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Taking the Right Technology Initiatives

By Jawahar Kaliani, Deputy CIO, Department of Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

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Jawahar Kaliani, Deputy CIO, Department of Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) recently published a white paper, entitled “Supporting Responsible Innovation in the Federal Banking System: An OCC Perspective.” The paper describes the agency’s effort to develop a framework for identifying and understanding financial service innovations affecting the federal banking system. Financial technology, or fintech, enables many new services within the financial services industry that have the potential to better serve consumers, businesses, and communities. The Comptroller’s goal in developing a framework is to ensure that national banks and federal savings associations integrate the use of innovation responsibly.

"Vendors need to ensure that they bring real value around each element—people, process, and technology"

At the OCC, we have exploited technology to make the submission of internal reports, applications, and business forms easier by enabling one-click certification, or digital signatures, for electronic submissions. Employing technology smartly to tackle this basic need eases the burden on employees, saves the agency time and money, and maintains the integrity of the submission.

  Providing Holistic Mechanisms 

A leading technology challenge is balancing mission needs while continuing to enhance the agency’s overall cyber-security posture. To succeed, organizations have to change from viewing cyber-security as simply an issue of compliance to viewing it as part of our core mission and part of the service life cycle of a product or service.

Technology vendors need to provide holistic mechanisms to manage their product or platform that cover development, security, and operations in an integrated way. Technology vendors must also better understand the business and environment of their clients. In financial regulation, that means being proactive about new regulatory requirements, industry development, and financial supervision needs.  

Keeping up with the Technology Trends 

One major shift that is having a big impact on how we develop and deploy solutions results from demographic changes as much as it does from technology changes. Generational shifts in the workforce are demanding universal, mobile connectivity. The OCC, like most organizations, is trending toward making the enterprise mobile-enabled and always connected. The future for us is to prepare for the bank examiner and bank supervision of 2020. To deliver the solutions that will allow the agency to ensure banks are safe and sound, we need to understand and use the advantages offered by cloud computing and big data. Where cloud computing provides greater power without fixed costs, big data gives us the opportunity to identify and assess patterns through techniques that can provide powerful knowledge to better inform the supervision of banks and thrifts.

Fostering Success

A federal organization, like commercial entities, needs a strategic partner that is customer-centric. Technology leaders need to be trusted advisors for a business and to champion the mission needs of an agency. Vendors need to ensure that they bring real value around each element—people, process, and technology.

More over, people are major assets of a superb learning organization, and knowledge is the main differentiator between an organization being a leader or a laggard. The key characteristic of a successful team is having technology and business teams work collaboratively to deliver a solution that effectively meets mission critical needs. After engaging with staff and peer groups, I generated initiatives around N.I.C.E. to encourage conversations that set the tone for our business delivery:

• N – Be nimble in our delivery
• I – Be innovative in our engagement
• C– Be customer centric and shift from a technology-centric view
• E -- Engaged employees mean everything

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