Will Mobile do the trick for the Banking Industry?

Since begin of the year, one can observe a sort of gold rush in the area of mobile banking: first was AXA Banque in France, which launched a new ‘mobile-first’ offering called Soon (addressing several markets). Not to mention other pure-play mobile banks worldwide like Moven, GoBank, Fidor, and Hello. Last week a major American bank apparently managed to buy the domain “mobile” and is planning to use it to launcImageh a bank.mobile.com platform.

Couple of weeks ago, In London, Finovate, become a real “mobile” show displaying almost exclusively mobile Banking solutions for Smartphone and Tablets. The consensus left behind is that “mobile” is the new black in the Financial Industry.

Is a mobile experience enough? In this post, I’m sharing a brief case of the Bank XYZ (all names have being changed), which is trying to go beyond just the mobile “gadget” and it’s betting on the real social banking.

Imagine a Bank which manages to serve its 50 million clients seamlessly thru all contact channels: most of them use mobile devices, others still use e-banking, others keep calling a voice banking service, ironically the interaction with its over 25,000 ATM around the world is decreasing more and more, since most of the payments are done now by mobile phones and the supporting apps. In some countries, small amounts can be withdrawn without owning a bank account. Essentially, the sender can have the money withdrawn from his account through an ATM transaction. The intermediary processes the payment, and sends a code to the recipient on his mobile that allows him to withdraw the money from any nearby bank’s ATM. Finally, most of its branches have been refurbished and now provide a new and original customer oriented service: they are small business centers for a growing population of clients/entrepreneurs.

But there is more: this bank has managed to position itself strategically in complementary geographical regions, thru a network of strong brands in 30 countries around the world. In this way this bank is fairly fighting against new entrants like PayPal and it’s capturing a significant share of the 420 billion dollar business of money remittances from people working in developed countries, and who are sending small amounts of currencies between Europe and Africa and LatAm or USA and Central America and Asia.

Also in the areas of Kiva and the likes, this bank is seriously studying to open and sponsor a market place for micro finance in order to strength its branding as responsible banking in emerging countries. Because micro credit and impact investment is not a corporate business but a community-service business, this bank is convinced that its 50 million customer’s base can seriously contribute and positively impact millions of families around the world and together become the financial partners of some of the 2.5 billion adults lacking access to financial services.

Of course this bank is able to operate worldwide thanks to intense and intelligent use of technology: thousands of servers in several computer centers process on a daily basis several million of critical transactions and provides instantaneous feedback and big data analysis not only to its 100 thousand employees around the world, but also to its millions of end users. This data analysis helps customers to understand how peers are consuming credit products; or what are the best strategies for investing in retirement’s plans.

This bank has learned that the secret of its success depends entirely on its customer base. It doesn’t just pretend to be customer centric, but it has really designed and aligned all its operational processes to serve its clients in real or near real time.

This bank count with an extensive and international network of cutting edge technological providers: startups which have been founded in co-investing ventures with a network of tech savvy investors.  Many of the applications are directly tested by a community of bank clients, who receive perks and reputation in exchange for this crowd sourced activity.

Other communities are used to provide acceptance test on new financial products, and also help to provide feedback on suitability issues.

The shareholder community of this bank looks confidently into the future. The growth is assured by a schema in which many small and medium international regional banks are integrated into a franchise model. These organizations can then adopt the operational standards and benefits of state of the art banking technology and scalable support. There is an organic and even considered viral customer growth among the young generation of customers, who’re looking for a fresh and positive financial brand to work with. In many cities and even some countries, this bank is 100% digital, which is a brand factor among the young new customers. In some other countries new clients have to be invited by an existing customer.

This bank has transformed itself thru truly customer oriented service: supporting cool fashion designers in Africa to export their creations to the rest of the world. Helping Asian peasants to produce biological crops and financing new and alternative sources of energy in South America. Many of these risky and low return financial ventures were customer community driven investments, and not surprisingly they have become the most interesting for the group in terms of brand visibility and even netted return of investment.

Would you like to become customer?

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