Banking 2018

The Definitive Industry Guide

Most Innovative Banks

As the banking industry is rocked by regulatory changes and technical developments, a commitment to innovation is more important than ever


Wema Bank

Powered by Wema Bank, ALAT is one of Nigeria’s most resilient banks and Africa’s first fully digital bank. With more than 73 years in the business of banking, Wema has consistently delivered value to its stakeholders in an innovative manner. The publicly quoted Nigerian company has successfully built a legacy of trust and resilience that has won it the loyalty of its customers in addition to international recognition. The bank is always introducing products and services tailored to the needs of its customers at every stage of their lives, and has little tolerance for what it calls ‘not invented here’ syndrome. Instead, it encourages employees to be forward-thinking rather than simply following the lead of competitors. Wema is a proud partner to more than one million individuals, families and businesses across Nigeria, and helps them achieve their personal and financial goals.


Hana Bank

With its sleek design, Hana Bank’s highly responsive and intuitive website is an excellent illustration of the institution’s modern approach to banking. Of its many innovative services and products, Hana Bank’s smartphone wallet app is perhaps the most impressive. Offering extensive features that support personal financial management, the app also has playful elements that its customers love. Representing budgeting, projected spending and actual spending in a game-like manner provides customers with a holistic financial picture that helps them stay on top of their finances. Also highlighting the Seoul-based bank’s forward-thinking style are the many channels through which customers can interact with Hana Bank, ranging from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to YouTube, KakaoStory and the regularly updated Hana Blog.


Macquarie Bank

Banks in Australia are taking the lead in terms of innovative banking, with Sydney-headquartered Macquarie Bank being the fastest among them. This was best exemplified in September 2017, when Macquarie Bank became the first bank in Australia to launch an open banking platform that leverages application programming interface (API) technology. Through API, the platform can connect securely with fintech start-ups and apps; this in turn allows customers to share their data (should they wish) so they can utilise third-party products and services. According to the bank, its open banking platform brings greater choice to customers. The platform was developed as a result of customers requesting to connect their information with their favourite accounting and budgeting apps and software, among other useful services.



Promoting itself as a “new kind of bank”, Monzo is just that. Placing technology at the core of everything it does, the entirely online bank is designed specifically for smartphones and is built to solve problems in a transparent and convenient way. Customers can use the app to manage their money, set monthly targets for regular expenditures such as groceries and eating out, and will receive notifications if they’re spending too quickly. The bank also has plans to make it easier for users to find the best utility deal, automatically switching them to the best provider. Monzo doesn’t offer a savings account, but instead will put customers’ money in the ISA or savings account that will work best for them. Furthermore, Monzo can be used all around the globe, meaning customers don’t need to inform their bank when they’re abroad: no extra fees are charged, and the exchange rate isn’t marked up.

latin america and the caribbean

CIBC FirstCaribbean

In 2002, UK bank Barclays and Toronto-based Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) combined their retail, corporate and offshore Caribbean banking operations, creating FirstCaribbean International Bank. Four years later, CIBC became the bank’s majority shareholder, and soon after FirstCaribbean tacked CIBC to the beginning of its name to represent the huge contribution the Canadian banking giant had made to the Caribbean financial sector. CIBC FirstCaribbean has played a key role in the growth and development of the region and its people, as demonstrated by its corporate social agenda. Through this, the bank contributes to hundreds of organisations at national, regional and local levels. It also gives one percent of its annual profits back to the communities in which it operates through the CIBC FirstCaribbean International ComTrust Foundation.

middle east

Gulf Bank

Kuwait’s financial services sector has boomed in recent years to become the nation’s strongest industry outside of petroleum. The surge in growth has been followed by fierce competition and a new focus on innovation. Leading Kuwaiti lender Gulf Bank was founded in 1960, and it listed on the country’s stock exchange in 1984. The firm is looking to transform its business to stay in line with changing consumer expectations and a rapid tech revolution in the global sector. Gulf Bank has developed a range of multichannel apps to help customers manage their bank accounts, in addition to the traditional mobile banking options it offers. This focus on innovation has pushed Gulf Bank into the international spotlight, helping it win numerous banking awards and industry-wide recognition.

north america


Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) was formed in 1961 by a merger between two chartered banks: the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada. Ever since its creation, the bank has been driving innovation in the Canadian finance sector. From introducing the country’s first 24-hour cash dispenser in 1969 to becoming the first Canadian lender to offer a mobile banking app for iPhones in 2010, CIBC has been at the forefront of banking technology for years. More recently, CIBC has revamped its mobile banking app to include new voice command features. For example, customers can simply say ‘send money’ to open electronic transfer options. This year, CIBC also launched Innovation Banking, a new business that will provide advice and funding to tech clients.