Digital transformation demands faster, more adaptable business banking

BMO Business's Dev Srinivasan explains that just as technology transforms businesses operations, it's also changing what businesses need from their banks

October 19, 2018

Technology has had such a huge impact on the economy – and it’s also changing the way commercial banks are serving their clients. Businesses need to get to market faster, which means they need a banking partner that can keep pace, says Dev Srinivasan, Head of Canadian Business Banking for BMO Financial Group. He explains how BMO Business is adapting – including the launch of business express, which can auto-adjudicate loans of up to $1m.

In the second part of this interview Dev discusses the customised approach that BMO Business takes to serving clients in the agriculture, healthcare, and technology sectors; then in part three he explains BMO’s five business beliefs and how they’ve improved client relationships.

Dev Srinivasan: Technology has had such a huge impact on not only our overall economy, but the businesses that we’re serving in the commercial bank right now. So, if you think about the speed with which our clients are getting to market right now, how there’s a shift from people doing labour towards machines, and that sort of thing. It’s a massive impact, change in cost. You can be global no matter where you’re located now. It is really changing the industry.

The technological advancements that have occurred in the industry are really changing the dynamic in terms of what banks need to bring to the market right now, in that… if you think about the speed with which we need to respond to our clients, if you think about the type of structures that are needed to support this new industry, and the new way of doing things. Clients really need more adaptability now from their banks. And we believe that we’re bringing leadership on that front.

One of the bigger advancements that we feel is leapfrogging us in the market right now is the launch of business express. So to give you an idea of what this is, for small business clients – so, clients borrowing less than $1m – we now have the ability to auto-adjudicate. So using technology to essentially determine the risk and grant the loan in under 30 minutes.

So if you think about the impact that has on a business, that is perhaps maybe cashflow tight. The ability to go talk to suppliers and say, we have a loan committed to us, in that short a period of time, is a huge value-add.

I think the biggest thing that the bank can do to support clients in this environment is to really understand. Understand the differences in the economy today, in business today – versus even 10 years ago. If you think about banking as an old industry – many hundreds of years old – and the changes that have happened in the last 10 years are significant.

So, making sure that we’re understanding the pressures that our clients are facing, and also what the industry is doing, is hugely important.