IFZ conference — Innovative offers in retail banking

135 participants flocked to the sold out conference on “Innovative offers in retail banking” at the Institute for Financial Services (IFZ) on June 25, 2015. Actually, the conference lives up to its title. During a short introduction, the organizer Prof. Dr. Andreas Dietrich examined innovative trends on the Swiss market from macro perspective. Afterwards, representatives of leading banks presented their digital offers. It is good to see that banks have increasingly aligned themselves accordingly and that several promising offers are already in the pipeline to be launched in the near future.

First, the Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank (BLKB) presented its crowdfunding platform that was established in cooperation with Swisscom six months ago. BLKB customers can present their projects on the “miteinander-erfolgreich.ch” (together successful) platform and ask for financial support. Upon realization of the project, the investors are offered a compensation depending on the amount of the supporting contribution. The BLKB pursues two goals with this platform: to exploit a new income source and to be in the black in five years. The IFZ considers crowdfunding to have great potential. According to estimates, platforms in Switzerland are generating a turnover of CHF 25-30 million in 2015, with a double-digit growth rate in the coming years. As announced during the conference, further banks are going to exploit the crowdfunding area.

Second, TWINT and Paymit, two mobile payment transaction solutions, were presented. TWINT is a fully-fledged subsidiary of Postfinance that will launch its shopping and payment app in August 2015. TWINT concentrates on point of sales payments (POS) at the start and has already acquired important partners such as Coop, SBB and SV restaurants. It is designed as an open platform which other banks can connect to. The app solution convinces since it is cheaper than previous payment methods without cash and integrates added value services such as the Coop Supercard in the payment process, thus making it much faster. The second mobile payment solution is called Paymit and was launched from the UBS, ZKB and Six Group in April 2015. It focuses on P2P payment, that means on direct payments between private persons via mobile phones. The payments are to be integrated in the POS in 2016. Paymit as well is an open platform. Impressive is that the three cooperation partners have an immense market power and that the app was being activated more than 3,000 times in the first 20 days.

Third, two news on the Swiss market were presented in the fields of digital investment. On the one hand Wikifolio introduced itself which has been active in Switzerland as well since spring of this year. The social trading online platform for investment strategies (so-called wikifolios) of private traders and professional asset managers has a very positive track record. Since its foundation in 2011, capital worth EUR 33 million has been invested and a volume of more than EUR 6 bn has been generated. On the other hand UBS presented its new wealth management online portal characterized by competitive pricing (approx. 1% of the deposit volume) and the health check, a sophisticated daily risk monitoring feature.

The last part dealt with two cantonal banks. The Glarner Kantonalbank presented its -omat family that has set new digital trends in Switzerland in the past. The latest product is especially to be emphasized, the Investomat, which enables customers to set up a customized investment strategy based on their personal risk profile. The Schwyzer Kantonalbank (SZKB) presented the online mortgage platform e-hypo coming up with a tool for interest rate cuts. The mortgage interest rate is for example reduced when transferring savings accounts, securities or provisioning deposit to the SZKB. This kind of solution is unique in Switzerland.

To sum it up: the Swiss retail banking market in the digital area has undergone profound change and has established already a series of innovative offers—more are to follow. The conference was an ideal networking platform for the participants to exchange ideas, get to know new trends and deepen their knowledge about existing offers. The outstanding organization and the excellent speakers inspire to take part in this conference next year as well.


(Thanks to IFZ  for the image)

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Martin Eschenmoser

Manager Office Zurich

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