Digital native banks: Customer Centric by nature

After reading the article “Who needs branches? 10 mobile-only banks doing it all from the app”, written by Tim Green, Executive Editor of Hot Topics, and going over the subject with my peers, I became aware of how the ever-changing technological landscape is transforming the way we relate with our finances.

Nowadays, the connected citizens are demanding to do it all on the go. That’s why portable devices are meant to win the battle as the primary vehicles for Internet browsing. In fact, all connected devices such as smart-phones, tablets, laptops, televisions, game consoles and wearables are already competing against each other to earn the highest share of traffic.

But let’s be honest, citizens really don’t care about the access device. Their main concern is to have the same capabilities and information across all channels. This means being able to jump between touchpoints without losing the high quality of the user experience, especially when they are managing their assets and liabilities. That’s the reason why a new generation of mobile-only banks has arrived to offer us total control over our funds (beyond basic banking services) by providing innovative apps, with new capabilities, intuitive design and ease of use.

Digital native banks are customer centric by nature. They were born with a customer centric approach to business. Therefore, the focal point of all operations and business strategies is the client and his/her real needs.

Fidor, Hello bank!, Number26, BankMobileGobank and Atom are only a few examples of these new generation of digital native banks. Some of them, like mBank, Soon and Simple, are new brands, acquired by or created within huge corporations, to offer a simple, customized, engaging, convenient and immersive experience throughout the banking journey, since the opening of the app. These disruptors are taking the online banking experience far beyond the early apps that looked like shrunken banking websites.

These “mobile-only” banks, as their names and mottos state, focus on providing a purely mobile banking experience. Consequently, without setting foot on a branch you can open a bank account in approximately 8 minutes (read more). Clients don’t have to worry any longer about high transaction fees and you have a wide range of online Personal Financial Management tools, and other perks that we are going to discuss over the next weeks.

As a matter of fact, these banks aren’t as young as some of us could believe. On the weekend, I was discussing this topic over lunch, and Armando Leirós, former global Chief Operating and Technology Officer at Mercantil Bank, recommended me to do some research on digital nordic banks:  “(…) according to the Swedish Bankers’ Association, by the beginning of 2001 already 30% of the Swedish banks’ customers used online banking on a regular basis, a figure that is rapidly rising” (Read more).

In conclusion, the world has always developed on different speeds. Thereby it makes sense that, since new technologies are catalyzing the wave of changes, banks should adopt a two-speed workflow based on a customer centric approach: We should develop an always-evolving digital strategy with a specific quick-wins, and this must be done at high speed. Meanwhile, we should be defining solid long term goals at a slower pace in order to make our business model capable of tackling de digital transformation.

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