Technology in the financial services sector has been thrown into the limelight this week as the Co-operative Bank in the UK plans to offset the closure of a quarter of its branches by turning to digital technology. According to Liam Coleman, the Co-operative Bank retail and commercial bank director:

“While our branch network remains an integral part of our overall customer service offer, we are investing in our digital offering to provide customers with new, innovative ways to service their accounts as the trend for consumers to move their day-to-day transactions online accelerates.”

These branch closures – along with the shutting of five percent of the Royal Bank of Scotland branch network last year – highlight a revolution in the way consumers now interact with their banks. The ease with which people have adopted both online and mobile banking facilities has taken many banks by surprise. However, it’s now so easy and convenient to check bank balances, make transfers and deal with daily transactions via your mobile, there’s little need to go into a branch. With the shift to digital banking, it’s inevitable that data security will continue to be front of mind.

Data security was also leading the agenda at the White House summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection at Stanford University last week. President Barack Obama, as well as Apple CEO Tim Cook and many others, stressed the need for the public and private sector to work together in order to overcome the challenges of the information age. Although the President’s message was clear, calling for the creation of information sharing and analysis organisations, along with voluntary standards for organizations, bridges still need to be built between the government and the tech goliaths in the light of the Snowdon revelations.

In other news, Alibaba launched its enterprise messaging app DingTalk for SMEs. Although currently only available in Chinese, Alibaba has the ability to market the app to the 8.5 million active users on its e-commerce sites and it will be interesting to see if the company can move beyond its e-commerce roots.

Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention Huddle’s accolade from Business Insider earlier this month, naming Huddle one of the start-ups to bet your career on in 2015!

Alastair Mitchell

Co-founder

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