Adam Walendziewski, director of digital platforms agile centre, ING Bank Slaski, a digital bank of distinction this year, tells global finance about the ways the bank promotes a ‘digital first’ strategy.
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Global Finance: Can you describe ING’s “digital first” approach?
Adam Walendziewski: We’re trying to make our services more digital, adaptable and personable. Digital is easier and faster for clients. When we introduce new products and services, we ask if a paper process is still needed. We’re trying to move all new customers to electronic processes. We believe we can offer better solutions in a digital format, because customers can adapt our services to their needs. For instance, a customer who handles loans could log in and immediately see the loans that are current, the dollar amounts, and applications for new loans.
GF: What challenges are inherent in a digital-first approach?
Walendziewski: One is security. We always have bad guys who are trying to steal money and find products or services they can compromise. Getting rid of all gaps is a constant process. We can’t forget about that. We can’t think everything is okay. Educating end users also is important. We’re trying to push more and more info to end users. We give them information on new threats, and remind them not to, for instance, leave hardware tokens with their computers.
GF: What have been the benefits of a digital-first approach?
Walendziewski: It’s what clients want. We have many early adopters. The Polish market is quite adaptable. Some 99.77% of all payments are done electronically. We’ve had a good year by going more and more digital. [According to the bank, net profit increased 11% between 2015 and 2016, and total assets grew by about 8%.]
GF: What characteristics of ING as a company help its digital efforts?
Walendziewski: It’s a combination of our culture and an innovative way of working. We’re trying to adopt new features and functions as quickly as possible. We don’t always need to be first in line, but we want to be smartest in developing new features and finding the best solutions for our end clients.
GF: What does digital transformation mean for a bank?
Walendziewski: The whole bank is thinking digital first. It’s not just the front end, and entering information, but the back end as well. One example is the borderless solution, in which clients need one gateway to enter any ING product. We’re also thinking about how to adopt solutions from other providers while keeping our quality of service. A challenge is integrating them and making sure they’re working. We successfully implemented in Romania a solution that had been previously developed and implemented in Poland. This is an example of how cooperation and the exchange of know-how between companies under one brand should look.
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