like retirement planning, wealth management, mortgage advice, etc. through tailored financial literacy programs that help customers achieve their goals. Having branch banking staff that understand the specific needs of those in their community cannot be replaced by digital technology.

Especially in the case of a diversifying customer base, people want to meet and feel comfortable discussing their financial matters with trusted financial custodians in their community. This connection is impossible to achieve between a customer and their phone. In-person banking interactions also encourage habitual behaviors. Customers feel more compelled to interact with a bank’s full range of features when they have standing appointments with in-person banking branch staff. Not only does prioritizing in-person interactions meet customers where they are at – but they also encourage full engagement with a bank’s varied product offerings.

Crowdfund Insider: How can bank branches successfully engage digital strategy to reach customers?

Amit Dua: The past few years have demonstrated the importance of fully developed digital banking systems. It is important for banks to ensure that this new strategy of digitization has the personal, human-centric touch at its core. Banks striving to be at the forefront of innovation must start with buy-in from senior leadership that extends downward to every aspect of banking operations. Branch bank employees must understand how a bank’s digital offerings can help customers at a localized level.

Banks must also engage a human centric UX design approach to ensure the success of their digital offerings. It is imperative to prioritize customer touchpoints that deliver value and understand the requirements and behaviors of the wide range of modern bank customers. Accounting for cultural and regional differentiators to develop and execute segmentation strategy will aid in keeping a personalized touch to a bank’s digital strategy.

Crowdfund Insider: How is AI impacting banking strategy to reach customers? Are customers responding well to this shift?

Amit Dua: Emerging AI technology has been adopted by the banking industry to provide more services across their digital channels and expand the volume of customers their services can reach, but there is risk of AI technologies being impersonal. Customers are already missing the trust-built human connection in hyper-digitized banking experiences.

Instead of relying solely on new technologies, it is important for banks to develop and provide empathy-driven experiences to drive customer happiness. AI is useful to address regular customer inquiries and common requests, but a bank’s suite of solutions should be as diverse and varied as possible. Customers are approaching banks with an increasingly complex range of financial matters, and AI is not always able to keep up with these needs in a personalized, tailored way. AI will continue to be central to the development of a bank’s digital offerings, but it must always be looked at as a tool to advance the humanized approach of modern banking.

Crowdfund Insider: Where do you see the state of bank branches in the next five years?

Amit Dua: Post-Covid, banks have had to reckon with a slew of branch closures due to lack of profitability and productivity. However, as financial matters become increasingly more complicated, customers will seek out in-person, tailored support from their bank’s financial experts to ensure full financial wellness.

Banks can also take this opportunity to use digital channels to further drive customer engagement at bank branches. Offering face-to-face support alongside digital channels will continue to serve specific customer segments. And, as banks bring in a more diverse range of customers, offering localized services at bank branches is an important step in making sure your bank’s growth strategy is fully intertwined with serving its wide range of customers and their specific needs.

Crowdfund Insider: What does the bank branch of the future look like?

Amit Dua: The bank branch of the future will be a hub of financial support and expertise that unites in-person services with digital channels. Customers cannot experience the full support a bank branch provides merely through their phone. Future bank branches will provide a human-centric experience that can understand the complexities and needs of local customers. In-person banking experience will continue to provide a pivotal role in the development of financial trust between banks and their customers.

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