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Banks that want to thrive in the digital era need to remove friction for the customer and change the language they use, according to Ilan Buganim, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Data Officer at Bank Leumi, part of Leumi Group, Israel’s largest banking corporation. In an interview with VMware, he highlighted how the way people interact with banks has changed, and what this means for customers and their financial institutions. “To show their differentiation, banks need to be much more proactive. Yesterday, when a customer wanted to speak to a bank, they needed to understand how the bank works and the communication channels it provides. Tomorrow, the bank will need to learn what [makes banking] easier for the customer, where the customer resides, and if it’s easier for them to communicate via WhatsApp or Messenger.”
This means that while banking will get easier for customers “it will make the life of the banks much more difficult because every bank will need to build a digital differentiator, and that can only be done with innovation.”
Buganim’s insights are based not on theory, but hard evidence and real experience. In 2017 Bank Leumi launched Pepper, its innovative mobile banking service. “We said that we wanted to be the Google or Facebook of the financial industry. To get there, we needed to create a mobile bank focusing on millennials; providing customers with more transparency and speaking to them in a very simple language.”
Pepper is an entirely mobile banking experience. The process of opening an account takes just minutes, after which customers can access current account facilities and an active credit line directly to their phone. Built on unique technology that can help customers better manage their finances, the Pepper service gets to know its users, customises relevant content, and offers a personalised banking experience.
The results speak for themselves. As Buganim says, Pepper has seen “very strong, sustainable growth in bringing in new customers, [who are] very happy with the results. With increased personalisation we are providing a totally new way of banking, that comes with more customer-friendly language.”
VMware’s cloud infrastructure allows Pepper to be much more flexible and able to deploy new features to the customer quickly. Building on the experiences it gained from building Pepper, Bank Leumi and VMware now offer an advanced digital banking platform for banks to help them embrace digitalisation. “We think we can be an accelerator [to banks] with this platform. We can work together with them to introduce this platform which is adapted to their needs and markets.”
In this video, Buganim and Manasee Dash of VMware discuss in more detail the impact Pepper has had, how Bank Leumi and VMware’s partnership can help bring banks into the digital era and how banks need to adapt in order to provide a frictionless experience for customers.
To read more about the advanced digital banking platform click here.