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When it comes to digital-only banks, it is easier for them to work with FinTechs, because they already match the main attributes.

What is a difference in working with FinTechs when it comes to digital-only bank and a traditional bank?

When working with FinTechs, one has to have a corporate culture that focuses on innovation. There is a need to be agile, a fast decision-maker and willing to be a risk-taker. These attributes are usually found in young organisations such as digital-only banks. Such an institution is focused on the customer experience and on reducing the level of friction between the organisation and the client. For a traditional bank this is much more difficult to do. The traditional bank is characterised by its legacy at the technology level and also at the process level. The way the traditional bank has been doing business for years is embedded in the organisation with such predominance that employees are usually risk averse, not willing to change their approach and ultimately afraid of losing their jobs. This is why we have seen large traditional banks creating completely separate units to launch a truly digital bank with teams that have a different mind-set and are not contaminated by the culture of the rest of the organisation. They also benefit from not depending on the legacy systems which lack flexibility.

How is your company adjusting business models to reflect a more digital ecosystem?

Our company is constantly looking for ways of improving our offering by redesigning processes that are more adequate to the needs of the client. We also look for technology solutions available on the market to insure we have the one most suitable to our needs. Integration is also a key element. We make sure these solutions are flexible and easy to integrate with our systems.

Where do you see the future of retail banking post-pandemic? What will be the permanent changes?

I see an acceleration from physical to digital channels. Clients are becoming smarter at using the digital solutions as they were forced to learned how to engage remotely. Traditional banks were also forced to redesign their customer engagement to cope with the new challenges. This created an opportunity to reduce significantly the number of branches of traditional banks and boosted the digital banks client base as they were better prepared for this new normal. In the future, we will se more financial services being embedded in traditional retail offerings particularly in what concerns payments and lending. We will also see Big Techs taking advantage of their client base to integrate further with financial services that cater for the needs of their clients.

Pedro PINTO COELHO, Executive Chairman, CEO at Banco BNI Europa is an innovative, agile and multi-award winning banking leader with over 25 years’ international financial services experience with leading blue-chip institutions across three continents in progressive leadership roles, both executive and NED, in investment banking, wealth management, general management, business development, strategy and latterly in FinTech. His value proposition is centred around enabling challenger banks to establish strategic partnerships with FinTechs to create profitable financial products using an ‘open architecture model.’ He is an expert in driving digital banking transformations both in terms of creating ‘best in class’ digital customer experiences, and transforming key internal support functions to fully align with the overall digital transformation programmes of financial institutions.


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