“There is no skepticism about blockchain in banking. It’s about cryptocurrencies” – Hermes Bank deputy GM J. Williams

“There is no skepticism about blockchain in banking. It’s about cryptocurrencies” – Hermes Bank deputy GM J. Williams

2018 for those involved in the financial world started with big news on BitCoin: after reaching its max price at more than 19000$ in December, the cryptocurrency dropped to around 11000$ recently. For some people, this signaled the end of “crypto hype”, experts who were skeptical about BTC from the very beginning rejoiced. However, the price drop could also be interpreted as a normal stage in development of a new currency and many market players are still optimistic about it. To make things clear, we decided to talk with Mrs. Jeanelle Williams – deputy GM of Hermes Bank.

Hermes Bank(HB) last year was quite active on blockchain: most importantly, you announced that you were working on partnership with Ripple and Stellar – blockchain technology providers. So, what does HB see in blockchain? The financial industry seems very skeptical on it, but you are not. Why?


Firstly, I would like to make something clear: there is a big difference between blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. What our industry is skeptical about, is cryptocurrencies. They are unregulated around the world, there is no clear way of determining their worth and, of course, there is a huge amount of scams – for example, it is extremely hard even for an expert to determine if an ICO(Initial Coin Offering) is genuine or not. And there is like a 100 new ICOs every month. Of course the recent price drop of BitCoin added quite a lot to the skepticism.
However, what our industry is not skeptical about, is blockchain technology. There is so many applications for it in banking that almost everyone is working on implementation of blockchain right now, including Hermes Bank, of course. We should expect security improvements and cost-base reduction in financial and banking sectors in the nearest future. You could safely say that – at least for the coming years – blockchain will be one of the top technological trends.

 
So what is blockchain for Hermes Bank? Is it just a new security measure or do you see this technology as part of your long-term development strategy?

Right now it is more about security – we, of course, aim to provide our clients as much security as it is technologically possible today. However, we try to be open to more large-scale implementations of blockchain in the international banking system. In 2018 we are planning to attend most of the major industry events around the world, from Money 20/20 Asia and SWIFT Business Forum in spring to SIBOS2018 and InvestPro in autumn. And blockchain, surely, will be talked about on all of them. For us such events are a great way of both communicating with the industry and pushing our own agenda. We hope that 2018 will be very productive in terms of creating new partnerships – some of them around blockchain technology, of course.

 
Any blockchain-relared plans on smaller scale? On the regional level, maybe

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On the regional scale you could divide our efforts between two main areas. Not all of it is about blockchain, but it is still a significant part of our development strategy.
So, first area is, obviously, improvement of our services. As I’ve already mentioned – we are interested in implementing blockchain technology in our systems. To achieve that, right now we are working on entering a parnership with Stellar and Ripple. Second area is regional development – we are actively participating in spreading cutting-edge banking technologies through Caribbean region. We try to achieve that by both working with our colleagues and local governments.

Mrs. Jeanelle Williams is Hermes Bank Deputy General Manager. Mrs. Williams joined HB team in 2017. Since then, with her interpersonal skills she managed to improve cooperation between divisions inside the Bank, identified and improved processes and information flows.

Mrs. Williams also represents Hermes Bank both on international events and in mass media, due to her excellent communication skills.

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Hermes Bank Limited
1 Bella Rosa Road,
Rodney Bay
BW Box 332, Gros Islet
Saint Lucia, W.I.

Tel: +1 758 451 2265
Tel: +44 121 740 0128
Fax: +44 131 464 0321