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Bank digitalisation has accelerated amazingly: speed has become paramount

József Nyíri will also take part in our Financial IT conference on May 31, where these topics will also be discussed. Registration and details here!

Under the new brand, the Hungarian-based W.UP and the Czech Banking Software Company will merge, and you will continue to operate under the name Finshape. Why did you decide to merge, what were the drivers of the transaction?

The transaction was completed in 2021, this year we will be acquiring customers under the group-level brand, and from June we will also serve our existing customers under the new name “Finshape”. Briefly about the drivers of the transaction, I can say that the two companies are very good at each other in terms of culture, position and market presence, and together we can grow faster and bigger.

We are seeing an explosive growth in the digital banking market and we wanted to take advantage of that.

Joint synergies with the Czech BSC, which offers digital banking services, offer faster growth opportunities in terms of product offering and customer base. With the spin-off of the previous founding owners, to whom we owe a great deal, a management buyout took place, and instead of a targeted investment, an international merger with the management of the investor’s Portfolio was finally achieved thanks to a sound financial background.

As far as the rebranding is concerned, it is worth saying that the rebranding does not involve any organizational or any other change, as the team is very strong, it would be a shame to touch it. The same colleagues will be working on the same projects, there will be no change in day-to-day customer management. Together with our Czech colleagues, we want to further build our customer-focused culture under the auspices of the new brand. Not only our new but also our existing customers can benefit from our expanded value proposition. It is also worth emphasizing that Áron Vitályos has been managing Hungarian customers since January, and on behalf of the management I can say that we are planning for the long term: we want to build consistently, and what we have now laid down is a serious foundation for this.

József has 15 years of experience in creating and operating innovative developments and growth strategies for fintech companies. His career at the IND called digital banking developments s

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József has 15 years of experience in creating and operating innovative developments and growth strategies for fintech companies. His career at the IND called digital banking developments s Next

What do you think are the fastest growing technologies in banking IT now, where a bank can gain a competitive advantage if it moves in the right direction?

Many technologies are available to banks from thousands of fintech suppliers. The challenge for them is not to decide which one makes sense, but to answer important questions (e.g. buy or build) to achieve their own goals, to build a good roadmap that they can implement if possible. This requires a vendor who is experienced, attentive to their customers, and who can squeeze time to market because they already have products ready for the market.

Bank digitization must necessarily catch up with all areas of the bank. We believe that a high level of customer service can bring a competitive advantage. We put the chip in for data-driven, personalized and high-end customer service. The focus is still not on the idea, but on the ability for someone to roll out a new development in 1-2 months to focus on the next elements, or to tie up their development capacity for years, and the market will pass by.

What kind of banking IT development projects are typical in the domestic and regional market now, what kind of inquiries do you receive?

This varies from market to market, but there are some trends. We see that ESG is becoming more important. It was not realistic 5 years ago for a bank to be important in serving its customers with information about its carbon footprint, but now we are getting more and more such inquiries. The new generation of money management applications is also becoming increasingly important, where customers proactively receive important information about their current finances in an easy-to-digest form.

The orientation towards retail savings and investments also occupies several of our clients. and competition from BNPL providers is forcing banks to innovate. If they don’t, personal credit, credit cards and merchandise loans can easily bite into an outside business. Online customer identification, account opening and loan applications are no longer just a retail but also a corporate banking need.

Recently, the fact that a bank in Hungary has received a GDPR gigabyte for its AI-based customer service data management practices has stirred up a lot of dust. How do you see this discouraging market interest in AI solutions? Have banks become more cautious?

Data management is a sensitive issue. Goodwill is not enough for someone to want to make their clients ’lives easier, they need to be transparent about what practices they are doing with it. Thus, it cannot be stated that AI would not be GDPR compliant.

The AI ​​is over-dimensioned in this respect in such a way that the quality of service can already be raised much higher along purely rule-based logics. Before anyone switches to AI, it’s a good idea to take advantage of it first. The AI, which is also based on logical rule systems, can add to this with a shovel, and because of its added value, there is no question that it is worth using it in the long run while ensuring sufficient transparency.

So AI is like a cloud a couple of years ago: the question is not whether it will show up at the banks, but how long an actor will oppose it.

What is the problem with the scarcity of domestic and regional IT development staff? What solutions are outlined here, what can be started with this problem, and what do you experience from this?

We also see that the demand side exceeds the supply side. With the right international insight, we can say that this is not only the case at home, but it is a global trend. This improves the bargaining power of talented developers, who typically want more flexible work (even full-time telecommuting), a good community, a strong professional workshop, and respect. Based on the feedback, we see that we are not in a bad position. Employees come to us rather than go. However, we are working very hard to further strengthen these values ​​and make them visible from the outside, because in parallel with the growth, we need to be able to expand the size of our team.

Have you been involved in several fintech success stories in recent years to see what makes successful, well-funded startups that enter foreign markets different from their peers? What makes them better, smarter than their peers?

I have extensive experience in the enterprise software market, with immediate regional or global ambition and market knowledge important in this area. There is a need to build a product that is in immediate demand in multiple markets and should be immediately supported by international content marketing and expert sales. The immediate presence of the first customers is also key, as they can provide feedback on the product. Of course, the existence of financing is also essential, because the validation of an international banking proposition can take place over a longer investment period: so it takes patience and money.

József Nyíri will also take part in our Financial IT conference on May 31, where these topics will also be discussed. Registration and details here!

Cover image source: Finshape

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