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Virtual Affairs: the bank of the future has no borders - it's where its clients are

12 September 2016 3581

Banks.eu continues a series of interviews with top managers of European financial institutions to unveil all details of their work in Europe and find out their plans for the future. This time, the portal interviewed Robin Peters, CEO at Virtual Affairs - international FinTech company  that specialises in transforming digital channels for banks.

 

- What is Virtual Affairs? What does the company do and who are its clients? Do you have any leading European banks amongst your customers? How active are the banks in implementing online solutions and digital transformation processes?)

- Virtual Affairs is an international FinTech company that specialises in transforming digital channels for banks and insurance providers. With over 19 years of experience in the world of digital transformation, we help our clients to better understand online behavioural patterns and create an engaging customer journey. This is our approach and how we stay ahead of the pack. 

Clients such as Knab, Rabobank, ABN Amro, ING, Nationale-Nederlanden, Achmea, Onlia, Unirobe Meeùs Groep and many others have already benefited from our technology and digital expertise. 

In today’s digital world, consumers demand remarkable online experiences anywhere they go and on any device.  It’s not only about simplicity in transferring money anymore. In Western Europe, leading banks are already moving beyond standard services.

Native mobile and social media banking apps, biometric apps and security features, augmented reality, image based banking, virtual customer support and robo-advice, the use of analytics and behavioural targeting, integration with next-gen technologies, and many other disruptive technologies are the trends that shape the market today.  

- Do you offer online solutions to financial institutions? If so, which ones are more in demand? What do banks request to support their digital transformation?

- To private and retail SME banks, we offer our award-winning solution BankingRight, the cutting edge in mobile banking and front-end technology, natively integrated into Sitecore’s Experience Platform. BankingRight is a solid foundation for improving the online consumer experience across all customer touch points.

Today, only a few bigger banks can provide consumers with a personalised experience that is just in time, just for them, and on any device. With BankingRight, smaller banks now can empower their business and their customer relations, and become truly customer-centric. 

We developed BankingRight based on our clients’ demand and market shifts. According to Forrester research, Europe plays an important role in putting mobile banking into use. It is expected that by 2018, 214 million people will do their banking via mobile phones and tablet devices. That’s what the majority of our clients are asking for.

To succeed, banks have to provide native mobile apps and responsive web services that are scalable across all channels. That’s where we offer them a competitive advantage.

 

- Today we hear more and more about digital transformation in the financial industry. How does this change the business model of banks and the industry as a whole? How do you, as Virtual Affairs, help in this regard?

- Regulations such as PSD2 and MIF are driving major industry change and requiring banks to offer open interfaces to the market. This API-centric approach will also enable banks to seamlessly connect with innovative services that leverage emerging technologies like wearables or the Internet of Things.

What serves as a key differentiating factor amongst banks is not only trying out and implementing disruptive technologies but ensuring that customers are highly engaged and satisfied with their experience across all customer touch points. Though bigger banks are leading the way, their smaller peers are still challenged to evolve their digital banking from transactional features to an experience-driven customised offering.

To support our clients in their digital transformation, we offer our white label solution BankingRight which smartly combines a wide variety of features including transactions, savings, deposits, wealth management, robo-advice, peer-to-peer payments, customer on-boarding, and more generic features like self-service, ATM finder, amongst others.

The key advantages it delivers are a personalised customer experience, “anywhere banking” via native banking apps for iOS and Android, increased loyalty, comprehensive marketing capabilities, and a shortened time to market. Easy to use, mobile first and responsive, secure and built in accordance with European regulations (such as PSD2) and existing legacy systems, BankingRight addresses the needs of any bank that is looking to transform itself into a limitless, consumer-centric bank that customers trust.

 

- How would you describe the future of digitalisation in the financial industry? What can we expect in the future?

- With the FinTech industry on a steady rise, we believe that in five to ten years, the banking model will drastically change, leading to the true democratisation of finance. When that happens, many more people will be provided with the financial opportunity that was once only offered to the elite. The fees that banks charge will go down and the industry will become more transparent.

Because banks often lack the superior customer experience and omni-channel delivery that most FinTech companies have, FinTech has become a viable alternative. In the years to come, traditional financial institutions won’t be the first choice when customers open a bank account.

In fact, we are already witnessing the shift towards neo-banks.  According to Transferwise, in 2015, 68% of people had never used a technology provider for financial services such as in-store payments, international money transfers, wealth management, and other services. In 10 years’ time, 20% of consumers expect that they will trust technology providers with all their financial needs across the board from credit cards to mortgages.

And it’s no surprise since with today’s dynamic lifestyle there comes a demand for having real-time mobile access to personal financial information at the moment it’s needed.

 

- The broad implementation of disruptive technologies leads to a drastic change of the financial industry’s business model. How do you envision a bank of the future?

- At Virtual Affairs, we envision a bank that inspires, a bank that adapts to its customers’ ever-evolving circumstances, using multiple channels and usage data to continually improve the customer experience.

We envision a bank that knows each of its customers on a first name basis and always anticipates their needs, one that advises, engages, and provides a ubiquitous cross-channel journey for the customer.

We believe that the bank of the future will be one that operates beyond its branch office map to deliver a truly responsive digital banking experience anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

 

Previous interviews from the series can be found here:

Citadele Bank: we know to keep the business away from excessive politicization

Head of MoneyPolo: We can become a bank in the next 5 years

WebMoney Europe: We are not just an e-wallet, we create the environment for doing business online

MasterCard Europe: Payments are to be most inconspicuous

Sberbank CZ: Might happen that our grandchildren will see the banknotes only in a museum

Rietumu Banka: Finance is an area that should be regulated

Expobank CZ: A banker must be available 24/7

ID Finance: credit history to become a financial passport of each person on the planet 

Source: Banks.eu

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Virtual Affairs: the bank of the future has no borders - it's where its clients are

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