“Our new product will be the Wolt of the banking world,” says Discount Bank CEO
Speaking at Calcalist’s Fintech 2021 Conference, Uri Levin addressed the massive changes taking place in the financial world, calling the revolution “unstoppable”
“We are currently witnessing the start of banking's big bang. Yes, as with everything in banking, the process will take time. Changes in banking take longer than in other sectors, mainly due to the wide breadth of regulation and the commitment to maintaining the system's stability. However, this change is taking place much quicker than the banking sector had been accustomed to. And more importantly, this process cannot be stopped.” With these words, Uri Levin, the CEO of Bank Discount, opened Calcalist’s Fintech 2021 conference on Tuesday. Levin was addressing the many changes taking place in the banking sector as a response to the rise of fintech and the multitude of new players who offer a range of new financial products and services that had previously not existed such as peer-to-peer lending, online investment, virtual financial advice, and digital wallets.
According to Levin, there are several factors that ignited the process, the first being the transition to digital banking, which reduces the need for a physical, daily banking distribution network and simultaneously provides for more frequent access and data-based personalization. Secondly, according to Levin, is that regulation has become more encouraging of competition by enabling data sharing. By doing so, clients can easily switch between different companies and organizations for their various needs, from managing their personal account to taking out loans to applying for a mortgage to managing investments, with all of the providers in competition with each other. The third factor is the arrival of a large number of new players into the industry which created a newly competitive environment. And the fourth factor is the clients themselves, which according to Levin, “are no longer willing to compromise over service and customer experience the way they had been. Our customers no longer compare us to the bank across the street. They compare us to the experience they get with Netflix, Amazon, or Wolt. They want a lot more availability, more equity, more transparency, more choices, and perhaps most importantly, this time they're prepared to act to get what they want,“ he said.
In order to remain relevant, banks need to adjust accordingly, Levin said. “We'll have to work much harder to preserve our relationships with our customers. We'll have to offer every product and every service, otherwise, customers will simply get them at different institutions.”
He noted that Discount Bank was operating along two main vectors. The first is the accelerated evolution of traditional banking by promoting an open banking model, making more use of data, creating a digital user experience, and focusing more on clients. The second vector is promoting the fintech revolution. “We've realized the only way to carry out a revolution is from the outside. To establish an independent company that operates like a startup and thinks like a startup, that will be in true competition with all banks, yes, including Discount,” he said.
Last month, Discount announced that it planned to launch a new digital wallet based on fintech company Paybox’s platform as part of a partnership agreement with the Shufersal grocery store chain. “In addition to advanced payment capabilities, the wallet will include a ‘financial supermarket,’ where for the first time, customers will be able to select and purchase banking products and services from a variety of providers. It's going to be the Wolt of the finance world. Customers will be able to choose the products best suitable to them from hundreds that will be offered, from fintech companies, investment firms, banks, credit card companies, and others. Essentially, anyone who wishes to do so will be able to offer their services to customers through us,” Levin said. “We'll create true competition, and place the power in the hands of customers. And we'll all have to work hard, to be truly attractive, in order for customers to choose us.”