Technological Transformation of the Banking and Financial Services Sector

Our life has been transformed by the positive effects of technology. Technological innovations have simplified our life. The changes are visible in every sector. The Banking and Finance sector are among one of those sectors which have completely changed due to technological innovations. Nowadays, we use several advanced banking and financial services like Internet Banking, ATM Transactions, Core Banking Services (CBS), Electronic Funds Transfer, and Cashless Transactions while shopping. These are just a few examples of the changes experienced.

The banking services mentioned above have become a common way of life. A few decades ago there were not even a concepts as such in the banking and financial services sector. More recently, people used to hesitate while using these types of services. They were concerned about the security of their personal information as well as their money. But, secure security implementation techniques in the delivery of such services, packed with time sensitive results encouraged people to leverage the benefit of these services and the use of these services has increased year in year.

To provide a interactive and user friendly service, banks and financial institutions have adopted the most recent technological trends. Queuing at banks is a thing of the past; nowadays customers can enjoy various facilities at the doorstep of their banks and at other locations. Phone banking and SMS banking services can also keep customers updated with the status of their money, investments and offer an array of additional services.

Consumers can use most of the banking services anytime and nearly everywhere. You can transfer funds, pay utility bills, deposit your insurance premiums, and shop online with the assistance of online payment facilities and technology to access these services. Stock or share trading is also not spared with the changes in technology Stock brokers or even everyday normal buyers can have an almost instant up-to-date update and status of the market status of stocks of their interest. They no longer need to wait for newspaper, news channel or need some fancy program.

Most consumers have accepted these significant change in the banking and finance sector. The early adapters are more experimental and they are more willing to accept anything that can make a significant difference in their daily life. One of the best examples of the change in consumer behavior is the global popularity of social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace and the micro blogging website twitter. Just another reflection of how consumers are more readily accepting technology and innovative changes to enrich their life’s or make it easier and more convenient.

Do Banks and Financial Institutions Usually Require Probate Before Releasing Funds?

Upon the demise of an individual, family members are seldom ever able to lay claim to his estate without first producing what is known as a probate certificate or document. The probate documents are those which authorize a person to look after the estate of a demised person to whom he is related, in usual cases the child of the deceased or the spouse of the deceased. It is imperative on the part of children and spouses of deceased persons to go ahead and procure probate documents from the court and to produce these before banks and financial institutions in which the deceased held accounts, in order to be able to access the money in these accounts.

Failure to produce the probate documents means that family members of the deceased person cannot lay claim to the money in his bank, unless of course he nominated a certain member of his family to access this money. The probate document cannot be secured by a person himself and he will have to hire the services of a legal officer in order to help him secure such a document in the first place.

How can you get a probate form

The probate forms are widely available online and can be downloaded on computers in a relatively easy manner. The time taken to download such a document ranges between ten to fifteen minutes depending upon the internet speed in a person’s computer. Once the probate forms have been downloaded one has to take a print out and get these attested from a court of law. They have to be filled up and a time consuming legal procedure has to be followed in order to finally obtain the probate from the court. The probate is generally delivered to its recipient in person.

What after receiving a probate

Once the probate has been received the concerned person can present it to the bank or the financial institution at which the deceased held an account. Upon verification of the probate documents and a few other identification documents such as a passport, the bank will release the money in the account or open a new account in the same of the heir of the deceased or the spouse of the deceased.

Thus, securing a probate with the help of a lawyer is most definitely necessary for a person in order to be able to access the financial belongings of his deceased relative or kin.

Is the Banking and Financial Crisis Over? And Why You Should Care

The Dow has just rallied to within striking distance of 11,000 (a level it crashed through a year ago and only momentarily surmounted in April of this year). Corporations are posting record increases in profits (after plummeting for the past 2 years) and the rate of unemployment appears arrested. A slew of new rules and regulatory platforms have been executed promising to protect the greater public against loose and unchecked profiteering at the expense of economic integrity. Though it may be a nervous smile, at least there has been reason to do so. But, is the crisis over? And, what exactly is the crisis?

If this week’s jobless report of an addition of 95,000 claimants is any indication, then I would say that the crisis is hardly past us (despite the DOW surmounting 11,000). Although, one can’t pin the blame for this crisis on the banking & financial domain entirely, it did lead the way to the precipice and ignite the conflagration. The crisis, so to speak, is really in two respects: at one level it deals with really just the recession. It’s synonymous with unemployment and the general gloom in the economy and its perception will lift once the elusive robust economic activity resumes. The other respect is of a broader and deeper nature. There is a crises of repetition. There is an unshakeable frustration that these scandals keep repeating and keep getting bigger. A plethora of reactionary-legislation has been written now and in the past, yet it has never been able to prevent the next disaster. Remember the Junk Bond scandal, the Asian Crises, Savings & Loans, the Internet Bubble, the Enron & WorldComm bankruptcies, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and countless other legislation. If history is any indicator, the current Banking Reform Act is another piece of after-the-fact fixes that yield little and the industry will work some way around the laws. In fact, the increased cost of regulation will likely prompt a wave of mergers and acquisitions that will create bigger banks and financial companies with bigger problems (along with too big to fail). The University of Massachusetts’ PERI Institute has made the following statement after researching the current financial reform…

“While there are positive moves there are some serious omissions as well. First, there is little to no discussion on the reform of off-balance-sheet activities… Indeed, given the importance of the shadow banking system in terms of credit intermediation, fostering procyclicality of the system, and given the high degree of concentration in the market, it is likely that the shadow system will be the fault line for any future bank run. In this event, what will be the appropriate response? Will money market funds be allowed to break the buck? Will the Fed and Treas-ury once again be called to backstop the system, and at what terms? At the moment, reform legislation is avoiding the question entirely, or leaving it implicitly up to the discretion of the FSOC or other bodies with little or no examination of the pros and cons of alternative arrangements.”

In conclusion, the paper says, “The Senate Bill is a step forward in financial reform. It is nevertheless seriously lacking in several areas”. This should not come as a surprise. The crux of the matter is that we are dealing with symptoms of a greater problem while the problem remains unaddressed. We keep promulgating new laws while not resurrecting principles. This should be fundamental and pivotal to every American citizen. I believe one gaping hole is that there is not a robust citizens platform to influence financial reform. And there remains too deep a complexity/comprehension gap between the layman and the expert with respect to how the a system that is meant to serve the layman works. Here’s a couple of principles that should be core to reform:

> The Fed should not be owned by banks. It should remain independent of the government but should have a wide governing body including academics and what we can term as ‘ordinary’ citizens.

> Resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act which separates the Banking, Investments, and Insurance industries thereby avoiding over-complications and retaining a competitive landscape.

> Activities like off-balance sheet accounting should not be permitted at all.

These, among many more. So, the crises, so to speak, remains – past the recession.