Insights & Opinions

The Banking Scene Top-10 Stories of 2020

Mon, 11 Jan 2021

Rik Coeckelbergs Founder and CEO The Banking Scene

The Banking Scene Top 10 Stories of 2020

2020 was the Year of Digital. This was not different for The Banking Scene, where we initiated The Banking Scene Afterwork, our weekly Virtual Round Table session, “your one-hour distraction that helps to back on track more inspired than ever”.

These Afterwork sessions dominated the opinions on The Banking Scene Website. Every week, we wrote a piece on the key takeaways of the week before, highlighting the main messages of our central guests.

We started this in April, meaning there we still four months with regular blogs that got more time to find readers in 2020.

Here we go, The Banking Scene most-read opinions of 2020 are:

1: SME Banking Will Never Be the Same Again

This blog was the result of one of our first Afterwork sessions, where we invited Brad van Leeuwen to have a closer look at SMEs and their needs when it comes to financial services. The idea that SME banking will never be the same again had to do with COVID-19, that will bring a lot of smaller businesses in trouble, not because society no longer wants their products and services, but simply because of liquidity problems.

This will trigger new entrepreneurs, a new, younger, generation with new needs, to fill these gaps in the market, once COVID-19 is back under control. This is why SME banking will never be the same again, according to Brad, and I completely agree with him.

2: Belgium has a new Challenger Bank aion: time for an interview

Right before the first lockdown, a new challenger bank saw the light in Belgium. I was lucky enough to be invited. On top of that, I got the change to take a video interview with their Chief Commercial Officer, Wojciech Sass.

He explained what their motivations are to start a new bank, how they will bank differently from the rest and what their promise is to their clients.

3: The Future of Work in the Banking Industry

This opinion results from the second try-out of The Banking Scene Afterwork, a great conversation on how work will be organised in the future. Our guest did not come from the industry. It was Guy Claes, back then Marketing Director at Facilicom.

I knew Guy as a tough trainer in the Cross Gym; this Afterwork was an excellent opportunity to get to know him in a different way. With me, all the participants left the virtual table better informed on how everyone feels about remote and home working, how COVID-19 will change the way we work and the way we bank in the future.

4: The global impact of COVID-19 on banks, challengers, fintech: an interview with Richard Turrin

As the crisis worsened in Europe and the rest of the world, Asia seemed to start getting a grip on the virus by the end of March. Agreed, it was with many restrictions and measures that would not always be accepted in the West, but it seemed to work.

This triggered me to set up a video interview with Richard Turrin, who is located in Shanghai. This blog links the Youtube video, including the transcript of the video with Richard’s experiences over there and his opinion on how the crisis will shape the future of Fintech and Banking.

5: Does Belgium need an initiative like A78 to make PSD2 work?

At the beginning of February, life was good, I didn’t know what was going to happen a few months later, and I was excited that on January 27th, A78 was born (PayBelgium is their current name). I scheduled an interview with Davy Kestens, CEO of Cake and Yves Bovin, Head of Legal to hear from the founders why this is a crucial step to make Belgium more ‘Fintech friendly’ in the wake of PSD2 and Open Banking.

As proof of their importance today, it is worth checking their website, which lists the 26 members that they represent today.

6: By Improving Financial Wellbeing, Banks Become Health Companies

I will always remember this blog, as it got me in Forbes, thanks to David Birch. Menno Van Leeuwen, the special guest of this Afterwork session in June, was the Head of Lower Financial Stress at Moneyou that time.

In the context of ‘banking for good’, one of the themes in 2021, this was a great introduction. We concluded that by reducing financial stress, banks would not only be improving financial wellbeing, but they would also have a direct impact on the overall emotional and physical health of their customers in some way.

7: The story behind the numbers: open banking investments and returns

Tink found out that banks will keep spending a massive amount of money on Open Banking in 2020, 2021 and further in the future. With Jan Van Vonno, their Research Director, we looked at the report’s key conclusions that they published right before this Afterwork session in June. He answered the remaining question and helped us understand the story behind “Median open banking spending between €50 million and €100 million”.

P.S. Jan: kudos for giving me some advice on writing as well, I also appreciate this kind of input 😉.

8: 4 possible scenarios for the bank branch in a post-COVID reality

At the end of May, I had a week where I didn’t have an Afterwork session to write about. I took the time to digest the session with Guy Claes, on the future of work and think what all this, the crisis, and the predictions resulting from the crisis, could mean for branches.

What are the scenarios for banks with their branches, next to the obvious one (closing them)?

9: Fintech Partnerships: Lessons Learned from Minna Technologies and ING

This opinion broke with the trend that you only reach the top-10 if you are long enough online. The first Afterwork session of October was one to remember.

Joakim and Aleksander Tchernov of Minna Technologies invited their client ING, represented by Abhishek to share their experiences on good Fintech-Bank partnerships and how the crisis may affect this.

Although technology spoiled the start of this session, this was quickly forgotten once we were in the flow of the conversation.

10: The long term impact of COVID-19 on the payments industry

Looking back at this blog of April 7th, I am glad to see that these predictions still make sense on the longer term. Most of the implemented measures in the payments space in 2020 in answer to the crisis were, what I would call, lipstick on a pig.

The real impact will only be visible in a few years, after the industry got sufficient time to think, to invest and to implement structural improvements for a healthier industry.

This was The Banking Scene’s top-10 of 2020. From January 21st on, we look forward to e-meet you again, and until then: stay safe!


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