Innovaties in de financiële sector | FinanceInnovation

Fidor Bank: “We pay clients to ask questions”

They succeeded in really putting the customer first. And yes, of course, every bank, insurance company or pension fund says it does. What makes Fidor Bank different? Sophie Guibaud, one of the speakers at Fintech Connect Live in London, gives some insight into the way she looks at banking.

Do we still need to introduce Fidor? If you’ve visited a finance event last year, chances are you’ve already met them. Evidently, they speak at banking events and since they are a fintech company, they will also take the stage at the Fintech Connect Live event in London. What’s more surprising is that they spoke at the Bitcoin Congres in Amsterdam. Why? Because they embraced the Ripple protocol and enable their clients to make direct payments. Instant payment…yeah, exactly: while most countries are still working on that, at Fidor’s it’s allready possible.

Customer centricity
Fidor started five years ago, in Germany. The bank is a product of Fidor Tecs, an IT company which helps companies such as Banks, Telecoms, and Fintech companies to launch digital banking offerings by providing the technology but on top of that the banking licence for some of them. “We offer Banking-as-a-Service to banks or telecom providers that have a concept, but lack the technology”, Sophie Guibaud, VP European Expansion, explains. Guibaud is a French woman working for a German bank in England. No worries though; it’s not difficult at all to understand her. In fact, her French accent makes her story all the more attractive. What that story is about? All and only about the customer. “We breathe customer centricity.” Well spoken, but how does that show? “We created a community bonus programme which consist of rewarding our community members financially for their participation in the Fidor community. It seems reasonable that if something’s unclear to a client, it may well be unclear to other clients. We want to solve that instead of waiting for chaos or complaints. Therefore we pay our clients to ask questions.”

“Your wish is our command”
People at Fidor tell us that they want to restore the confidence in the banking sector and offer client based products. Guibaud explains how Fidor shapes these goals. “We have a product section where clients can suggest what products to develop next. And very important: we keep our promises. Let me give you an example. We launched Fidor a couple of months ago in England. We asked our UK community members what they thought would be a fair interest rate for our savings bonds. We made a proposal to our community members, which they provided us with feedback on: they wanted the introduction of a 9-month savings bond and an increase in one of the interest rates offered. Within 5 days the changes were implemented. We did the same with our master card pricing. We pride ourselves in treating our community members as co-managers rather than just customers.”

Future proof
Fidor is also known for integrating third-party financial services directly onto its platform. Does that mean they are already PSD2 proof? “Oh yes”, Guibaud says, “we’re even far beyond that. And we advise banks to do the same. We believe in sharing, so we also share our experiences with the APIs we use, which are of course publicly available online.” Is that the consultant speaking? Maybe, but at Fidor’s they do share a lot of knowledge for free. At the event in London Guibaud will talk about digital banking and customer or community based banking.

Since Guibaud is head of European Expansion, we can not omit to ask which country Fidor will conquer next. The Netherlands perhaps? “We don’t know yet”, she answers, which we, of course, interpret as a yes. “For now we focus on further developing in England. Introducing a debit card is the first thing on the list. Then we will launch our mobile app and a new product: our overdraft and emergency loans, which you can fix in 60 seconds.”

Over de schrijver

Suzanne Wijers

Suzanne Wijers is journalist en uitgever van FinanceInnovation.

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