Nancy Kalogeropoulou, the Country Manager UK of the German banking challenger Fidor Bank, is fresh back from a partnership with the leading equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs which aims to provide customers with direct access to various types of crowdfunding investments via Finance Bay, the “digital marketplace that offers financial products and services to Fidor customers”.
She tells Oliver*, in this exclusive interview, that:
We want to create the best and most seamless banking experience possible. In the UK, we decided to partner with various FinTech companies like Seedrs and Nutmeg in order to bring a better banking experience to our customers. By adding these partners onto our banking platform, we give our customers access to a range of services like investments or P2P lending. We will be adding more services in the coming months in order to improve our customer journey and provide a holistic banking approach.
The move confirms how the banking sector has been evolving as one in three digitally active consumers are currently using two or more FinTech services, according to the latest findings from EY.
The FinTech sector, due to its dynamic nature, has been rapidly changing over the last few years. Agility and flexibility are key to staying ahead of the competition and delivering on customers’ expectations.
Oliver*: What can we expect in the coming months?
Nancy Kalogeropoulou: In the coming months, there is expected to be an ever-growing focus on artificial intelligence (AI) with more and more FinTech companies using AI algorithms to improve and optimise their services, virtual reality (VR) banking services and other financial service providers along with better and cheaper payments.
We also expect to see a wider use of API technology and cloud based solutions, higher growth in mobile payments and use of mobile wallets, as well as broader digital currency solutions.
FinTech companies have to overcome cyber security fears
O*: According to specialists, cyber security fears are a barrier to FinTech innovation. What are from your point of view the main issues to cope with and how those can be effectively addressed?
NK: Financial technology due to its nature is required to be strongly aware of cyber security issues and to keep up with strict security standards. However, FinTech companies don’t always provide higher visibility of their cyber security controls, which can lead to them becoming less trustworthy amongst consumers and more vulnerable to security issues. This is highly important as traditional financial services companies are looking more and more at opportunities of partnering with fintech companies in an effort to overcome their heavy legacy IT systems and lack of agility to deal with new challenges.
O*: Where does this security fear come from?
NK: This security fear is due to the fact that the emergence of FinTech companies over the last few years has rapidly increased with regulatory committees having difficulty in creating new security regulations to catch them up.
O*: So, a closer collaboration with regulators seems desirable.
NK: Yes, FinTech companies need to have closer communication with regulators in order to provide them with all the relevant information about their technology, as well as how to make it safer and compliant. Within the next few months, FinTech companies will need to face the challenge of finding ways to overcome these cyber security fears in order to make sure that they stay ahead of the competition.
O*: What’s next for Fidor?
NK: Through our online community, we give the opportunity to our customers and community members to interact in various discussions and express their views over the bank’s current or future product offering, treating them, in effect, as co-managers of the business. With their input in mind, we are planning to expand our product and service offering in the UK over the coming months. We would like to improve the customer experience by bringing more innovative products to the market based on our customers’ needs. Our 60-second banking product range provides an innovative solution, quick and easy use of all of our products on the go. Last but not least, we have begun integrating various FinTech partners onto our banking platform, and we expect to on-board many more over the next few years, which will enable us to create an experience that is truly unique and innovative.