The Most Innovative Banks of 2015

Financial Services Club Blog by Chris Skinner: I just attended the Global Banking Innovation Awards at the BAI Retail Delivery Show, an annual event that has gained traction and represents banks from all regions of the world.  Interestingly, Poland, Spain and Turkey regularly appear, which reflects my view that these are the most innovative Euorpean countries for finance, although France got a shout out thanks to Hello Bank! as did Germany thanks to Fidor. 

Asia would have more representation if more entered.  I assume this is a language thing, as I was surprised there were no major players from South Korea, China, Japan or other innovative Asian markets in the finals.

Anyways, here are the 9 categories finalists and winners, for those interested (and you should be as some of these banks are really doing amazing things!).

Product and Service Innovation 

Finalists: BEA (Hong Kong), CIBC (Canada), Desjardins (Canada), Fidor (Germany), Bank Smart (Poland)

And the winner is: Fidor Bank, Germany

The Fidor Smart Current Account 

A free bank account built around an Application Programming Interface (API), the Fidor Smart Current Account supplements classic account services with internet payments and innovative banking products. The integrated API platform allows customers and partners to directly connect their computer systems with those of Fidor Bank. 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. The steadily growing range of products guarantees a modern banking experience that helps deepen existing customer relationships and attract new customers. Features include credit transfers via Twitter, social lending, social trading in virtual currencies and a wide range of cutting-edge products that go well beyond traditional banking services.

As of February 2015, Fidor Bank has achieved more than 75,000 fully legitimate banking customers, up from 25,000 three years prior and approximately 270,000 German users on its Fidor online community up from 160,000 at the beginning of 2013. It is an extraordinary growth for a digital bank that focuses on social banking with no branch network or internal advisers.

Disruptive Innovation in Banking 

Finalists: Caixabank (Spain), Denizbank (Turkey), Fidor Bank (Germany) and Odeabank (Turkey)

And the winner is: Fidor Bank, Germany


Fidor Smart Current Account 

Fidor Bank AG launched Fidor Smart Current Account which supplements classic account services with internet payments and innovative banking products. The true disruption of the Fidor Smart Current Account is based on the Fidor Operating System (fOS), a modular banking, payment and community software developed by FidorTecS AG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fidor Bank AG. The fOS supports almost all digital lifestyle activities including a mobile-first approach, real-time banking, peer-to-peer and crowd functionalities as well as the integration of third-party offerings within the framework of an open application programming interface (API)-based infrastructure. Fidor Bank is one of the first banks worldwide to provide these interfaces that allow service providers and programmers to connect. With this approach, Fidor Bank not only provides financial services that primarily have only been available to large companies or other banks but is opening up these financial services for the entire industry, a concept that was not previously conceivable. The fOS used by Fidor Bank is also in strong demand from other companies as a white-label solution that can be configured to their individual specifications thus providing Fidor Bank with an additional revenue stream.

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