Innovative offers in banking - banks are so digital

We use the example of various banks to show how this digitisation is approached

This year, the IFZ invited various banks to report on innovative offers in banking. Here a short review with the learnings and challenges.

PostFinance Benefit –customer-centric analytics.

Schaubild zu den herausforderungen mit Analytics
Source: Postfinance AG (Stephan Bucher & Zaida Méndez), 21.06.2018

Zaida Méndez and Stephan Bucher reported on Postfinance Benefit - a bonus program that puts together offers tailored to the customer's card transactions. For example, if a customer frequently purchases sports goods in sports shops, offers / sports activities are made available on this profile, which the PostFinance customer can use to benefit.

  • Chicken and egg problem: How do I get providers to offer on a new platform with few users and vice versa? PostFinance approach: With a pilot and special offers during the introductory phase.
  • Opt-in acquisition: Demonstrate the "real" benefits. PostFinance approach: Data analyses and surveys have shown that customers expect a 20-30% discount.
  • Algorithm: Having a suitable algorithm that makes the appropriate offers.
    Notifications: Being able to trigger the customer correctly.

Bank Cler – From Zero to Zak.

Grafik zum Kundenzentrierten Design und deren Entwicklung
Source: Bank Cler (Dr. Patrick Kissel), 21.06.2018

Dr. Patrick Kissel reports how Bank Cler launched Zak in an agile set-up in 11 months. One of the goals is to convince a young audience of the product. The focus is strongly aligned on their main needs -> pay and save. Customer-centered design (generating insights, prototyping and testing) in iterative/agile steps were key success factors to launch the product on the market in 11 months.

Baloise Bank – Mortgage goes Mobile.

Grafik zum Absatz mit mobilen Applikationen bei der Baloise Bank
Source: Baloise Bank (Roger Sutter), 21.06.2018

Take out a mortgage on the mobile? Is that possible and how? Roger Sutter reports how it works and asks the question - why an app? Rising numbers on mobile devices are a clear sign "mobile first" and an app is operated differently than a website. The app should stand out in the market like the yellow flower in the picture. In addition to being eye-catching, the Customer Journey is all about the best possible user experience.

But how does that actually work?

Schaubild zur Entwicklung der Customer Journey bei der Baloise Bank
Source: Baloise Bank (Roger Sutter), 21.06.2018

On the right, an overview of the Customer Journey. In summary: The interest rate will be set as soon as possible, which will be valid for 7 days afterwards for the contract. Baloise reserves the right to withdraw from the contract if the check (purchase price/object data or similar) is negative.


  • Testing (perform several usability tests)
  • Perform tests correctly (observe user behaviour)
  • Completion rate is online > Mobile
  • Closure: Lead > Closure
  • 1 support call in 4 months on mobile (nobody calls if the app does not work -> then the customer is gone)

Bank & Insurance – BLKB, Bâloise and Anivo.

Grafik der BLKB zuVideotelefonie und Beratung
Source: BLKB (John Häfelfinger), 21.06.2018

CEO of BLKB, John Häfelfinger reports on how BLKB integrates insurance services into its consulting. An Anivo insurance advisor is integrated into the consultation via video call with the aim of drawing attention to significant risks involved in buying a house: Building protection & family protection (loss of income, divorce or similar). The design of simple products helps the advisor to complete the sales process within 25-30 minutes and with a higher success rate than before.
The insurance service has no dependency, i.e. other financial service providers could also offer their advice combined (whitelabel).

Credit Suisse – Digitisation of the corporate customer business

Marcelo Vicotria gives an overview of why banks need to change their services:

  • Customer orientation is important.
    The bank must succeed in understanding the customer and his ecosystem. Corporate customers usually work with several banks and have access to smart and fast Fintech solutions. The following aspects are important for them: need, experience, design, responsiveness, innovation and personalization
  • Younger generations demand digital services
    Generation X/Y key features: Digital natives with high affinity for technology, financially competent and suspicious, high degree of self-determination
  • Efficiency is crucial for competitiveness
  • If banks don't do it, others do -> Fintechs

Credit Suisse is pushing digital developments in these areas:

  • Multibanking (liquidity management beyond banks, online onboarding, SWIFT/EBICS/INTERSYS)
  • Leasing (real-time monitoring, online credit decision, paperless contracts, 24/7)
  • Credit (streamlined credit application procedure, online administration)

Valiant Bank – Branch transformation

Christoph Wille reports on the expansion plans of Valiant Bank and this with physical branches. But how to bring innovation to this strategic decision? Valiant has responded to the decline in counter transactions (-30% from 2014 to 2017) - but not with reduced counter times like many competitors.

A low-cost branch is the key to operations. With modular branches (Brugg and Morges, for example), the bank has succeeded in reducing the cost of converting branches by 40-60%. Modular branches include:

  • Reception with video (1 employee with video can thus serve several branches)
  • Self-service with video support
  • Scan cameras for reading documents

However, all this does not mean that there are no more employees. With the resources freed up, more time can be used to advise customers.

Done optimization: Quality of video increased, self-service elements are accessible, price modules reduced.
Biggest challenges:

  • Conversion of existing branches (customer reactions) -> monetary effects / cash outflows have hardly or not at all been noticed so far.
  • Identification of customers via video -> But video recognition is making great progress
  • The opening hours have been increased by the way to 10 hours / day, which the customers appreciate very much.

SGKB – Use of robots

Andreas Barattiero (Head of Financial Processing) reports how the St.Galler Cantonal Bank used robots in processing. This using the example of a bank takeover and its data migration. Process automation in the course of efficiency gains (expectation: reduced unit costs, shorter throughput time, higher quality, relief of employees).

But how can you automate?

Grafik zur Automatisierung von Roboternbei der SGKB
Source: SGKB (Andreas Barattiero), 21.06.2018

And how does that work with robotics?

The SGKB carried out a technical and organisational POC.

Learnings from technical POC:

  • 7×24 hours is seldom given (maintenance window, short system reboot -> robot does not do anything anymore)
  • Robots are not that fast (reasons: If systems are not yet ready due to loading times, time has to be planned for this -> e.g. 2 seconds per field, this time adds up, so that the robot cannot work as fast -> 24 hours / day
  • Relatively complex basic infrastructure (several robots need Orchestrator, etc.)
  • Need for testing should not be underestimated
  • Better optimized -> increasing maintenance effort

The success of robotics also depends on the number of tasks etc. and whether the employees in processing centers can also operate a robot, because if an IT/robot specialist is needed per robot, it can quickly become expensive.

In summary, there were many exciting topics, concepts and ideas from different areas. We will see in which direction the market is developing, but this cannot be denied: Fintech's are increasing the pressure on established banks and the user experience is becoming even more important in order to differentiate themselves from the competition.