Technology has been useful also to expand the market horizons for banks, segment accordingly the service supply and thus meet people s growing demands. The world of micro-finances, community banks dedicated to the underprivileged- and increasing operations on cell phones have turned into bank inclusive tools which pave the way towards a society with equal opportunities for everyone
We usually think about interconnected global finances only when negative events occur. The subprime mortgage crisis which plunged the United States in recession in 2008 and stretched to most of the world economies proved that a turbulence arisen from domestic factors in the US economy made an impact on Europe, Asia, Latin America and virtually every last nook and cranny on planet. This had happened previously, in 2000, after the outburst of the so-called technology bubble, the first huge financial storm in the Internet era.
As a matter of fact, global finances are interconnected every day, around the clock. And the technology strides customarily adopted somewhat quickly by banks and stock markets, rather than favoring economic growth and bettering the quality of financial services, have worked to spread the effects of crises.
Banks started including technology innovations on a large scale and steadily in the 1960s, when the advent of a fully digital era was not anticipated. At a time when data processing required computer machines which took huge rooms, banks turned into the best-performing users of these technologies.
In due time, and in the course of time, such a proactive attitude in adopting innovations as they appear favored the conversion of the bank business as usual. In fact, the implementation of information technologies is among the main factors of change and adaptation of financial systems to the society wants and needs. It can be asserted in own right that technology truly is a strategic factor and an agent of structural change for bank and financial activities.
Thus, besides a financially interconnected world where any turbulence freely rides across geographical or political borders, technology globalization has played a pivotal role in growth, stability, efficiency and profitability of banks.
Bank customers and users are among the most benefitted from this trend. Venezuelan bank users can attest to it, because domestic banks have never lagged behind in the contested race for incorporating the advances of each chapter of the technology era. Indeed, Venezuelans first meet state-of-the-art technologies through the access given by banks. From ATMs to chip embedded credit and debit cards, to telephone and Internet banking, all these experiences are fully available to Venezuelans. In this way the current paradigm of bank services has become a daily routine: available services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, wherever the access to them.
Technology has also provided for safer transactions. Cash and checks, formerly the main lure for criminals, are falling into disuse. Debit and credit cards have made a quantum leap as to security by adding microchip technology. E-banking has proved to be a sound, reliable and resilient tool. Today, Venezuelans who have access to the web -an exponentially growing sector of the population year after year- have available in their offices or homes every service supplied by a branch office. Sometimes, they have even more choices than real visitors personally present in the branch office.
Technology has been useful also to expand the market horizons for banks, segment accordingly the service supply and thus meet people's growing demands. The world of micro-finances, community banks -dedicated to the underprivileged- and increasing operations on cell phones have turned into bank inclusive tools which pave the way towards a society with equal opportunities for everyone.
In a nutshell, technology innovations in the bank sector have been the pivot around which financial markets revolve. And, fortunately, the avalanche of new technologies comes precisely when cost reduction and efficiency requirements are an everyday occurrence in a more and more competitive society. Truly, cash becomes digital, but concomitantly with the use of financial services by users proficient in new technologies. For them, conventional banking is just the faraway memories of a happily overcome stage.
Translated by Adrián Valera