We need a new mindset to push prototypes to the market
At “Digitale Transformation”, an event series of BANKINGCLUB taking place in several German cities since 2016, traditional banks, associations, financial service providers, insurance companies, fintechs, technology and consulting companies come together to talk about digitization and its impacts on the banking industry.
by Philipp Scherber
At June 19th 2018 Robin Kiera was the first speaker to get on stage in Berlin. He presented the app OWNLY which was build by W&Z FinTech GmbH, a subcompany of German bank M.M.Warburg, and shared his experiences in the process of developing and launching the app. He stated that in this process some things lasted longer than planned, but persistence always works out well. His team also learned that even the target group of wealthy customers doesn't want to pay for a mobile app and that it takes some time to build trust for digital banking services.
„Everything was better in the old days — or maybe not.”
Avoka’s Christian Brüseke referred to the increasing use of mobile devices and the success of large international platform providers. And no matter if the managers of banks like this changes or not, they have to find the right strategies to deal with it. Brüseke also posed the question what banks could learn from companies like Amazon. In a nutshell, the answer is a seemingly simple perception: “One size does not fit all.”
“Dad, I don´t want to go there ever again.”
Axel Wetten of Quadient told a true story of his 18-year-old son. He followed an invitation of a local bank to explain products and services for young adults to him. For example, the bank advisor showed presented them printed flyers to explain the features of their banking app. You don’t have to be a digital native to realize this will never be a proper way to learn more about a smartphone application. In the end the bank did not convince the teenager but lost him as a customer, probably forever.
“Think in data”
From the very beginning of the event series “Digitale Transformation” in 2016 there have been numerous fintech start-ups presenting their ideas and business models on stage. This year BANKINGCLUB invited three of them. Sara Amini, employee of FinCompare, explained why the financial services industry has to think about banking in a more female way. She is also a team member of the so-called Fintech Ladies, which is a community that wants to build a strong network for women working in fintechs. Without a doubt there is need for this, because the percentage of women in C-level positions in German fintechs still is at only 4%.
Let´s talk about data: Arne Horn founded his start-up b1.ai to help bank advisors identify the needs of their customers by analysing different kinds of data. For him the most interesting aspect of digitization and at the same time the biggest advantage of international tech companies and start-ups over traditional banks is that they “think in data”.
„How does a start-up work?” Phil Lojacono shared his experiences made in founding the Swiss fintech Advanon with the audience. After he met his co-founders while working for Google, they went on a journey that was shaped by a convincing idea, ambitious plans, some kind of naivety, big shocks, learnings and successful partnerships.
“Yes, we have to look like that”
Two members of UniCredit’s Berlin based tech team, Frank Nicolaisen and Anton May, don’t fit in the stereotype of a traditional banker. And with a purpose. On the one hand the so-called tech team is just a corporate banking unit of UniCredit / HypoVereinsbank, but on the other hand there are some tech industry specialists in this team who never worked for a bank before. They put their focus on tech start-ups that grow their business very fast and need adequate financial advice. To raise trust among their customers they share their mindset — and they prefer casual clothes over suit and tie to meet them at eye level.
Daniel Draenkow of DSGV (German association of saving banks) put the idea of platforms at the centre of his speech. Platforms that integrate a lot of different useful products and services combined with a simple interface are very attractive for customers who seek convenience. That’s why German saving banks are working on a platform for all kinds of financial services and the chance of mounting services of third party providers to this platform via API technology. To develop new services by their own the saving banks established the so-called S-HUB. Draenkow presented some ideas that came out of this innovation hub like a wallet for cryptocurrencies. But he also emphasized on the need for new ways of working and a different mindset in banks to push prototypes to the market in a short time.
Platform economy was one out of three big topics to discuss in the following workshops called the Future-Banking-Garage. In small groups the participants further talked about new ways of working in the digital age and the future role of the IT department in banks. Soon there will be available a detailed protocol of all the results. Stay tuned on www.bankingclub.de.