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Since early 2020, industries have been struggling to survive following the sudden outbreak of COVID-19. This turbulent period has become a major test for the products, operations and risk management capabilities of banks. On the other hand, the outbreak has prompted banks to accelerate their efforts in the areas of online operations and digitalisation, and more digitalised banks are being rewarded for their efforts.

In recent years, banks have been attempting to develop innovative ideas and implement practices in line with their digital transformation strategy, across topics such as Internet banking, intelligent finance, digital financial inclusion, open banking, and agile operations. While such initiatives previously may have been viewed as “nice-to-have” strategic options for long-term growth, they have since become “must-haves” for banks that want to ensure future success.

Banking industry leaders are now starting – or should be starting – to consider:

What will future banks and their business models look like?

How can we reshape organisations, technologies, personnel and products to build these capabilities for the future?

What capabilities should banks have to meet future challenges?

Are there any generally accepted standards for these capabilities?

To answer these questions, this report summarises the leading practices of banks inside and outside China, and provides the OPTICS system to bankers based on real-life case studies and statistics. OPTICS is an evaluation system for future banks covering six dimensions: Organisation, Product and Service, Technology, Information and Data, Calibre, and Spend. This system is designed to help the industry understand current dynamics and to clarify the path towards a more digital, smart and open future.