No business is exempt from the wave of digitalisation currently sweeping the global economy, and while the trend was mostly contained to the youth segment in years past, its influence has now extended much further afield. In banking, where new platforms have given rise to a new breed of customer, digital is the new frontier – although this isn’t to say that the human element has been removed from the experience.
“The result of this evolution is a new kind of customer – a multichannel one”, Paolo Di Grazia, Deputy General Manager and Head of Direct Bank at FinecoBank, told World Finance.
In answer to the latest market developments, the Italy-based bank and member of the UniCredit Group has developed solutions that directly respond to the increasing use of digital platforms and mobile apps for banking and brokerage services. More than that, Fineco extends the support of the bank’s financial advisors to customers when it comes to managing their investments. “We’re the only player in Italy and also in Europe combining a fully integrated offer of banking, investing and brokerage services through a truly direct, multi-channel approach”, said Di Grazia.
The emergence of digital banking has given rise to countless innovations in banking
Driven by innovation
Speaking about the bank’s contributions to financial services in this new era of digital banking, Di Grazia said that this commitment to technological innovation can be traced right back to Fineco’s roots. “With regards to this”, he explained, “we have a very clear approach: innovation is useful only when and if it matches our customers’ needs. It’s nonsense to introduce sophisticated services when there is no demand for them.”
With this, Di Grazia puts to bed concerns among some in the financial services sector that banks are introducing digital services without a thought for how they ally with wider strategic or operational objectives. “Every day we think about how to improve our platform, how to release new products and services and aim for excellence”, he said. “But our main goal is still to make our customers’ everyday life easier and easier. That’s why the key message of our advertising campaign says ‘Fineco: the bank that simplifies banking’.”
The emergence of digital banking has given rise to countless innovations in banking, though the danger is that new products and services complicate, as opposed to simplify, the process for consumers. Too often, banks devise a plan to digitise their services, though fail to recognise the opportunity to streamline existing systems. Fineco represents a prime example of how banks can do just that, and to good effect. Di Grazia said: “The first challenge is to transform a single current account into a true one-stop solution, creating an offer able to cover all the financial needs of customers, ranging from pure banking services to financial planning and brokerage activity.”
Speaking on where he thinks Fineco and the industry at large are headed, he said: “For the future, the path of our industry is clear: it will increasingly be based on the mobile channel and paperless services. We see a huge potential in this evolution, as it will make the banking services even more user friendly. We have been a forerunner in Italy in these areas, being aware that the first thing to do in order to simplify our customers’ life is to simplify our internal processes and organisation.”
Proof in numbers
Irrespective of the ways in which technology has transformed the banking landscape, successful banking is essentially a question of customer experience. Since the beginning, Fineco’s philosophy has always been to stay customer-orientated; a goal Di Grazia called “more than rhetoric”. As a bank that prides itself on its attention to detail, Fineco’s level of customer satisfaction is an important driver – and indicator – of its growth and success (see Fig. 1).
According to TNS Infratest 2015, a survey of the bank’s customers, 99 percent of Fineco’s customers are satisfied with the bank’s services. “Their enthusiasm makes them the perfect advocate of our bank”, said Di Grazia. “In fact, according to a recent report compiled by the Boston Consulting Group, Fineco is the most recommended bank in the world through word of mouth: a point of great pride for us.”
Undoubtedly, the transition to digital has put a great deal of strain on banks in what remains a difficult climate. However, the example of Fineco is proof that technology has a positive effect on customer satisfaction.