Efficiency Remains Coin of IT Realm


Improved efficiency remains the focal point for two of the leading global banks, according to presentations by their respective chief financial officers during Barclays’ recent Financial Services Conference.

There is still much work to be done to modernize portions of JP Morgan Chase’s infrastructure, said Marianne Lake, CFO of J.P. Morgan Chase during her presentation.

“Yes, it is about better products and services that are cheaper, quicker, and faster for clients, but it is also a lot about efficiency for us,” she added.

Of the $10.8 billion the bank spends on technology, Lake estimated that nearly half of its spend, 45%, is on changing the bank.

“We are working on all of the new erring technologies, be it artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, and big data,” said Lake.

Although the bank might go below its 55% overhead ratio, she noted that there is an efficiency ration that would be healthy given the mix of business that the bank has and which it is willing to invest.

The secret to approving a $11 billion technology budget is not to, Lake advised. “You approve individual business cases, and you manage at the granular level.”

For fellow presenter, Citigroup also indicated that lowering internal cost is a priority as well as deepening client relationships and disrupt existing business models.

The bank is in the midst of 25 blockchain projects that will share technology across its franchises, according to John Gerspah, CFO of Citigroup.

“These investments both deepen our client relationship, improve our cost to serve, and are critical to achieving our return goals,” he said.

As a return on its investment, Citigroup has shrunk the time it takes to onboard institutional clients from 30 days to two days.

It was a matter of how the bank accesses information, analyzes it, and drives it through its systems, according to Gerspah.

“If you take a look at the various activity steps and the different groups involved in any process, there are places where information goes off into two or three separate channels, and the information gets recycled,” he said.

Citigroup simplified its KYC process by identifying the necessary critical path required after examining detailed process maps.

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