Nordea Bank has hired expertise to strengthen its digital banking team and promoted its digital ambitions with the announcement of support for the Apple Watch.
Michal Panowicz joins Nordea from Poland's mBank, where he led the development of a suite of design-led innovative digital banking products.
Panowicz will take up the position as deputy head of digital banking. His focus will be on the development side of Nordea’s digital services and the sales and marketing of these along with the integration between digital and other channels.
“Today’s online and mobile channels are so far mainly focused on simple transactions and less on providing sufficiently actionable information. Digital capabilities will provide our customers with a new level of access to their money, information, insight, advice and the opportunity to acquire new products and services across digital platforms. Interestingly large elements of the digital solutions will be shared across household and corporate lines,” said Panowicz.
Prior to mBank – where he held the position of managing director for products, marketing and digital – Panowicz worked at Microsoft, eBay and Boston Consulting Group.
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Design-led innovation in Poland
Panowicz will join the Nordea team with high hopes he can bring the design-first approach from mBank in Poland into the Nordic countries.
Mbank's online banking platform launched in 2013, introducing digital financial innovations ranging from gamification to Google-like search. The platform delivers a mix of customer interfaces, advanced and integrated money management features, real-time customer relationship management, merchant-funded rewards, Facebook integration and video banking. Adoption of the new banking service quickly grew from 18% to 71% in the six months after launch.
Mbank’s mobile app offers location-based services such as finding the nearest ATM and offers real time notifications near specific places. The latter functionality allows the bank to explore further revenue options through targeted advertising, which is already in place on their online banking service.
In 2014, Forrester Research revealed mBank had the best secure bank website capabilities in Europe, following a survey of ten leading European banks.
Investment in digital banking
The appointment marks the latest step in Nordea's digital investments. In autumn 2014, the bank launched a programme to develop more personalised and convenient customer systems. The bank increased its planned IT investment by 30-35% over the coming years and core banking and payment platforms were promised.
In April 2015 the bank announced content for the Apple Watch, the only bank in the Nordic region to offer such support at launch. Through its Nordea Next app, customers will have instant access to their balance from their wrists.
Digitisation has changed the way customers use and relate to banks. The mobile bank is now among the most frequent touchpoints between Nordea and its customers. Christian Bornfeld, head of Digital Banking at Nordea, said: "The future will demand new services from us, so we intend to find out if and how customers value using wearables for banking purposes by involving them and asking for their feedback.”
Headquartered in Stockholm, Nordea is a financial services group operating in the Nordics, Baltics and Poland. Nordea currently serves approximately 10 million private and 500,000 active corporate customers.