Trendwatching in the financial sector

Motivated by the outlook of trendwatching in the financial sector, I exchanged a Belgian official holiday (Nov 1) for eFinancials, an Emerce congress that promised to bring together all major online and mobile innovations in the Dutch banking and insurance sector. And our neighbors did not let me down! Speeches of innovative start-ups like Knab, the first Dutch online bank and My Private CFO, the ‘family office’ service for private banking clients, demonstrated how entrepreneurship combined with smart web 2.0 and mobile applications are on the rise to close the gap between the consumers’ needs and what conventional banks have to offer.
Also the more ‘traditional’ ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank acknowledged the need for a true Customer Centric Bank. As brave first steps, ABN Amro is piloting the publication of customer ratings and reviews on the public website, inspired by popular review sites in travel & leisure (e.g. Tripadvisor) and driven by the urge for transparency. ING commercial banking unlocks different content on their website (facts, storytelling, event or contact information) depending on the device used with the purpose of better serving customer needs. The cooperative Rabobank grants the innovation process the status of corporate incubator, reinforcing their different nature (cooperative). Although installed within the ICT department and ICT trends forming the basis for innovation at Rabobank, customer focus is carefully watched by integrating consumer feedback in each phase of the innovation funnel.
As the day progressed, and by the time my colleague Christophe Vergult finished his 3 roundtable sessions on how the Dutch consumer – and the visitor in particular – orients on the internet for financial products, I was fully convinced that we Belgians are – also in the financial sector – laggards when it comes to technology adaption and customer centricity…. Fully energized by the inspiration provided, I have set my mission for 2013: bringing down the walls of Belgian conventional banks!
On a sidenote, my colleague Tom De Ruyck and I recently published a paper on structural collaboration in the financial sector. Enjoy the read and feel free to get in touch via

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