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DIGITAL BANKING STANDOUTS
In the final installment of a two-part series, Global Finance recognizes the best corporate/institutional and consumer Internet banks globally and in six regions, as well as an overall winner. We spotlight the financial institutions around the world that are leading the way in digital banking services that generate strong business results.
The winners of the 15th Annual World’s Best Internet Bank Awards were selected based on submissions from firms that sought to be considered. This year’s edition attracted 293 entries from banks from 116 countries around the world, up 17% from 251 entries last year.
Representatives from Infosys, a global consulting, technology and outsourcing solutions firm, made up the judging panel, providing input for final selections. The awards were presented to winners on October 28 at Global Finance’s annual gala awards dinner at The Harvard Club in New York City.
This year’s awards have gone to the global banks that are blazing a path of innovation and success in an increasingly digital world. The competition is stiff and the pace of change is rapid, but the top banks find ways to keep advancing and satisfying customers’ demanding digital tastes.
Criteria for picking these leaders include breadth of product offerings, success in shifting existing customers to online products and services, ability to acquire and retain new customers, and use of digital platforms to improve business processes, cut costs and deliver other measurable business benefits.
What attributes stood out about this year’s global winners? Continuing the trend of the past couple of years, the leaders are focusing on interoperability, consolidating platforms, and investing more on technology innovation in the digital space, according to Infosys.
“Almost all top-rated banks are providing more, and more-integrated, Web experience to their clients,” the Infosys team said.
On the commercial banking side, Infosys observed an increased focus on mobility, portal integration and dashboards by the leading players.
Here’s a glimpse at some of the award-winning banks and the Internet banking products and services that helped them get selected.
Citi was named the Best Global Corporate/Institutional Internet Bank and also won the Best Overall Internet Bank award. Among its initiatives, Citi has automated procedures that save time and cut costs in the mortgage application process and has invested in products to meet the growing demand for mobile banking, according to Don Callahan, Citi’s global head of operations and technology.
The CitiDirect BE (“banking evolution”) online commercial banking platform includes online customer support, cross-channel and product integration, wire transfers, and liquidity management and forecasting tools.
Wells Fargo, which won Best Global Corporate/Institutional Internet Bank in North America and five global corporate/institutional subcategories, was the first bank to launch corporate online banking capabilities like those in its Commercial Electronic Office portal. The CEO Office portal includes corporate mobile banking service CEO Mobile, online letter of credit initiation, online and mobile commercial deposits, and a dedicated online community for customers, according to Infosys.
The CEO Mobile service continues to generate rapid growth, with active users up 30% year-over-year. Wells Fargo’s CEO Mobile SMS application offers SMS alerts, fraud filters and reports. In social media, Wells Fargo has started eight corporate blogs since 2006.
In consumer banking, banks face intense pressure today to create the perfect customer experience for consumers who increasingly interact with their bank only through digital channels, never visiting a branch. “In the consumer banking front, the winning banks were able to understand customer emotions with the help of contextual analysis, which positively reflects on their go-to market strategy,” the Infosys team said. “Mobile banking is becoming disruptive in nature, reducing the relevance of all other channels.”
The winning banks are largely satisfying those demanding customers by innovating in key areas such as apps, social media, text banking, payments and more.
Standard Chartered was named the Best Global Consumer Internet Bank and also won three global consumer subcategories—for bill payment and presentment, integrated consumer bank site and information-security initiatives. The bank has 90% of its total consumer base enrolled in online banking. Its bill payment service attracted 2.5 million customer transactions in 2013. Standard Chartered offers the majority of its banking products online, and it is the only bank in the industry to provide complete straight-through processing for products applied for online, according to Infosys. It also uses social media as a two-way communication channel with customers and has a dedicated team of experts to oversee its social media efforts.
Stay tuned for information on the call for entries for the 2015 competition.