Speaking at the Empire Club of Canada in Toronto Tuesday, the chief executive of Canadian Bank of Imperial Commerce (CIBC), Victor Dodig, said the bank is studying technology underlying digital currencies such as Bitcoin as traditional lenders brace for disruption from new entrants in the financial services industry.
But, as the Canadian Press reported, Dodig said he does not think emerging financial technology firms are a threat to banks, and that doom-and-gloom rhetoric is exaggerated.
Dodig said collaborating with new startups is vital for banks looking to innovate.
His comments follow CIBC’s announcement on Tuesday that it is the first major Canadian bank to participate in suretap, a mobile payment application that allows users to store a range of payment cards on their smartphones.
“We want to be where our clients are, and our involvement in suretap reflects our commitment to delivering banking and payment services that are easy, personalized and flexible,” said Todd Roberts, CIBC’s senior vice president, Cards and Payments Innovation, in a press release. “CIBC is the leader in innovation in banking, and this strategic partnership brings value to our clients by making it easier to pay with their phone.”
Some of Canada’s major wireless carriers – Bell, Rogers, TELUS, Koodo, and Virgin – are offering the suretap wallet across a number of Android and BlackBerry mobile phones, with other devices slated to follow by the end of the year. With the wallet, CIBC costumers can store any CIBC-issued Visa or MasterCard credit card on eligible smartphones available from the participating wireless providers.
By joining suretap, CIBC has given consumers the option of using another application in addition to the bank’s own mobile payments app.
“We want to enable client choice,” said Roberts to the Globe and Mail. “We think it’s going to be a good additional means for clients to transact.”
Jeppe Dorff, Suretap’s president, told the newspaper that “we have additional national banks lined up that we are working with, and I anticipate some time through late summer and into December, we’ll be rolling these out.”
Victor Dodig’s photo: Via CIBC’s Media Centre