FinTech News: #Finovate, #Gamification trends

As Finovate closed its doors this week, its obvious that leading European financial firms (i.e the banking crowd) are finally getting serious about innovation. It was great to see so many financial firms exhibiting their latest innovations, including: BBVA , Crédit Agricole , and mBank.

Those developers have created 19 new apps in six months, compared with the two years it took the bank to create its own mobile banking app. Some 100,000 customers a month are browsing the app store, without any advertising. mBank’s innovations are different but similarly impressive with the bank previewing 10 innovations that combine to deliver a new generation of digital financial services.

Finovate is an event that is based around the idea of introducing new disruptive players and new concepts to the financial technology world, 2013 Finovate Europe was heavy on practically the same cast of characters and  increasingly familiar concepts. Firms with offerings like ITSector were in the minority. If Finovate wants to keep its cool, it needs to perhaps steer away from the mainstream.

Its interesting to note that by opening their APIs to external developers and encouraging open innovation , firms like BBVA and Crédit Agricole are innovating far more quickly than they could be relying entirely on their own resources. A consistent theme of Finovate was how often innovators are partnering with other companies to bring new services to market more quickly, or spread them more widely, as ezbob is doing by partnering with Channel Grabber.

These firms are building the future of digital financial services; traditional firms can join them or get left behind and watch their businesses slowy be disrupted. Many payments innovators are converging on the same idea: a mobile digital wallet.

Helping them to save more so represents both a huge challenge and a huge opportunity for retail financial services firms. Most of the innovations promise either to cut costs or improve customer loyalty – if they aren’t proposing to disrupt the established financial industry as firms like Holvi are. The enthusiastic London audience voted for their favorite three demos. The top eight overall were named Best of Show.

The winners (in alphabetic order):

  • Credit-Agricole for its app store where it is wooing outside developers
  • ETRONIKA for its BANKTRON e-channel management platform
  • mBank with Efigence for their Facebook & social platform
  • Meniga for its PFM platform, including “buy” vs “not buy” feature
  • Moven (Movenbank) for the worldwide launch of its mobile-optimized bank
  • Pockets United for its group purchasing mobile solution
  • SumUp for its mobile point-of-sale system
  • Virtual Piggy for its kids’ payment system with parental controls

Gamification trend could save banks from huge compliance fines

Start-up True Office claims that banks could avoid millions of pounds in fines by ‘gamifying’ training . Gamification of compliance and regulatory training could save banks millions of pounds in fines, according to finance software start-up True Office.

Speaking at the Finovate event in London, True Office chief executive Adam Sodowick said that banks are often unable to provide effective compliance training despite receiving hefty fines from regulators, and in some cases creating significant damage to reputation.

HSBC, for example, received a £1.2 billion fine in December for allowing its services to be used in money laundering operations in Mexico, while Barclays was forced to pay out hundreds of millions of pounds in fines for not meeting compliance and regulatory demands following the Libor-fixing scandal. At the same time regulatory requirements are growing in volume and becoming more complex. “People absolutely hate compliance training, they don’t remember it and they don’t take it seriously, yet it is costing banks terrific amount money,” he told Computerworld UK.

True Office does this by creating data-rich compliance games based on regulatory rules, combining a user-friendly interface with narratives based on real life compliance failures, and ‘gamified’ tasks designed to keep users attention. “There are very few applications outside of a game which get the analytics of the customer response,” he said. “It sounds frivolous using games for compliance, but we have seen companies become able to identify and manage their risk through gaming technology.”

The start-up company has supplied its software as a service product to major international banking companies following its launch in 2010, and last week announced a product development and distribution deal with financial data services provider Thomson Reuters.