Fintech Futures interview with João Lima Pinto
How crucially important is for financial institutions to keep at the forefront of innovation and how millennials and Gen-Z prefer omnichannel banking providers that listen to their needs and preferences. Those were just some of the topics that João Lima Pinto, ebankIT’s co-founder, explored in a long interview with Fintech Futures, at FinovateFall New York, where ebankIT launched the User Engagement Hub, a new feature that enables banks and credit unions to embark on a digital banking transformation, deeply focused on personalized and customer-centric experiences.
Q: What brings ebankIT to FinovateFall this year?
A: We’re launching the User Engagement Hub. It's a very interesting module because it corresponds to a gap that there is in the financial industry: imagine you’re a client, using your internet or mobile banking, and you want to communicate with your bank. Usually, you have to write a message, or contact the contact center, which makes you waste time and get frustrated. What we are launching is a solution that engages the customers with the financial institution. If the customer searches for a solution, for example, it has a knowledge base that solves up to 95% of the most frequently asked questions, offering tutorials that guide the customer step-by-step.
Another important aspect of the User Engagement Hub is related to app ratings: usually, users only rate their apps in negative moments when they are frustrated. It’s something cultural: there are institutions with 2 million clients, and only two hundred ratings, the vast majority not good ones. We are trying to turn this around by asking for a rating in a positive moment, when users just made a successful payment or transfer, for example.
But there is more. Imagine that a bank or credit union wants to launch a new functionality but is not very sure about the reaction of the market. The financial institution can select some users as early-adopters and get their instant feedback about the digital transformation process. Customers can also vote for the innovations they think are more important or make personal suggestions. It helps financial institutions understand the market, and customers become much more loyal if they feel they are part of the process.
Q: Why have you chosen New York to demo this service?
A: We've been coming to Finovate for years, both in London and New York. We are European-based, but we work with around 14 countries, on 4 continents.
We decided to demo this service in New York because the North American market is very important to us. We already have a relevant presence in Canada, and we are planning to enter the US market, as well. We are meeting with partners, potential clients, and advisors and we are making everything to be successful here in the U.S market.
Q: What is the ebankIT approach in terms of markets?
A: The important aspect of ebankIT, in terms of our DNA, is innovation, and Finovate is all about innovation, it is about how, in just 7 minutes, you can show some kind of innovation that you are bringing to the market. For us, this is a great approach, because we can demo our work, hear the market reaction, and hear the comments from analysts and clients. And, it also allows us to benchmark what the market is offering, see what our partners and competitors are bringing to the market.
This is something very important to mention. The majority of banks know what they need today, but if you ask them what they are going to achieve in five years’ time, it’s difficult to get an answer. Why? Because the financial sector is changing, technology is changing, and the financial interaction is changing. It becomes quite difficult to know what’s going to be the next trend. What we can say in ebankIT is: whatever the next omnichannel banking trend will be, we're going to be there because all we do is think about how we can improve the interaction with the clients, how we can bring new technology and how we´re going to make it work. That's, obviously, a very distinctive factor for the clients. If they choose a company like ebankIT, they know that we are going to offer something that the market will be demanding.
" Customers become more loyal
if they feel they are part of the process"
Q: Knowing how quickly things change in the fintech industry, how has ebankIT managed to stay at the cutting edge?
A: At ebankIT, we are always observing what the market is doing, while, at our own innovation hub, we create new solutions to bring to the market. Sometimes our labs come up with ideas that don’t reach the market, but we are always exploring the technology, exploring how things could work out.
Usually, we use our clients as beta testers, and invite them to discuss new ideas. We bring these innovations into our ecosystem and check with them if there is potential for more. This is very important, because as time elapses, if a financial institution loses a bit of the edge, clients will start looking for other solutions because they feel their providers haven’t brought enough flexibility and don’t match the new technology demands.
" If a financial institution loses a bit of the edge,
clients will start looking for other solutions"
Q: So, just quickly to finish off, what new digital use cases are you most excited about now?
A: That’s an interesting question because we work in different markets. We are European-based, but we also got a strong base in Africa and clients in the Middle East and North America. The use cases are different based on the region. For example, when you talk about Africa, they created very innovative modules because they use different technologies.
In the end, we always try to bring the best solution for each client, according to each market’s demands. But I can give an example: we are focused on the ability to trade with cryptocurrencies, giving the end-users the ability to convert part of their currencies in terms of crypto and offering them a holistic view of their finances. Another important topic is security, in terms of how everything authenticates, how users control their identity, and how they make sure everything is secure. There are many different journeys within a digital banking transformation process. We keep bringing these journeys to our clients and then, they decide what they want to do and how. That’s a great position in the market because financial institutions differ between themselves. Some want to be more innovative; some want to be more traditional. And we allow them to create their own journey.
Watch the full interview