Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sign In

Workshop tackles banking disruption, “Bank-tech” cooperation

Workshop tackles banking disruption, “Bank-tech” cooperation
​​​​​​​​​​​BRUSSELS, 1 December 2017 – A group of banking experts came together in Brussels for latest WSBI Innovation Workshop on 27 November. WSBI-ESBG members and partners gathered to discuss “bank-tech" collaboration opportunities and challenges.

Those at the workshop took in presentations, roundtable discussions and brainstorming sessions, participants had a chance to look closer at how to embed bank-tech – parlance for banking and technology – to create seamless customer-centric banking. Discussions during the one-day event focused on banking disruption trends, building meaningful collaborations and new emerging business models such as open banking.

Introduction to current banking disruption trends

Erste Group's Jalal Douame (pictured left), from the group's digital sales​, set the tone early by giving insights into the main disruption trends currently: emerging “neo banks", big players entering the picture, payments getting crowded, lending rates under pressure, PSD2 opening new business models and collaboration with various partners on the rise. 

BPCE Senior Vice President Frederic Burtz (pictured right), who leads the French banking group's digital technology and partnerships, followed. He presented how BPCE is approaching banking disruption, partnerships and open banking – mainly driving by the mantra “Keeping it simple" for employees, customers and partners. Mr Burtz underlined that BPCE is looking forward to opening their APIs for FinTech firms. This will enable them to develop true partnerships with innovative companies and widen access to new customers and revenue streams.

Lessons from other industries

Event participants had also a chance to learn from other industries, as Stefania Dell Orefice and Kate Rakova (both pictured)from They shared insights on the company's strategic partnerships with banks and discussed the benefits that both sides, as well as customers, can reap. Their advice to banks: develop successful partnerships. According to Rakova and Dell Orefice, that means automate, scale, base decisions on data and test regularly to continuously improve banks' partnership process.

Recipes for effective collaborations

The afternoon session focused on how to structure successful collaboration, irrespective with whom banks partner: fintech start-ups, third party providers, industry players or beyond. Workshop participants focused on success and failure ingredients of partnerships including some best practices from various sectors beyond banking. 

Paavo Beckman, founder and CEO of Catapult, engaged participants in a discussion on how to generate business results quickly by picking the best startups. “Increasingly there are two companies – brave and dead," said Mr Beckman and mentioned time and culture within the company as being the biggest competitors.

To give an international overview, Jorge Ruiz, founder and CEO of Above and Beyond, shared insights on their projects that aim to interconnect fintech startups and banks via platforms: Finconecta in Latin America, FinForward in Africa and AFIN in Asia.

Success stories of open banking

The innovation-focused workshop also tackled “open banking", which  included a presentation by Daniel Steingruber Swisscom e-foresight. An innovation manager and trend scout for banking, Steingruber shared insights on the company's recently-launched Swisscom API Hub in Switzerland. He shared his thoughts on open banking as a business opportunity, not a compliance matter, showcasing some industry success stories. “You do not need to be a big player to be successful, but a first mover position is an advantage," advised Mr Steingruber.

Deposit Solutions Regional Director Ilkka Ruotsila followed, explaining why open banking is on the move and which business models options are emerging. He showcased their example of an open banking platform for deposits connecting banks and depositors across Europe. His message was clear: “Go where the customer will be and where the revenue will be, not where it currently is."

Close “bank-tech" collaboration: the inevitable future

The workshop made clear that banks have to and are heavily investing and engaging in FinTech activities, and developing financial technology capabilities to continue being at the core of the customer relationship. Banks are developing new services and solutions oftentimes in cooperation with other industry stakeholders. It is happening because banks' are saddled with four challenges: a traditional “savings intake" approach, payments and lending under pressure, regulatory requirements pushing them towards rethinking their business models, and ever-changing customer preferences towards always-on services.

Why is the 'digital wave' important for savings and retail banks?

Savings and retail banks are seeking new approaches because they see the digital wave sweeping over the sector. They are doing this by investing in and developing financial technology (FinTech) solutions to provide convenient, secure, client-centric services to their customers. WSBI-ESBG supports its members via industry discussions and best practice sharing on latest trends and challenges in innovation and business transformation as well as policy outreach and advocacy engagement.

More innovation workshops are planned for 2018 and will dig deeper into this workshop's topics. Details will be announced soon.

>>Learn more about the event

For questions email:



Innovation; Banking Technology; Digitalisation; Regulation; Business cases/models; Innovation Hub