What North American banks can learn from Europe

Cliff Condon, Head of Research for Forrester's Marketing & Strategy cohort, gave Finance Forum attendees an eye-opening look into European online banking trends.  Cliff happens to be the perfect person to deliver this cross-cultural perspective, originally from Boston and having lived in Amsterdam for the past seven years, working in the financial services industry on both sides of the Atlantic.  His charge to the audience:  benchmark globally, differentiate locally.

Europe's leading innovators are ahead of the game in three areas:

  • Online experiences.  In particular, Northern Europe has higher adoption of online banking vs. Southern Europe.  Postbank (DE) and Nationwide (UK) are both providing more information to customers which enhances their experience.
  • Mobile strategies.  No surprise here; 85% of Europeans own a mobile phone.  First Direct (UK) and Rabobank (NL) are using SMS to deliver timely, relevant information and reduce operating expenses.
  • Cross-channel integration.  Trends similar to the US here for online research and offline transacting.  Danske Bank (DK) and ABN-AMRO (NL) offer online tools and functionality that support more valuable in-branch experiences.  These banks have also taken steps online to humanize the digital experience.

It's clear that companies need to look for innovation not only outside their industry, but also across the world.  Global best practices are the perfect way to differentiate a local offering.