Retail banking transforms into life-fulfillment services – A session of the FINDER inclusive digital innovation week

On Thursday, our event week on inclusive digital innovation in FS&I reached its final day. It was exciting to bring together perspectives from academia and practice. On our last day, we discussed how banks could transform into life-fulfillment services platforms. Eddy Claessens, Industry director at Atos, gave us insight into his hyper customer-centric retail banking vision, so-called life-fulfillment platforms. The session was hosted and facilitated by Jonas Röttger, a Ph.D. Candidate on the FINDER project.

What are life-fulfillment services platforms?

Life-fulfillment platforms refer to a vision on retail banking. It represents a business model in which the customer interacts through the banking platform with various ecosystems to fulfill diverse real-world needs. For instance, purchasing train tickets, filing insurance claims, and organizing a move. Of course, the platform also offers core financial services provided by almost all retail banks today. The general idea is that life-fulfillment platforms cover all of the customer’s needs that are related to financial transactions. These customer needs can be summarized into four cornerstones of the vision.

  1. Pay and spend
  2. Save and borrow
  3. Invest and protect
  4. Receive and earn

Which roles can banks play in this model?

The overall vision is to create a one-stop-shop solution, meaning one bank becomes the exclusive entry point for customers to fulfill various needs (see above for categories of customer needs). The short-term and mid-term perspective requires banks to position themselves concerning their function as links between the customer and various ecosystems. For instance, banks can decide to act as advisors for ecosystems where they have expertise but do not want to get directly involved. Or they can aggregate services and products in their offerings. The role banks can play hinges on their competencies and prospects. The lfie-fulfillment services vision sees four different roles mentioned below as the most promising options for banks:

  1. Advisor: the bank consults the customer on what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and with whom to do it.
  2. Facilitator: the bank provides, orchestrates, and curates a platform for different stakeholder groups to not only find each other but also interact and transact,
  3. Aggregator: the bank will package and integrate homegrown and third-party solutions.
  4. Initiator: the bank offers direct access through bank distribution channelsto specifically supported externally sourced services or products

What did we learn in our discussion with academia and practitioners on the topic of life-fulfillment services?

  • Banks are already working towards the implementation of similar models. The risk of disintermediation and the lower margins in various fields of retail banking requires banks to shift their business models. Hence, becoming a provider of new services is an appealing vision for banks.
  • Banks do not need to fulfill all roles proclaimed in the model. It strongly depends on their customers and their position in the ecosystems. Which relationships can be leveraged? Also, the customer journey for individual use cases shows which role to play.
  • Banks are well-equipped for the data-driven operational model that is needed to become life-fulfillment service platforms. They have the customers’ trust and access to rich financial data. However, the analytic capability might be something that needs further development, and that can be achieved through partnerships.

If you would like to learn more about life-fulfillment services, please reach out to Eddy Claessens for further dialog on this topic.

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