Lifestyle Asia

THE FUTURE OF BANKING

It was a great pleasure to have been allowed to personally interview Mr. Hans Sicat of ING Bank and tackle the banking and finance industry. As an economics major myself, the banking industry is close to my heart and from time to time it is important to discuss some critical issues that affect us all, especially in these unprecedented times.

Here’s a question: How many times have you used online banking in these past seven or eight months? And how many times have you stepped into a brick and mortar bank? If the answer weighs completely on the former, then we’re all on the same boat. As we slowly reopen our economy, we are gradually seeing the benefits of growing our digital economy.

Like many industries across the globe, banking took a hard hit at the onset of the COVID-19 lockdowns. “We had perhaps the most unusual situation where both demand and supply literally just came to a screeching halt,” says Hans Sicat, Philippine country manager of the Dutch bank ING. “We’ve never had that problem before,” he adds.

Sicat is a trained mathematician and economist, with an illustrious career in the global capital market that spans three decades. But he had humbler beginnings: "Funny story when I was maybe just a toddler, my mother [thought] I wanted to become a garbage collector," saying that he would mimic the motion of loading the trucks while looking out the window. But he eventually had bigger dreams, moving up to wanting to become an astronaut.

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