With their digital transformation programs at an advanced level, the domestic banking system is already in the next day enabling the traders to carry out almost all of their transactions, if they wish, digitally without their presence in the store.

In this way, banks also face the competition that has arisen in recent years from so-called third-party players who have dynamically entered both internationally and in our country in individual payment and service sectors that until recently were almost exclusively a matter of the banking system. But at what specific stage are banks currently in the field of digitization and why will they resist the entry of new players? What can customers expect? Which services are experiencing growth?

As he mentioned, from the forum of Delphi, the Chief Digital Officer of Alpha Bank, Michalis Charbopoulos it is a fact that we are seeing more and more social networking, messaging, etc. apps. to add services with the most basic one of value transfer, debit card issuance and bill payment. In essence, however, as he said, until today, we have not seen any such company offer a truly new service, a true innovation that has not been offered by banks for years, and in fact on top of real bank accounts that are also covered by the deposit guarantee framework.

IRIS payments was mentioned, pointing out that a citizen can send money directly to another citizen or to a professional, knowing only his mobile number and of course with the security of deposits that does not exist in a simple digital wallet. This is a much higher added value service, as it covers the actual transfer of money between different banking institutions and not simply the transfer of value between users of the same organization.

– 100% digital services offered

Today, through bank applications, a customer has a much more complete service, as he can make remittances to all countries and banks in the world, pay any bill he wants, issue debit or credit cards, digitize his cards and connect them to digital wallets, obtain a personal loan, transact on investment products, obtain insurance coverage, etc.

One of the major challenges banks now face, said Alpha Bank’s Chief Digital Officer, Michalis Tsarbopoulos, is of a design nature in the digital environment of solutions that offer something between art and science, so that customers, from a wide range of products and services, to be able to easily and quickly to be able to easily and quickly find and use them.

Focusing on Alpha Bank, he pointed out that it has designed and is implementing a comprehensive plan to further enrich digital services and upgrade the digital experience of its customers for the coming years. Key pillars of this plan are the 100% digitization of customers’ everyday services, the ability to provide all simple banking and bancassurance products through fully digitized journeys, the enhancement of the provision of complex banking services and products (e.g. management property, housing loans) through the use of modern technology, such as e.g. teleconferences using video, exchange of digital documents and signatures with customers, and finally the redesign and modernization of its basic digital applications, both on the web and on mobile.

– Starting a banking relationship without a presence in the store

On the other hand, Christina Theofilidis, General Manager of Retail Banking of National Bank, highlighted the impressive progress that has been made in the last decade in Europe, with the penetration rate of digital banking jumping to 60%, from 35% in 2011. Especially in Greece, transactions through digital networks increased significantly, correspondingly limiting transactions in store networks, which currently serve only 3% of cash transactions.

Greece, along with Germany and Italy, is at a level of digital banking usage of just over 50%, which is far from other European countries such as France and Spain, which are close to 68%, and certainly the Nordic countries, where digital banking has reached 85% public penetration. For the digital maturity of National Bank, Ms. Theofilidis cited a recent Deloitte global survey, in which National Bank is ranked among the top 20 proposals from a total of approximately 300 banking institutions, including traditional banks as well as neobanks.

Today, said Mrs. Theofilidis, every Greek can become a client of the National Bank exclusively from their mobile phone, open their first account, obtain any type of card (debit, prepaid, credit), apply and receive in a few minute personal loan, to invest in fixed deposits, mutual funds and shares, to insure himself, his family and his property.

– The tech giants and the banks

Regarding the entry of technological giants, such as Apple, into the availability of banking products, Mrs. Theofilidis, estimated that it is a trend that will become more intense in the future, as these companies dominate the offer of services through mobile phones.

The challenge, however, is not whether they can offer a single product at very good pricing. They can certainly do that, as could a start-up bank if it wanted to gain a clientele. We have to study and we are already looking very closely at the experience that big tech companies offer to the customer. There we have a lot to learn as a banking system. And we must continue to become better, more human-centric and improve the experience of the customer who transacts with us digitally. This is how we respond to the challenge of Big techs, and this is how we also increase our digital penetration.

– Investments that exceeded one billion euros

In order to lead the domestic banking system into the new digital era, the total investments, according to convergent estimates that have been made public, exceeded one billion euros and were extended throughout their organizational structure. The specific transformation programs that were planned for at least three years are in most cases at an advanced stage with the changes now visible to ordinary customers, with the most typical example being the change in appearance of the physical network of bank branches.