EFMA’s Online Financial Services 2008 – Wrap Up


It was a pleasure to participate to EFMA’sOnline Financial Services for the second year in a row.

I had a great time in Athens. the quality of the speakers and the attendees was again outstanding.

I will do my best to come up with a comprehensive and insightful wrap up.

Study day “Internet et Mobile” in Paris
“Parlez-vous francais”? If the answer is yes, I recommend you to attend EFMA’s study day on November 28th.

I am looking forward to this event. First, it feels good to participate to a conference in my homeland France, but more importantly because Philippe gave me not only the opportunity to share my vision of social media in the banking industry, but also the responsibility to present a short wrap-up of the EFMA Online Finance and Mobile Finance events from early November in Athens.

Brilliant: the event was a perfect reflection of the current trends in online banking
Congratulations to Philippe who came up with the best possible line up in terms of content, range of topics and insights. I found the event brilliant!

First of all, I was delighted that a third of the 14 presentations touched upon web 2.0 and social media (Tim Collins – Wells Fargo, Tony de Bree – ABN Amro, Dennis Pereira – SNS Reaal, Massimo Cicardo – BNL, and myself). Even Tal Shlasky – Bank Hapoalim focused on social media when he unveiled their new PFM tool.

Even though nowadays bankers show more and more interest in social media, most of them still don’t appreciate the importance and the size of the opportunity.

Banks are late. Even though most banks are busy upgrading their online channel and getting rid of their legacy systems in favour of SOA and fully content managed systems, and despite their aspiration to be seen as an Amazon online and their aim for higher Net Promoter Scores, banks are still late.

Put your hands up in the air
Since March 2007 I have been busy evangelizing social media at over a dozen industry leading events worldwide. Every single time I speak at an industry leading conference, wherever the event takes place (US, Europe or Asia), I always start my presentation by assessing the number of delegates involved on social media projects.

In Athens, the number of hands was still low. But it  was even worse atRetail Banking Innovations in Singapore last month: out of 180 people, less than 10 people raised their hands. Interesting statistic considering that China on its own counts over 42 million bloggers out of the 475 million bloggers worldwide (source: McCann’s Social Media Tracker Wave 3, March 2008).

If I exclude the speakers, just a handful of people confirmed their involvement in the space. Webank20Among them wasVittoria La Porta from WeBank. I had a good chat with her and I was impressed to see how active in web 2.0 WeBank is, and how much effort they put in developing good relationships with prominent bloggers in Italy.
I invite you to check the web 2.0 tile on their homepage.

But the industry is acknowledging the importance of participating to online discussions and engaging with the market: more and more sizable, well established, banks are experimenting and launching social media initiatives. Just last week, firstdirect (UK) launched itslittleblackbook initiative, and SEB (Sweden) launched their social network for trade finance professionals, The Benche.
Please check my initial comments in the Posted Items section on the Visible Banking Page on Facebook.

Wanted – social media champions & subject matter experts
All the most active and experimental banks have at least one social media champion in their Senior Management (CxO level). It is critical to have that kind of support to get any traction. Your Management doesn’t appreciate the importance of social media and still see User Generated Content (UGC) as a big threat? Focus on education first: organize a few internal social media workshops and taylored one-to-one sessions with the Senior Management, invite industry experts…

We love business cases in the industry, and further down the line it is very likely you will have to produce some solid ones to promote your web 2.0 initiatives… Except if you have enough power and trust at your bank, like Dennis at SNS Reaal who launched their customer stories in a timely manner without business case. Impressive.

For the time being social media remains tactical, and except Wells Fargo very few banks have a proper, integrated, social media strategy. And most of the banks which tried haven’t succeeded yet, they need direction.

There is still a premium for the smarter banks, and despite the credit crunch (or shall I say because of it), subject matter experts will be very busy in 2009.

Interviews with the speakers

Please check my video interviews with some of the speakers:
Tim Collins, SVP Experiential Marketing at Wells Fargo
Tony de Bree, Senior Consultant at ABN Amro
Thomas Kragh and Lene Klausen, at NyKredit
* Tal Shlasky, Direct Banking Division Manager at Bank Hapoalim

Great networking
I had the chance to discuss social media, one-to-one, with my peers from Absa Bank, Alfa Bank, alpha Bank, Banco Best, Bank Hapoalim, BNL, CSOB, Ditzo, Eventricity, Federation des Caisses Desjardins, Google, Liberty International, Melania, Mobey Forum, Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena, Nomura Research Institute, NyKredit, OTP Bank, PWC, Rabobank, Rabobank, RATP, Swedbank, WeBank.

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

EFMA’s Online Financial Services 2008 – Interview with Tony de Bree, ABN Amro

EFMA’s Study Day “Internet et Mobile” (Paris) – Wrap Up