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Banking as Innovation

Posted by Navin Rammohan (View Profile | View All Posts) at 6:46 AM

There's a hot new financial startup that has attracted US$ 25 million in seed funding from a veritable who's who of the venture capital world and has already signed on nearly a hundred thousand customers. Except, no one, apart from the founders and the funders, have any idea whatsoever about what Clinkle will actually do. The only information forthcoming from the company is that it intends to disrupt the already hyperactive mobile payments market place. 

Clinkle is only the latest in a long list of technology companies seeking to challenge contemporary banking norms; Google, Apple, Facebook alongside a host of other established names as well as startups are invested in reinventing banking for digital consumers
In an era defined by a new breed of competition as well as customer, innovation is just table stakes. Traditional banks are responding to the new paradigm by investing in innovations to flank the competition and to build relevance with the digital customer. And these innovations are focused on reimagining almost every aspect of banking.  

Take mobile wallets, for instance. According to a study conducted earlier this year, 21% of banks have already deployed some version of the wallet, with 56% planning to follow suit over the next couple of years. Keeping up with the trend of digital-only banks, BNP Paribas has launched Hello bank! designed specifically for the mobile channel. Barclays is delivering bespoke offers to customers based on their demographics, preferences and location.  Bradesco, one of the largest retail banks in Brazil, has launched Bradesco Next with features like biometric identification,  videoconferencing and social media banking. In India, Axis Bank is using innovation to take banking and payment services to the country's unbanked. Spanish Bank BBVA, meanwhile, has set up a US$100 million fund in Silicon Valley to identify and invest in startups that can transform banking. 

All in all, the prevalent focus on innovation as the surest route to competitive advantage is yielding products, processes and practices that are transforming the very fabric of banking. It is therefore only appropriate that these innovations and innovators be recognized and lauded for their contribution. Since 2011, the BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards have honored retail banking institutions with game-changing products, services and practices. 

Last year's winners included Alior Sync for launching the first fully virtual bank in Poland, Turkey's DenizBank for the world's first Facebook banking platform, FRANK by OCBC for radically redefining banking for Generation Y in Singapore and First National Bank of South Africa which took home the Most Innovative Bank of the Year award for nurturing an organization-wide culture and commitment to continuous innovation. 

A new category, Innovation in Internal Process Improvement, has been added to the 2013 awards to recognize banks that have recalibrated their internal processes to enhance customer-centricity in terms of products, services, channels and customer experience. Click here to know more about this year's event.

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