Banks are fighting to differentiate themselves digitally with a plethora of new, non-traditional services for corporate clients and individual consumers.

Author: Gilly Wright

When Ant Financial refers to Alipay, its digital wallet and payments solution, as a lifestyle platform, it’s neither an oversight or an overestimation. Users can hail taxis, book hotels, buy movie tickets, pay utility bills, make appointments with doctors and purchase wealth management products directly from the app. Alipay’s evolution from a digital wallet to a lifestyle enabler has attracted 700 million active users in China, helping it become the most used app in the world, excluding social media. 

Alipay also provided banks a glimpse of the dangers posed by Amazon, Google and Facebook, should they expand into financial services with a similar array of offerings that match lifestyles rather than dispensing generic, off-the-shelf banking products.

Data is the key to providing personalized lifestyle services, says Christian Ball, head of retail, GFT UK, which designs IT solutions for financial services companies; whether through aggregation or enhanced information, banks must be able to provide a competitive customer experience. “In the next 12 months or so, that’s going to end up being a me-too,” he says, so while it’s critically important, it’s not going to move the needle on bank performance: because they are all going to have to have it.”

Rather than simply helping customers buy a house by selling them a mortgage, going forward, banks could also offer the same customer other services related to a home move such as solicitor valuations, decorating, building and furniture, Ball suggests.

As well as tapping into the financial demands underlining major life moments, banks can help customers live their daily lives, wherever it impacts their finances. Russia’s Tinkoff Bank, for example, which notched eight wins in this year’s Best Digital Bank Awards, including Best Corporate/Institutional Information Security and Fraud Management, recently acquired a stake in Kassir.ru, a Russian ticketing service, so it can offer customers a choice of movie, theater and concert bookings. A new Entertainment section to the Tinkoff.ru platform also allows customers make restaurant reservations.

Compatriot Sberbank, which took five awards, leverages customer data, algorithms and machine learning to power its Tips tool to make lifestyle-based predictions of future spending. This enables it to make tailored, proactive suggestions that can inform financial decisions matched to the customer’s profile and goals.

Methodology

The winners of the Global Finance Best Digital Bank Awards are chosen based on entries provided by financial institutions. Entrants are judged on breadth of product offerings, success in migrating customers to digital platforms, acquiring and retaining new customers, and the use of digital technologies to improve business processes, cut costs and deliver other benefits. Each entry is analyzed by a team of digital and banking experts at Infosys. All final selections are the responsibility of Global Finance.

A new app from Thailand’s United Overseas Bank, TMRW, helped the bank earn Most Innovative Digital Bank for Consumers. TMRW crosses into the world of games by letting customers grow their own virtual city though saving, encouraging active use of the app. TMRW also reminds customers of important payments coming up and displays their spending patterns, encouraging them to make smarter spending and saving decisions.

To hammer home the active role that banks can play in customer lifestyles, Emirates NBD Bank, which won three awards  in the UAE, launched its Liv app, which offers services designed around the customer’s lifestyle, education, finances, mental and physical well-being. When customers exceeded their spending limit, Liv recommends free activities. 

Chatbot Armies 

Earlier this year, Liv added Olivia, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot. Olivia joins an ever-growing regiment of virtual assistants, including Standard Chartered’s Stacy; Tinkoff’s Oleg, Aida, from Sweden’s SEB; and TD’s Clari. Bank of America’s chatbot, Erica is a veritable virtual assistant veteran, having surpassed 6 million users and completed more than 35 million client requests as of last March.

These chatbots use available customer data to provide an instant self-service channel for customers, which banks hope will change the way they interact with their financial services providers over time. Standard Chartered’s Stacy, for example, has been trained to answer over 400 banking-related questions and learns through each interaction how to further fine-tune its capabilities.

“TD’s investment in conversational AI is part of our strategy to empower customers with deeper insights into their financial decisions as they make everyday purchases or prepare for big life moments,” Rizwan Khalfan, TD’s chief digital and payments officer, said on launching Clari early this year. TD took home four Consumer awards in the North American region this year.

Pairing data collected from customers with predictive analytics opens the way for other innovative services; TD, for example, offers a digital program that identifies customers who could save money by shifting to a different type of account. Predictive analytics can also help banks in customer service, marketing and security. Advanced data analytics help determine whether transactions flowing through the bank’s systems match a client-specific behavior profile and issue alerts when fraud is suspected.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) help banks move away from legacy integration limitations, allowing them to add services, products and capabilities for corporates as well as customers. Citi Treasury Trade Services (TTS), for example, provides real-time data to business clients via API with its CitiConnect API Developer Portal and file testing portals. Corporate clients receive real-time information and payment capabilities delivered via APIs directly to their back offices.Citi, which invests heavily in digital, earned numerous Digital Bank Awards.

Information portals, debuted by DBS with the launch of Treasury Prism in 2017, are opening up another new dimension of service for corporate clients. DBS has likewise invested heavily in digital banking and won multiple awards, including Most Innovative Digital Bank on the Corporate/Institutional side.

AI is also helping banks tailor new information services for clients in specific industries. Dubai-based Mashreq Bank, which won two awards this year, partnered with publisher MEED (formerly Middle East Economic Digest) last year to launch an industry-specific portal providing unique and specialized content for the construction sector while Citi recently launched an information portal that informs clients about industry-specific trends and issues that could impact their business. Citi’s Knowledge Exchange Center enables clients to access the latest TTS market intelligence across geographies, products and sectors.

Documentation And The Cloud

Banks are venturing even farther afield in the quest to differentiate their digital services from the competition. With robotic process automation, for example, banks can help stem the tide of paper into corporate treasury departments by simplifying, streamlining, automating and digitalizing more processes. Automation and cognitive technologies accelerate business growth by enhancing digital customer experiences, improving operational efficiencies and increasing staff productivity.

In December 2018, Tinkoff Business began offering Document Builder, whose 1,400 templates help entrepreneurs to rapidly create legally accurate documents within a short time, from an application to register as a sole proprietor to a power of attorney. Tinkoff Accounts, a mobile app for sole proprietors, allows easy filling in and filing of tax returns, including an electronic signature. Tinkoff Business even offers a website builder that enables companies and entrepreneurs to create new websites in minutes.

Poland’s mBank, Best Digital Bank in Poland, is developing a “branch in the cloud” to support clients’ operational needs, including video face-to-face interaction and an “ebanking desktop,” that provides video connection to mBank’s relationship managers, foreign exchange, trade finance and cash management specialists.

The need to keep delivering new digital solutions is driving banks to foster innovation. In 2014, Wells Fargo launched its Startup Accelerator, a hands-on program that create solutions for financial institutions and enterprise customers. Citi Ventures is Citi’s vehicle to hook up with fintech talent while BBVA’s  API_Market provides fintechs and other third parties a sandbox to test products in synergy with the bank.

Innovation tends to focus on improving the cost, speed, security and convenience of solutions for banks and their clients. Biometric authentication via fingertips, facial and voice recognition not only provide greater security but save customers time and effort. Digitalization helps banks sell products at a lower cost. While competition will continue to be fierce, continuing development of digital innovations will be critical for banks.  


WORLD’S BEST DIGITAL BANKS 2019 — ROUND 1

BEST DIGITAL CORPORATE/INSTITUTIONAL BANKS

Africa — Country Winners

Algeria Citi
Cameroon Citi
Congo (DRC) Citi
Côte d'Ivoire Citi
Djibouti CAC International Bank
Gabon Citi
Ghana Ecobank
Kenya Citi
Morocco Citi
Mozambique Banco Unico
Nigeria Citi
Senegal Citi
South Africa Citi
Tanzania Citi
Tunisia Citi
Uganda Citi
Zambia Citi

Africa — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Online Cash Management Citi
Best Information Security and Fraud Management Millennium BIM
Best in Mobile Banking Citi
Best Mobile Banking App Citi
Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
Best Open Banking APIs Citi

Asia-Pacific — Country Winners

Australia Citi
Bangladesh Citi
China Citi
Hong Kong Citi
India Citi
Indonesia Citi
Japan Citi
Malaysia Citi
New Zealand Citi
Pakistan Citi
Philippines Citi
Singapore Citi
South Korea Citi
Sri Lanka Citi
Taiwan Citi
Thailand Citi
Vietnam Citi

Asia-Pacific — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Online Cash Management Citi
Best Trade Finance Services Citi
Best Online Portal Services DBS Bank
Best Online Treasury Services Citi
Best in Mobile Banking Citi
Best Mobile Banking App Citi
Most Innovative Digital Bank DBS Bank
Best Open Banking APIs Citi

Central and Eastern Europe — Country Winners

Belarus Alfa Bank
Bulgaria Citi
Czech Republic Citi
Estonia SEB Estonia
Georgia Bank of Georgia
Hungary Citi
Kazakhstan Citi
Latvia SEB Latvia
Lithuania SEB Lithuania
Poland mBank
Romania Citi
Russia Tinkoff Bank
Slovakia Citi
Ukraine Citi

Central and Eastern Europe — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Investment Management Services Sberbank
Best Online Cash Management Tinkoff Bank
Best Trade Finance Services ING Bank
Best Online Portal Services Tinkoff Bank
Best Integrated Corporate Banking Site ING Bank
Best Information Security and Fraud Management Tinkoff Bank
Best Online Treasury Services Sberbank
Best in Mobile Banking Bank of Georgia
Best in Social Media Marketing and Services Sberbank
Best Mobile Banking App Citi
Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
Best Open Banking APIs Citi

Latin America — Country Winners

Argentina Citi
Bahamas Citi
Brazil Citi
Chile Banco de Chile
Colombia Citi
Costa Rica Citi
Dominican Republic Citi
Ecuador Citi
El Salvador Citi
Guatemala Citi
Haiti Citi
Honduras Citi
Jamaica Citi
Mexico Citibanamex
Panama Citi
Paraguay Citi
Peru Citi
Puerto Rico Citi
Trinidad and Tobago Citi
Uruguay Citi

Latin America — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Investment Management Services Citi
Best Online Cash Management Citi
Best Trade Finance Services Citi
Best Online Portal Services Banco de Chile
Best Integrated Corporate Banking Site Citi
Best Information Security and Fraud Management Bancolombia
Best Online Treasury Services Citi
Best in Mobile Banking Citi
Best in Social Media Marketing and Services Citi
Best Mobile Banking App Citi
Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
Best Open Banking APIs Citi

Middle East — Country Winners (With Sub-categories By Country)

Bahrain Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank Citi
  Best Online Cash Management Gulf International Bank
  Best Trade Finance Services Ahli United Bank
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
  Best Open Banking APIs Gulf International Bank
Egypt Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank Citi
  Best Online Cash Management Citi
  Best Trade Finance Services CIB
  Best Online Portal Services CIB
  Best Information Security and Fraud Management CIB
  Most Innovative Digital Bank  Citi
  Best Open Banking APIs Citi
Israel Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank Israel Discount Bank
  Best Online Cash Management Israel Discount Bank
Jordan Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank Citi
  Best Online Cash Management Arab Bank
  Best Trade Finance Services Arab Bank
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
  Best Open Banking APIs Citi
Kuwait Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank Citi
  Best Online Cash Managemen Ahli United Bank Kuwait
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
  Best Open Banking APIs Citi
Lebanon Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank Citi
  Best Online Cash Management Citi
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
  Best Open Banking APIs Citi
Palestine Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank Bank of Palestine
  Best Online Cash Management Bank of Palestine
  Best Integrated Corporate Banking Site Bank of Palestine
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Bank of Palestine
Qatar Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank Citi
  Best Online Cash Management Commercial Bank of Qatar
  Best Trade Finance Services Commercial Bank of Qatar
  Best in Mobile Banking Citi
  Best Mobile Banking App Citi
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
  Best Open Banking APIs Citi
Saudi Arabia Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank NCB
  Best Investment Management Services Samba
  Best Online Cash Management Samba
  Best Trade Finance Services  Samba
  Best Online Portal Services NCB
  Best Integrated Corporate Banking Site NCB
  Best Information Security and Fraud Management  Samba
  Best Online Treasury Services Samba
  Best in Mobile Banking  NCB
  Best Mobile Banking App NCB
  Best in Social Media Marketing and Services Samba
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Samba
  Best Open Banking APIs NCB
UAE Best Overall Corporate/Institutional Digital Bank Citi
  Best Online Cash Management Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
  Best Trade Finance Services Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
  Best Online Portal Services Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
  Best Integrated Corporate Banking Site Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
  Best in Mobile Banking Citi
  Best Mobile Banking App Citi
  Most Innovative Digital Bank  Mashreq
  Best Open Banking APIs Citi

North America — Country Winners 

Canada Citi
United States Wells Fargo

North America — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Investment Management Services Wells Fargo
Best Online Cash Management Citi
Best Trade Finance Services Wells Fargo
Best Online Portal Services Wells Fargo
Best Integrated Corporate Banking Site Wells Fargo
Best Information Security and Fraud Management Wells Fargo
Best Online Treasury Services Citi
Best in Mobile Banking Wells Fargo
Best in Social Media Marketing and Services Wells Fargo
Best Mobile Banking App Wells Fargo
Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
Best Open Banking APIs Citi

Western Europe — Country Winners

Australia Citi
Belgium Citi
Denmark Citi
Finland Citi
France Citi
Germany Citi
Greece Citi
Ireland Citi
Italy Citi
Luxembourg Citi
Netherlands Citi
Norway Citi
Portugal Citi
Spain BBVA
Sweden Citi
Switzerland Citi
Turkey Yapi Kredi Bank
United Kingdom Citi

Western Europe — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Online Cash Management Citi
Best Integrated Corporate Banking Site Novo Banco
Best Information Security and Fraud Management Millennium bcp
Best Online Treasury Services Yapi Kredi Bank
Best in Mobile Banking Citi
Best Mobile Banking App Citi
Most Innovative Digital Bank Citi
Best Open Banking APIs Citi

BEST DIGITAL CONSUMER BANKS

Africa — Country Winners

Botswana Standard Chartered
Côte d’Ivoire Standard Chartered
Djibouti CAC International Bank
Ghana Standard Chartered
Kenya Standard Chartered
Mozambique Banco Unico
Nigeria Standard Chartered
Tanzania Standard Chartered
Uganda Standard Chartered
Zambia Standard Chartered

Africa — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Online Deposit, Credit and Investment Product Offerings Standard Chartered
Best Bill Payment & Presentment Standard Chartered
Best Web Site Design Standard Chartered
Best Integrated Consumer Bank Site Standard Chartered
Best Information Security and Fraud Management Standard Chartered
Best in Mobile Banking Standard Chartered
Best Mobile Banking App Standard Chartered
Most Innovative Digital Bank CAC International Bank
Best Open Banking APIs Standard Chartered

Asia-Pacific — Country Winners

Australia Citi
Bangladesh Standard Chartered
Brunei Standard Chartered
China Standard Chartered
Hong Kong Bank of China Hong Kong
India ICICI Bank
Indonesia Standard Chartered
Japan Rakuten Bank
Malaysia Maybank
Mongolia Golomt Bank
Nepal Standard Chartered
Pakistan Standard Chartered
Philippines CIMB
Singapore DBS Bank
South Korea Standard Chartered
Sri Lanka National Development Bank
Taiwan Taipei Fubon Bank
Thailand Siam Commercial Bank
Vietnam Standard Chartered

Asia-Pacific — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Online Deposit, Credit and Investment Product Offerings Taipei Fubon Bank
Best Bill Payment & Presentment Standard Chartered
Best Web Site Design DBS Bank
Best Integrated Consumer Bank Site DBS Bank
Best in Mobile Banking Citi
Best Information Security and Fraud Management Citi
Best in Social Media Marketing and Services Taishin Bank
Best Mobile Banking App Taipei Fubon Bank
Most Innovative Digital Bank UOB
Best Mortgage Bank DBS Bank
Best Open Banking APIs Citi

Central and Eastern Europe — Country Winners

Armenia Evoca Bank
Belarus Alfa Bank
Bulgaria UniCredit Bulbank
Estonia SEB Estonia
Georgia TBC Bank
Hungary OTP Bank
Latvia SEB Latvia
Lithuania SEB Lithuania
Poland ING Bank
Romania Garanti Bank
Russia Tinkoff Bank
Serbia Raiffeisen banka Beograd
Slovakia Tatra banka

Central and Eastern Europe — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Online Deposit, Credit and Investment Product Offerings Tinkoff Bank
Best Bill Payment & Presentment Sberbank
Best Web Site Design Bank Millennium
Best Integrated Consumer Bank Site Tinkoff Bank
Best in Mobile Banking TBC Bank
Best Information Security and Fraud Management  Sberbank
Best Social Media Marketing and Services Tinkoff Bank
Best Mobile Banking App TBC Bank
Most Innovative Digital Bank Tatra banka
Best Mortgage Bank Alfa Bank
Best Open Banking APIs Citi

Latin America — Country Winners

Argentina Banco Santander Rio
Brazil Next-Bradesco Bank
Chile Banco de Chile
Colombia Bancolombia
Ecuador Produbanco
El Salvador Banco Agricola
Guatemala Ficohsa
Honduras Ficohsa
Mexico Citibanamex
Paraguay Banco Itaú Paraguay
Puerto Rico Banco Popular de Puerto Rico

Latin America — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Online Deposit, Credit and Investment Product Offerings Bancolombia
Best Bill Payment & Presentment Banco Santander Rio
Best Web Site Design Banco Santander Rio
Best Integrated Consumer Bank Site Banco Santander Rio
Best in Mobile Banking Ficohsa
Best Information Security and Fraud Management Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
Best Social Media Marketing and Services BCI Chile
Best Mobile Banking App Banco Santander Rio
Most Innovative Digital Bank BBVA
Best Mortgage Bank Itaú Unibanco
Best Open Banking APIs Citibanamex

Middle East — Country Winners (With Sub-categories By Country)

Bahrain Best Consumer Digital Bank meem Digital Banking By Gulf International Bank
  Best in Mobile Banking meem Digital Banking By Gulf International Bank
  Best Mobile Banking App meem Digital Banking By Gulf International Bank
  Best Information Security and Fraud Management Citi
  Best in Social Media Marketing and Services meem Digital Banking By Gulf International Bank
  Most Innovative Digital Bank meem Digital Banking By Gulf International Bank
Egypt Best Consumer Digital Bank Arab Bank
  Best Online Deposit, Credit and Investment Product Offerings CIB
  Best Bill Payment and Presentment CIB
  Best Integrated Consumer Banking Site CIB
  Best in Mobile Banking CIB
  Best Mobile Banking App CIB
  Most Innovative Digital Bank CIB
Israel Best Consumer Digital Bank Israel Discount Bank
  Most Innovative Consumer Digital Bank Israel Discount Bank
Jordan Best Consumer Digital Bank Arab Bank
  Best Website Design Investbank
  Best in Social Media Marketing and Services Arab Bank
  Best Mobile Banking App Arab Bank
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Investbank
Kuwait Best Consumer Digital Bank NBK
  Best in Mobile Banking NBK
  Best Mobile Banking App Boubyan Bank
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Boubyan Bank
Lebanon Best Consumer Digital Bank Blom Bank
  Best in Mobile Banking Blom Bank
  Best Mobile Banking App Blom Bank
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Bank Audi
Oman Best Consumer Digital Bank Bank Muscat
Palestine Best Consumer Digital Bank Bank of Palestine
  Best Bill Payment and Presentment Bank of Palestine
  Best in Mobile Banking Bank of Palestine
  Best Mobile Banking App Bank of Palestine
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Bank of Palestine
Qatar Best Consumer Digital Bank Qatar Islamic Bank
  Best in Mobile Banking  Al Khaliji Commercial Bank
  Best Mobile Banking App Commercial Bank of Qatar
  Best in Social Media Marketing and Services Qatar Islamic Bank
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Qatar Islamic Bank
Saudi Arabia Best Consumer Digital Bank NCB
  Best Bill Payment and Presentment Bidaya Home Finance
  Best Website Design NCB
  Best Integrated Consumer Banking Site NCB
  Best in Mobile Banking NCB
  Best Mobile Banking App NCB
  Best in Social Media Marketing and Services Bidaya Home Finance
  Best Mortgage Bank Bidaya Home Finance
  Most Innovative Digital Bank NCB
UAE Best Consumer Digital Bank Emirates NBD
  Best Online Deposit, Credit and Investment Product Offerings Mashreq Bank
  Best Bill Payment & Presentment Mashreq Bank
  Best Website Design Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
  Best Integrated Consumer Banking Site Emirates NBD
  Best in Mobile Banking Emirates NBD
  Best Mobile Banking App Commercial Bank of Dubai
  Best Information Security and Fraud Management Standard Chartered
  Most Innovative Digital Bank Mashreq Bank
  Best Open Banking APIs First Abu Dhabi bank

North America — Country Winners 

Canada CIBC
United States Bank of America

North America — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Online Deposit, Credit and Investment Product Offerings TD Bank
Best Bill Payment & Presentment TD Bank
Best Web Site Design CIBC
Best Integrated Consumer Bank Site TD Bank
Best in Mobile Banking CIBC
Best Mobile Banking App CIBC
Most Innovative Digital Bank TD Bank

Western Europe — Country Winners

Cyprus Bank of Cyprus
Greece Eurobank
Portugal Millennium bcp
Spain CaixaBank
Turkey Yapi Kredi Bank
United Kingdom Citi

Western Europe — Regional Sub-Category Winners

Best Online Deposit, Credit and Investment Product Offerings CaixaBank
Best Bill Payment & Presentment Yapi Kredi Bank
Best Web Site Design Garanti Bank
Best Integrated Consumer Bank Site Garanti Bank
Best in Mobile Banking TEB Bank
Best Information Security and Fraud Management Millennium bcp
Best in Social Media Marketing and Services Garanti Bank
Best Mobile Banking App CaixaBank
Most Innovative Digital Bank Eurobank
Best Open Banking APIs Yapi Kredi Bank

World's Best Digital Islamic Banks

Asia-Pacific — Country Winners Bangladesh Standard Chartered
  North America Standard Chartered
  North America Standard Chartered
Asia-Pacific — Country Winners Bahrain meem Digital Banking By Gulf International Bank
  Kuwait Boubyan Bank
  Saudi Arabia Bidaya Home Finance
  UAE Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank