Global Finance readers gathered in London to discuss the exciting—and disruptive—changes being wrought to the industry by new technology.
It’s been over a century since Marconi first networked the world with a paradigm-shattering invention that eventually gave England the BBC. Hence, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) was a fitting venue for the Global Finance Digital Bank Conference, a gathering to explore the impact of the latest paradigm-shattering network.
Oliver Richards, managing director of the world’s largest mobile innovation and design studio, Monitise Create, set the tone for the day by sharing his thoughts on what banks can learn from other industries to better engage with customers.
“Today digital experiences are easy to use, local and informed,” stated Richards. “Tomorrow’s promise to be personal, frictionless and intelligent.” Citing casual dining, sports and auto examples, he revealed how digitalization lets companies become lifestyle enablers rather than service providers. He highlighted the opportunities created by Big Data and artificial intelligence for banks to create financial management products—but saw mortgages and wealth as areas where banks are missing opportunities.
The day’s first panel, “Realizing the Value of Digitalization,” focused on areas where banks have seized opportunities, with panel members showcasing apps.
Gürhan Çam, digital generation banking senior vice president with DenizBank, explained how DenizBank’s fastPay wallet lets Turks transfer money from cellphone to cellphone on a 24/7 basis; it also lets clients withdraw cash from ATMs and make payments to member merchants in Turkey—without using a card.
Maxim Evdokimov, vice president for mobile at Tinkoff Bank, provided a whistle-stop account of how the Russian bank has grown from Tinkoff Credit Systems Bank, with physical credit cards, direct mail and call centers, to the mobile-focused bank that it is today. Tinkoff Bank offers apps for its customer base and beyond—Traffic Fines, for example, is the most popular app in Russia, with over five million customers using it to check and pay for speeding violations.
Ruchir Rodrigues, managing director, digital banking and commercial performance, Barclays Bank, highlighted Barclays account opening and unsecured lending success stories and how its Launchpad app lets customers and fintech developers help shape Barclays’ mobile banking services by allowing them early access to new features.
David Fernandez, manager of segments and digital services at CaixaBank, says the Spanish bank’s online growth trends suggest mobile will be the most important channel for banking in just two years—which explains the recent launch of a banking service available only via mobile and social networks, called imaginBank.
Moven, an app-based financial service provider, enjoys four-star-rated reviews of its app, with North American users making more than 40 interactions per month. Sameer Mital, director of digital services, EMEA, Moven, says most areas of banking are already morphing from product to experience, and as products disappear, the experience itself will be the new product.
For Moven, this means providing context within experiences, such as encouraging impulse saving and adding an emergency credit platform for tracking and managing finances. This provision of real-time insights has caught the eye of traditional banks, who have partnered with Moven to provide its money management tool to such customers as Toronto’s TD Bank, which has labeled the app TD MySpend, and New Zealand’s Westpac, which has incorporated it into its CashNav app.
Digitalization opportunities present banks with security issues, and Kirill Slavin, general manager of Kaspersky Lab UK and Ireland, provided a rundown of current and future security challenges. Although beefing up security can seriously improve bottom lines for banks, Slavin says long development cycles of between two and eight years make cybersecurity ever more taxing for them, but even more crucial for banks to focus on evolving mobile threats by actively tracking them.