CLAUDIU MUREŞAN, PRESIDENT OF THE BANKING ACTIVITY COMMISION OF THE SENATE:"Customers of the banking sector will force the digitalization of public institutions"

GEORGE MARINESCU (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section / 23 iunie 2021

"Customers of the banking sector will force the digitalization of public institutions"

The digitalization of the banking sector will have beneficial public sector effects, as banks' customers will force public institutions to digitalize their work, claims Claudiu-Marinel Mureşan, President of the Committee on Budget, Finance, Banking Activity and Capital Markets in the Senate.

"Cost cutting, improving performance in the relationship with customers, the performance of banking systems will have an underlying complex educational system in order to draw up and perfect a future digital world like we wall want. When I say an educational process, I am thinking of the opportunity that all of the representatives of the banking system have to teach the current and future bank customers to use the services and products that have underlying digitalized processes. In doing so, with having the experience with the banking sector, one that is digitalized and efficient, people, customers, will force the remaining institutions, including the public ones, to digitalize", said Claudiu Mureşan.

The president of the Senate Commission for budget, banking activities and stock market has shown that during the pandemic there have been many requests from customers in the banking system and in other areas, who were looking for new, digital solutions for making payments, in order to reduce manual intervention.

"I would give as an example here ING, which has been, since 2018 - when it basically abandoned operations in its branches - a bank that is 100% digital, meaning that the customers' requests align with the direction that all of us want. Thus, the future means that we need to consistently abandon paper forms and to be able, as customers, to send notifications directly into the payment portal", said Claudiu Mureşan.

He mentioned that computerization is an essential thing, but if the economy isn't allowed to exit the deadlock as soon as possible, things will get even more complicated.

"The crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic all over the world has accelerated processes which began a long time ago but which had a slow evolution. I am referring here to automation, digitalization or the implementation of remote work. (...) Thus it is found that there are a few winning industries in this economic complicated, unfavorable economic context, caused by the lockdown. I am referring here to the IT industry and everything that pertains to the IT industry and all that concerns digitalization. Companies that used to think of digitalization as something that could wait have been forced to embrace digital transformation and put it on fast forward. Electronic trade has flourished in this complicated period, and as we can see couriers are struggling to fulfill orders in a strongly upwards trend. History has taught us that generally, situations of social crisis have either led to war or to the acceleration of technological development. We are in one of these moments now, a moment where fortunately, humanity has chosen the path of developing the technological processes. If we analyze all of these situations in the past, we will find that all the visionaries that find themselves capable to adapt again, to reinvent their businesses and to identify the opportunities in this period of crisis will be the great winners", said the president of the Committee on Budget, Finance, Banking Activity and Capital Markets in the Senate.

He stated that the digitalization of the public sector was important, a process which need to be sped up and extended as soon as possible and which would bring benefits both to the state and the private sector.

"We see the acceleration and expansion of the digitalization of the tax administration as a way to stop the decrease in budget revenue, obviously taking under consideration the stated intention of the Government and the Parliament not to raise taxes in the coming period. It is obvious that digitalization in the public sector means less bureaucracy. It is just as obvious that this will make the life of the private sector easier and will lead to the reduction of costs in the public and private budgets as well. Many private companies have been forced to move to digitalization, over night, since the beginning of the lockdown to survive. Public institutions have also taken some praiseworthy steps in this direction, at least for the duration of the state of emergency and the state of alert. But there is obviously room for improvements and the digitalization measures taken during the states (ed. note: of emergency) imposed by the pandemic need to continue, to become the new normal when those states end", said senator Claudiu Mureşan.

Mr. Mureşan mentioned that the solidity of the budget in terms of the increase in tax receipts depends on financial discipline in a fiscal regime that is as fair as possible, corroborated with the expansion of the taxation base. That is why, the digitalization of the tax collection system is essential and thought out in relation to the comprehensive reform of the public administration.

An essential role in the digitalization of the economy, according to Claudiu Mureşan, was played during the pandemic by the telecommunications operators, who are in a constant race of keeping up pace with technological innovations, to streamline and increase the efficiency of their own operations, especially amid rising pressure caused by the pandemic crisis. He claims that, since telecommunications is one of the sectors where technology basically dictates the pace of things, it is natural for the telecom industry players to be concerned with the automation and digitalization of the way in which they are interacting with the banking system and its customers.

The president of the Committee on Budget, Finance, Banking Activity and Capital Markets in the Senate said that in the coming period, a constant concern for MPs will be creating legislation that encourages investments in peak infrastructure, in technology, basically software and hardware, aimed at this digitalization process.

"Digitalization needs to be perceived as a necessary, natural element in the evolution of things and a desideratum that must be achieved, which can only be done in the context of a stable, transparent and non-volatile legislative and fiscal framework. Telework, digitalization, the implementation of the new technologies will radically change the Romanian society overall, as well as society on a global level, will make the activity of many companies more efficient and will influence the future structure of the labor market and more. That is why digitalization needs to be an objective, a desideratum of ours, of everyone of us", said Claudiu Mureşan.

He also said that the members of parliament support the widescale implementation of the electronic signature, which is a necessary measure for the economy in the context of the digital reform.

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