Customer first and the digital transformation of the banking sector.
Vratislav Kalenda, co-founders, Applifting
Representatives of global banks discussed the present and future in the Applifting panel discussion
The current boom in digitalisation, along with the development of fintech applications and services, is reflected in the banks themselves, which are already focusing more on their clients and their satisfaction. This follows from a panel discussion with representatives of global banks, organised by the Czech development studio Applifting. The discussion was joined by Martin Kobza, COO of Česká spořitelna, Luděk Šlégr, CIO of ČSOB, and others. Focus was also on the current popularity of artificial intelligence, automation of customer care and the future shape of the banking sector with a wider penetration of these tools.
The popularity of fintech applications, institutional agility, artificial intelligence, automation and sustainability. These were some of the many topics discussed at a panel discussion hosted by the Czech development studio Applifting. Representatives of Czech and global banks from Europe, the Middle East and Africa discussed what the banking of the future would look like.
“Fintech is a rapidly growing industry, which we have had several opportunities to penetrate with Applifting in the past. As we would like to focus on fintech projects a bit more in the future, we were interested in how the bank leaders themselves see its future. Therefore, I am glad that we managed to convene and interview industry leaders and leaders of the largest companies,” says Vratislav Kalenda, co-founder and CEO of Applifting.
The panellists included Luděk Šlégr, Chief Information Officer of ČSOB, Slovakia, Martin Kobza, Chief Operating Officer, Česká spořitelna, Czech Republic, Sarah Kandil, Digital Strategy Officer at Société Générale, Peter Vickery, EVP & Head of Distribution & Sales, First Abu Dhabi Bank, United Arab Emirates, Kuben Gounden, CEO of Retail Collections & FSR Collections Platform, First National Bank of South Africa, and Jakob Aarup Petersen, Group Executive Vice President at Sydbank, Denmark.
Client satisfaction first
Simplification for both customers and the banking institutions themselves has been brought about by the digitisation and automation of banking, which has therefore become a priority for banks. Routine payment and administrative processes are being made easier and faster so that clients do not have to go directly to the bank with any request. Today, this role is being taken over by apps and automated systems, most recently with the help of artificial intelligence, which takes care of as many of the necessary tasks as possible. As a result, customers can handle many banking services themselves at any time from the comfort of their homes.
“Of course, we want our clients not to have to go to the bank with things that they can easily and conveniently handle themselves from mobile or internet banking. However, in addition to the largely finished digitisation visible to the client, we are also systematically going through our internal processes. We are evaluating the proportion of human work and looking for ways to do it without the touch of the human hand. This reduces direct costs but also reduces errors and increases speed. People can then engage in more creative activities with higher added value. It’s all connected,” comments Luděk Šlégr, CSOB CIO.
“We find the real revolution in the banking sector in mobile banking. Even as we know it today, it is already significantly facilitating clients’ daily access to their finances, but it is also simplifying their communication with banks. We feel that we at Česká spořitelna have not yet used its full potential,” says Martin Kobza, COO of Česká spořitelna, about mobile banking.
Agility and sustainability
Banks are currently becoming agile in their services to clients. They have already left the situation where they were constantly developing new features and offering new services. Today, they focus more on improving their existing products, listening to client feedback and actively communicating with clients.
However, digital transformation is not only responding to market needs but also to pressure from the European Union’s governing bodies for environmental, social and corporate governance. This is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the sector, and the banking sector is one of the places that holds both the resources and the power to move towards sustainability. For example, just by moving its services online, moving away from the excessive use of paper and reducing its carbon footprint.
Fintech in Applifting – BankID, George and others
Applifting has previously been involved in software development for banking institutions, notably by developing the George app for Erste Group or the BankID banking identity, which is now used by most large Czech banks. This bank identity is used by countless people every day to manage their finances and is also used for identity verification when communicating with the authorities. Outside of the banking sector, Applifting has developed software for British startup Braid and Irish startup Leveris.
“Applifting’s vision is to help people and make their everyday lives easier. That’s why we love working on projects for banks whose products are used by millions of people every day. Today we are witnessing a huge development of artificial intelligence from basic chatbots to ChatGPT. We ourselves are curious to see where the technology will go next and look forward to more fintech projects,” concludes Kalenda.