Availability of banking services and omni-channel consumer interaction were among the topics examined at the recent 3-day Mobile and Banking Workshop, hosted by Infobip to promote high-level knowledge exchange on mobile technologies used and needed in banking. The program gathered over 40 experts in digital, mobile and online solutions from Turkey, Russia and SE Europe.
While decades ago the availability of banking services meant overcoming physical distance from consumers through a large network of branches, the concept is now changing, delegates said.
The distance can be bridged in other ways - with the development of telecommunications and internet technologies, banking services have an opportunity to get closer to consumers than ever before. Mobile phones have made it possible to place banking right in the hands of consumers, and blend it with the complex dynamics of everyday living and habits.
Many financial institutions understood the opportunity and launched mobile-oriented programs, from notifications services to full-fledged banking services on mobile phones. User experience, development, implementation and security are emerging as new concerns and are being followed by new services addressing them.
In Turkey, a powerful economy with the average population age of 30, development of online and mobile banking services has been astonishing, driven in large part by financial sector itself – highly competitive in its tactics to make to most out of the digital opportunity. The state helped by laying sound legislative foundations, which gave an additional boost to online and mobile banking services.
Garanti, the second largest private bank in the country, is a true front-runner in the area. In 2014 they launched applications on Smart TVs, smart watches, Google Glass, Navigation Systems for smart cars, and they keep implementing new functionalities at an astonishing pace. Since 2012, the number of their mobile banking users has increased 13 times; 30% of all product sales are made through digital, and 43% of their active customer base use digital actively.
iGaranti is their mobile-first social banking platform that eases daily banking actions and fits into the daily lives of its users (aged 18-28) in an unconventional way. The platform offers voice navigation and transaction, loan application, adding cards to the wallet by taking a photo, and money transfer between people located in the iGaranti social network.
BankPositif allows customers to complete all the loan-related transactions over the internet, which is the first and unique example in Turkey, the bank says. A bank without branches, it can process a loan request within minutes, and deliver it in less than 20 minutes. A leader in innovation, it makes technology work to the benefit of consumers and banks alike. Since it was established, it has contributed over 4.5 billion US dollars to the national economy, and is one of the strongest banks in terms of capital size and international credit ranking.
Odeabank, the first bank to be built from scratch in Turkey in 15 years, started operating in 2012. Within two years, it became the 10th largest bank in the country, employing over 1500 people. Success was fueled by efficient technological infrastructure and customer-oriented service approach. In 2015, they built same user experience, menu structures and process flows across all direct banking channels, and received the Best Online Banking, Best Mobile Banking App and Best ATM Experience awards by Global Banking and Finance Review.
There are many more examples of achievement and innovative approach. DenizBank was awarded for its Facebook mobile application, only one instance of its forward-thinking approach to the changing perceptions and expectations by consumers.
Banking is becoming highly contextual. When and how we buy financial products, or interact with them, is becoming a matter of choice and convenience. Clearly, the shift requires an increased focus on technology: understanding its full potential, and having strong tech teams. It also requires advanced products and solutions, continuous development and deployment, as well as reliable technology partners. One thing is certain - those able to shape banking experience to meet the mobile-centric, context-driven expectations will run the show in banking in years to come.