Most Innovative Banks
First National Bank
First National Bank (FNB) may be the oldest lender in South Africa, but that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past. The bank is consistently recognised as Africa’s most innovative financial institution, largely thanks to its customer-centric technological prowess. Its multi-award-winning app offers features such as fingerprint recognition and a live chat with personal private bankers, ensuring convenience and total security for customers. FNB also provides a comprehensive suite of tools for small-business owners, including DocTrail, a document-tracking service designed to simplify the audit process, and Instant Invoicing, a free tool that automatically populates invoices and links them to payments. Last year, the bank launched a digital platform that allows individuals to open an account in minutes by submitting a selfie – the latest step in its push towards an entirely paperless service.
Though based in Malaysia, Maybank also operates in Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines. In fact, according to Forbes, it is the biggest bank in Malaysia by market capitalisation and total assets, as well as one of the largest banks in South-East Asia. Maybank is also the biggest publicly listed company on the Bursa Malaysia. With so much clout behind it, it’s little wonder that this bank continues to steam ahead of the competition. At the heart of this enviable status is Maybank’s steadfast commitment to innovation: using the latest technological advancements and key insights from customers far and wide, the bank is able to offer a highly personalised yet extremely convenient service. As part of its fresh approach to banking, Maybank also frequently offers exciting promotions – an added bonus for customers that increases both loyalty and engagement.
The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) is a multinational banking and financial services firm headquartered in Melbourne. Founded in 1835 when the Bank of Australasia was established under royal charter in London, ANZ has since become a powerhouse in the region’s financial landscape. Today, it is Australia’s second-largest bank in terms of assets under management, as well as the third largest by market capitalisation. In recent years, ANZ has made a push into digitalisation via its online offerings. For example, it began transitioning its teams to ‘new ways of working’ in 2017: based on agile practices, this shift delivers greater value and a faster service to customers, while also making ANZ a great place to work. Further, the bank is deeply committed to sustainability and helping businesses reduce their environmental impact through the Qantas Future Planet programme.
EVO Banco prides itself on its transparent and innovative approach to banking. The company currently has more than one million customers and is renowned for its wide spread of smart products and services. One of these is EVO’s intelligent mortgage, which is able to adapt to the circumstances of the market and comes with a free year of life insurance. There’s also the intelligent account, which automatically transfers money from a current account to a savings account when it reaches a balance of over €3,000 ($3,370). By far the biggest appeal of EVO, however, is its digital offering: the bank boasts an EVO Assistant, which uses artificial intelligence to engage with customers and is able to listen to and respond to requests. EVO has rapidly acquired customers as a result of its ability to evolve and embrace the most sophisticated technology.
latin america and the caribbean
Banco Popular Dominicano
Banco Popular Dominicano opened its doors to the citizens of the Dominican Republic in January 1964, serving as a welcome alternative to the large multinational firms that had settled in the country in the years prior. The bank started out with a mission to democratise financial services and support social services in order to improve the living conditions of the wider population. Today, it continues with this operation through a careful and forward-thinking digitalisation strategy. As such, achieving greater financial inclusion in the country has become a mainstay of the bank’s key objectives: it strives to improve both its internal culture and technological infrastructure in order to offer the most cutting-edge products and services in the Dominican Republic. As a result, Banco Popular Dominicano is able to constantly adapt to its customers’ evolving needs.
National Commercial Bank
As one of the oldest banks in Saudi Arabia, National Commercial Bank (NCB) has garnered an impressive reputation as an industry leader throughout the entire Middle East. Since issuing its first investment fund in 1979, NCB has made many firsts in the region: according to its website, it was the first bank in Saudi Arabia to offer credit cards, ATMs and branches exclusively for women. More recently, NCB became the first bank in Saudi Arabia to receive an international certificate for its leadership in social responsibility. This was largely thanks to its commitment to supporting charitable organisations. Today, NCB continues to act as a beacon for the region’s financial landscape, encouraging other banks in the Middle East to incorporate an innovative approach into their own operations.
US Bank’s pioneering approach is evident not only in its product offering, but also in its guiding ethos: rather than simply providing banking services, the New-York-headquartered firm focuses on teaching customers how to make the most of their money through its Financial IQ education hub. Featuring strategy-led articles, quizzes and thought leadership, the hub is free to access and is regularly updated by the organisation’s expert team. US Bank also operates an Innovator in Residence programme, which encourages employees to step outside their daily jobs and work with the innovation team to solve a technical problem over the course of six weeks. This is an effective way of infusing innovative thinking throughout the business. US Bank also operates a programme that teaches young women to code, and regularly sponsors hackathons.