Following on with our regular weekly interview the Finanser talks this week with Matthias Kröner, CEO and founder of Fidor Bank, Germany.
Matthias Kröner has been CEO of Fidor Bank since 2006. He is responsible for investor relations, corporate communications, strategic development and communities. Fidor is an internet bank, its primary account combines elements of a traditional bank account with internet payments and innovative banking services. Fidor was the first bank to integrate Ripple’s payment protocol, allowing its customers to instantly send money in any currency in any amount.
Nicholas Carson of Business Insider interviews Silicon Valley entrepreneur Wences Casares.
Here's why bitcoin will be bigger than the internet
"In Spanish, we have a saying that when a genius points at the moon, a fool looks at the finger. I find that happens a lot with bitcoin." —Wences Casares
Bitcoin still stirs up a huge debate about where it will go in the future; will it become institutionalised; what is the blockchain going to do to banking; and more. In order to clarify the debate, we interviewed Jon Matonis, a renowned expert on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, to find out what is the truth.
Tell me about yourself and your background Jon.
I was involved with the Bitcoin Foundation since its inception, starting in 2012, as one of the founding board directors. At the end of last year I decided to retire from the Foundation board and give other people the opportunity to step forward and work on the board.
Following on with our regular weekly interview the Finanser talks this week with René Frijters, Founder and CEO of the Dutch digital bank Knab.
Knab is the digital first bank funded by Aegon. In Aegon’s latest results summary, there are some interesting comments.
Knab, Aegon's online bank in the Netherlands, has been recognized as having the best new investment concept for its simple, convenient and accessible investing. It provides sample portfolios to help guide newer investors as well as advanced analysis tools for more experienced investors. Knab’s innovations have now attracted more than 50,000 customers, following a strong increase in 2014 … Gross deposits tripled to EUR 1.0 billion. This was mainly the result of the continued strong performance of Knab, Aegon’s online bank in the Netherlands. Knab accounted for EUR 0.6 billion of gross deposits in the fourth quarter, up from EUR 42 million in the same quarter of 2013. The number of clients at Knab has grown significantly in 2014 and now stands at over 50,000, supported by very high customer satisfaction scores.
Here’s what René has to say about it:
Can you give me a bit about the background to Knab Bank? When did it launch and who is behind it?
Following on with our regular weekly interview, the Finanser talks this week with Soner Canko, CEO or BKM (Bankalararası Kart Merkezi), the ACH for Turkey.
BKM was established in 1990 as a partnership of public and private banks. Today, all the banks that issue a card and own a POS are members of BKM. The ACH is notable for being a key promoter of contactless payments and, more recently, launching its own mobile payments wallet for the banks to leverage to their clientele.
How do banks and BKM interplay?
Starling Bank is the name of a new challenger bank being set up in London. The bank’s early days show how challenging the process of creating a new bank can be, as the Financial Times explains (see end of interview). Nevertheless, there is grand ambition to shake up the banking establishment, as outlined in this interview with founder and CEO Anne Boden.
A lot of people haven’t heard of Starling Bank. Can you give us an introduction and background to what you are doing, and the plans for the bank?
Metro Bank launched into mainstream UK retail banking in July 2010 and has been growing rapidly. As the first new retail bank for over a century, how is it fairing? In the second of The Finanser Interviews we talk to Craig Donaldson, CEO of Metro Bank, to find out.
In the first of The Finanser Interviews we talk to Mark Mullen, CEO and Co-Founder of Atom Bank and former CEO of First Direct. Atom Bank is a major new digital bank due to launch in the UK later this year.
How did Atom Bank come about and how do you see the vision for the launch of the bank?
There’s one bank I regularly visit, which have their values emblazoned over their reception. These values are:
... or RISES for short.
It’s nice, but I always have this cynical little buddy on my shoulder, shouting in my ear: “do you think they mean it?”
The problem with the things like corporate values and mission statements is that they’re often a little bit wishy-washy. As pointed out to me regularly, look at any bank’s mission statement and they all sound the same.
Citi works tirelessly to serve individuals, communities, institutions and nations. With 200 years of experience meeting the world's toughest challenges and seizing its greatest opportunities, we strive to create the best outcomes for our clients and customers with financial solutions that are simple, creative and responsible. An institution connecting over 1,000 cities, 160 countries and millions of people, we are your global bank; we are Citi.
I was going to keep quiet during this holiday week but, in the spirit of selfishness, I’m going to post a few blog entries about the Ukraine.
Ukraine is a country I’ve not visited before, but was invited to fly over just before Christmas to run a discussion with Privatbank, the largest retail and commercial bank in the country.
Bearing in mind the issues in the Ukraine, which I will post some thoughts around in the next few days, this was quite a special visit, particularly when we stood in the Maidan Square in Kiev where, just a year earlier, most of the population had stood in protest at Russia’s annexation of the Crimea.
This Russian aggression resulted in worldwide protest and led to the American and European sanctions against Russia, which I’ve blogged about before.
I had been invited to present a keynote speech that would be broadcast live at the bank’s headquarters in Dnipropetrovsk, the fourth largest city in the Ukraine with around one million people. I didn’t think much about this until I arrived at the bank’s offices to find a billboard poster with my face on it.
Someone was attacking the premise of digital bank change the other day, by claiming it only refers to consumer banking. Nothing is changing in corporate or investment banking, they claimed.
All areas of financial processes, products and services are being attacked by some new start-up company somewhere. I realise this every day when I see so many bright young things creating a new model using direct connectivity over the net, and thus displacing the trusted intermediaries through technology.
Disintermediation is finally happening; it’s only taken twenty years to get there.
As mentioned earlier this week, whilst in Turkey I visited with BKM, the interbank clearing system for low value payments.
Owned by the largest 10 banks in Turkey, BKM opened for business in 1990 and now processes half of the transactions in the country.
The other half are run on a 'as on-us' basis on the same bank card or same bank POS or ATM (there are 49 banks in Turkey, with 28 on the BKM system).
I recently chaired a dinner in Turkey.
Turkey is one of the hotbeds for retail bank innovation, alongside Poland, in Europe (assuming you count Turkey as European).
It was in Turkey that I first saw a strong and concerted push into contactless payments.
Remember this ad for Garanti Bank:
I was lucky enough to visit with Metro Bank recently, and they gave me startling stats and insights to the emerging business.
Launched in June 2010, Metro Bank has rapidly grown to 27 branches today, with a plan for 32 by the end of this year and 48 by the end of next.
Initially, they disappointed me immensely by being a branch-based bank, rather than a digital bank, but they are doing some interesting stuff with digital.
I really enjoyed the presentations in Oslo, particularly the case studies by Nordea and ValYou.
Nordea spoke about their experiences with social media usage. This, in itself, is fascinating as just a few years ago no bank spoke about social media in finance. Now, I am building case studies about how banks see this as both a customer service channel, and a platform for full deposit account usage (mBank and ICICI).
But there is still quite a spectrum of banking from those who ban the use of social media in the office ot those who embrace it for communications.
Nordea falls somewhere in the middle, according to Rune Sjøhelle, Head of Brand Management and Social Media in the Nordea Group and Head of Communications in Nordea in Norway.
I’ve written lots about USAA and First Direct as leaders in new media. Both are financial firms without branches and both are loved by their customers.
The key thing that differentiates both institutions is that they recognise they exist as a remote engagement and hence truly understand the art of creating digital relationships.
Just been reviewing the results of Royal Bank of Scotland and, unsurprisingly, it’s the ghost of banking past.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has reported its sixth annual loss since it was rescued by the UK government in 2008. The bank's pre-tax loss for 2013 was £8.2 billion (£5.28 billion in 2012). However, excluding bad bank and legacy costs, RBS made an operating profit of £2.5 billion. The bank's cost-to-income ratio currently stands at 73%, but RBS has set a target of getting this down to about 55% by 2017.
Ross McEwan, the new Chief Exec, is front-loading his first set of results with a mass of stinkers including:
It’s over five years since the Global Financial Crisis (GFI) began, and the regulators woke up to the fact that a small number of banks had become Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs).
Ever since, the powers that be have been working to prune, reshape and restore confidence in the system and yet, as the years go by, maybe the system is sorting itself out naturally.
You only have to look at the SIFIs to see how they are reshaping themselves.