Summer is here, which means fall is just around the corner, along with the fourth annual BAI Global Banking Innovation Awards. As we have come to expect, given the globalised nature of demand for banking products and services that are truly at the cutting edge, last year’s winners hailed from Germany, Hong Kong, Poland, Turkey, and the United States. In an effort to prepare for this year’s awards, we decided to revisit the achievements of those widespread victors.
In Product and Service Innovation:
Fidor Bank of Germany beat the competition with their app-based, free banking account which beefs up the classic banking app with additions such as internet payment options and other innovative banking products. These “other innovative products” will increase in number with the passage of time. According to last year’s ceremony attendee and journalist, Chris Skinner, “The open financial ecosystem provides app partners the ability to continuously increase the range of products and service that enable customers to select products and services they want from either Fidor Bank or third party providers” (ibid.).
In Channel Innovation:
BEA, the Bank of East Asia, Hong Kong won with the launch of a mobile digital branch requiring 13 days to install and half the floorspace of a traditional branch. Scaling back in size and manpower while emphasising efficiency allows BEA to open in shopping malls and other spaces known for high density foot-traffic.
In Innovation in Societal and Community Impact:
This time, Nusenda Credit Union of the United States took the trophy with a collaborative financial product that mixes micro-lending and community sponsors. Co-op Capital (the product name) overcomes the problem of accessing capital faced by new-to-the-scene, small, and/or low-income entrepreneurs, particularly those with bad credit or insufficient collateral. Presented as an alternative to credit cards and friends and family, Nusenda employees described Co-op Capital as “an alternative to the alternative” for those in search of start-up capital.
And finally, as Most Innovative Community-based Banking Organisation:
Beating out Millenium Bank of Poland, Bank Smart, also of Poland, and JSC TBC Bank of Georgia, once again, Nusenda Credit Union of the US took center stage. And once again, they did so for the creation of the financial product, Co-op Capital (see above).
What will this year’s awards ceremony bring? Who will be the victors and what will be their successes? Submissions are now in.
Photo credits: Bank Administration Institute