14 June 2018

There's a revolution underway in banking

Last June I had the opportunity to attend the Digital World Business Congress (Madrid), a conference aimed at discussing the most innovative and cutting-edge technology companies as well as the most disruptive products and solutions.

I was pleased to see the General Managers from Spain of some amazing companies like Revolut (a fintech with a total employee growth of 40 % since the turn of the year) and neobanks like N26 (one of the fastest growing mobile banks in Europe). I could identify both General Managers because they were in their late twenties/early thirties, wearing jeans and a very casual outfit in contrast to other smartly dressed speakers.

They practice what they preach... a new way of communicating and understanding the future of banking that goes beyond established protocol rules.

Here are my main takeaways:

"The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow."

Rupert Murdoch

Banking is changing. Digital transformation is affecting all the industries and definitely the impact in banking is huge. Whereas established banks are struggling to adapt themselves to new ways of working and discard the “silo-mentality”, new disruptive and agile companies like N26 & Revolut are driving innovation and moving forward at the speed of light by offering its customers best-in-class products.

If you can't beat them, join them

Established banks are being pushed towards a healthy collaboration with fintechs. The new start-ups & 100% digital companies will generate vast new horizons of business opportunities. Banks are learning to work with fintechs by preserving a good symbiosis and not by acquiring [killing] them , they are making an effort to work together and create simplified processes and solutions that bring added value to the clients.

Technology is changing business

There is a very exciting scenario when it comes to improving onboarding processes in banking due to the possibilities that the latest technologies offer: artificial intelligence, chatbots, business intelligence and especially blockchain due to its application on real-time global payments.

Digital banking is here to stay

The account switching rate in banking is increasing year after year due to the wide range on offer. Clients are shifting from choosing a bank based on location, tradition and reputation to a preference for more technologically advanced organizations (mobile payments: see Monzo, digital management of personal finances, open bankingapps..).

What's next? Beyong banking...

In comparison to traditional banks, disruptors are empowering the clients by giving them freedom and transparency. Fintechs offer a low entry barrier (online verification process in a few minutes using the latest technology such as facial recongition) but also enhancing a fast disconnection if needed. Fintechs are changing the future of money by continuously creating new immersive experiences built up around a global and highly-connected lifestyle (foreign/free exchange, flexible insurances plan, cryptocurrencies, easy investment...etc).

Customer centricity and innovation

What are successful teams doing? Design is becoming a mindset. They are designing from a customer-centric and data driven perspective. They are building simple, fast, intuitives, personalized and enjoyable experiences. They respond to disruption without losing the human touch.

The game is on! Financial companies strive to meet very complex and demanding legislation (open banking, GDPR...) and only those who are ready to change fast will find the opportunities within the threat.