"Let's think about the bank for smartphone use only" – Repubblica.it


It is not a question of adapting the way of banking that we have always known so that services can also be used by smartphones, but rather to radically redesign not only the user interface, but all the services and products offered and even the world in which the bank is organized ". This is the vision of Ignacio Julia Vilar, head of Ing Model Bank, a platform project involving Spain, France, Italy and the Czech Republic.


«Today 25% of our customers connect exclusively from their smartphone. So it is no longer necessary to think only in terms of mobile first, but also of mobile only, "adds Vilar. And it is not just a slogan, but to adapt to the current reality that sees the smartphone as the new fulcrum of our interaction with friends and relatives, as a main tool for purchases and use of services. According to a study completed in recent months by the same Ing, in the last two years alone the share of Italians using mobile banking has grown by 10% and, if you look at the last five years, the increase is in the order of 22% , while only in the last year Ing, a digital bank has always recorded an increase in the number of customers using the bank via mobile as much as 67% in Italy: «With the smartphone in hand, consumer power is growing in all activity to be carried out and this requires a radical change in the offer. We need to offer easy and intelligent solutions, so that they go beyond traditional solutions ».


Given the context, for Vilar the winning bank recipe must follow the 3C rule: customer, culture and connection. Starting from the first point, Ing's analysis shows that banking customers seek simplicity first, from the interface through which they operate to communication, to the possibility of finding what they want without having to waste too much time. Simplicity without excessive simplification because in fact another very appreciated requirement is that of personalization. "On the surface, the digital bank may appear distant compared to the personal relationship at the counter, but in reality it is precisely the technologies available today that allow us to study what each individual customer wants in order to provide him with the most appropriate answers," stresses Vilar. He anticipates that the bank is investigating the opportunities that can exist with artificial intelligence systems to further improve the machines' ability to understand user needs. "Every year we register 4 billion interactions all over the world: this generates a wealth of information on purchasing behavior and the tastes of customers to be exploited to the maximum". The second point is related to the corporate culture. «Technologies are the enablers of innovation, but people do it as always. Whenever we face an issue, which we design new solutions we ask ourselves: How to solve the problems of those who rely on us? How can we help them get the best out of what we provide them? It is an approach that puts the customer's needs at the center of everything and this involves a revolution in the bank's organizational model, which does not start from the offer, to be conveyed to savers, but starts from the latter to build the offer ". An evolution of the teaching of Carl Jung, the father of analytical psychology, according to which asking the right question is already half the solution to a problem. "This is the way – says Vilar – the basic needs of the users do not change, the real novelty is in the possibility of offering more in-depth answers, better for them". The third point is related to the theme of connections, which has become common in light of the boom in social networks (Facebook, but not only), e-commerce sites like Amazon or services that have revolutionized the use of music as Spotify. "Opening up to connections means expanding the boundaries of the bank and it also means taking note sometimes that there are services that we are unable to offer or that others do better than us. And then we take note of it and we make agreements with third parties, as happened for example to expand the offer of insurance solutions ".


These three rules are a common feature of Ing's way of doing business, which with its two retail divisions (private customers) and wholesale (corporate & investment banking, ie large companies) has 38 million customers in the 40 countries worldwide in which it is present. «Digital is characterized by a convergence of interests and behaviors between the various areas of the world and this offers us an undoubted advantage. We can experiment with an innovative solution in one of the countries in which we operate, knowing that there will be no need for particular changes to adapt it to other markets ".

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