Monday 18 June 2018

Bank of Ireland's UK boss sees big tech firms as main rivals

Bank of Ireland Photo: Bloomberg
Bank of Ireland Photo: Bloomberg
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Big technology companies present the largest challenge to conventional banks, the head of Bank of Ireland UK has said.

CEO Des Crowley said Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple were his main competitors.

"The biggest challenge comes from comes from Gafa - Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. We are no longer just competing with banks," he said in an interview with 'Business Leader'.

He said this was good for consumers, but very challenging for the incumbent banks.

"And I include ourselves in that. We are heavily regulated by the regulatory authorities. We have to hold a lot of capital. At the moment, the likes of Google and Amazon are not regulated and do not have to hold capital."

Big tech firms will benefit from the move to open banking.

Open banking will allow people to share their data across multiple suppliers and allow non-banks to say to customers that they could get a better value proposition than from the Bank of Ireland, Mr Crowley said.

"Most of us have banked with our current bank for a long time.

"Open banking will be prompting customers to say that they could get a better deal elsewhere.

"It is taking the aggregator model we have seen in financial services and further personalising banking." Mr Crowley revealed that Bank of Ireland UK has a balance sheet of £23bn (€26.18bn) and about 2.2 million customers.

It trades mainly in consumer markets such as deposits, mortgages, pre-paid debit cards, foreign exchange, and personal credit cards.

It provides banking services for the post office network in Britain.

"We cannot compete head on with the big six banks.

"We also don't want to be characterised in the same way as the other challenger and mid-tier banks."

He said the bank has distinctive position and that is why people knock on his door seeking a link-up.

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