Meniga’s FIN42 conference brings together our customers, partners & friends to Iceland for the latest and greatest in Fintech and digital banking.
The event this year was packed with interesting keynotes and panels and took place at Harpa Concert Hall in the heart of Reykjavik. Check out the presentations from the event here.
Here’s what happened at the event.
Fear the tech giants
The interactive aspect of the conference was a big hit. We both polled the audience and invited guests to send in questions to speakers.
One poll revealed that bankers in the auditorium were most worried about Amazon encroaching on their business. They are also wary of competition from other tech behemoths such as Alipay, Facebook, Google and Apple.
Another question we asked the audience was which incumbent bank they felt would be most likely to re-invent itself. Very interesting results.
Arturo MacDowell, CEO of Eurobits, Simon Vans-Colina, Open Banking and Public API Engineer at Monzo, Paolo Barbesino, Head of Multichannel Banking NBD and Ruth Foxe Blader, Director Anthemis joined a panel moderated by Chris Skinner about Open Banking & Digital Banking Challengers.
Open APIs are the future
Ģirts Bērziņš, Head of Digital Banking Strategy at Swedbank Group emphasised that old business models which are based on walls and barriers to entry are under threat. Now, banks must build, grow and maintain overlapping ecosystems and capabilities. This should be characterised by free flow of information through open APIs.
Finnur then invited his´secret weapon´on stage, the data scientist Ingvi Gautsson, on stage. He demonstrated how consolidated data can be analysed and acted upon.
Jay Mehta Director of Digital Technology Innovation at Tangerine joined Finnur on stage and covered how Meniga and Tangerine have worked together to bring innovative banking solutions to Tangerine´s customers.
Delivering better user interfaces and PSD2 readiness
Pierre-Yves Guegan Head of Digital Channels, Central & Eastern Europe Retail Division at UniCredit gave a presentation entitled ´Digital UI/UX as a differentiator in banking.´
He demonstrated how user testing has delivered a lot of value to the bank and its customers. He highlighted how UniCredit partnership with Meniga has delivered personalised user interface to customers and PSD2 readiness for the bank.
Never Waste a Good Crisis
Elísabet Grétarsdóttir, Brand Director at EA Games, spoke about lessons learned in the game industry. She recounted how she had joined EA games four years ago when the company found itself in a difficult situation with one of its biggest franchises, the Battlefield game series.
“Diversity must not become an activity that happens solely in a committee. It needs to be on the table in the boardroom, at the very top of the organization, or nothing will happen”
Birna Einarsdóttir CEO of Íslandsbanki
Telco challenging the banks in the UK
Ian Herd, Head of Financial Serves at the UK telco Three covered how a telco can challenge banks. Three is the smallest mobile operator in the UK but still has more than 10 million customers.
Three stands out as the telco brand with customers who use the most data and has the highest NPS score. Ian believes that telcos are in general well positioned to address consumer´s finanical needs. Most people have only one telecom provider but on average they use about three financial institutions.
Telcos have big customer bases and are used to work in regulated environments. Ian cited research which shows that millennials are the most valuable group for banks with a wallet size of 40% greater than the average.
They are motivated to save after the 2008 recession and open to new solutions. Finally, Ian spoke about the Meniga and Three partnership. Meniga powers Three´s free Wuntu Money app which is a personal money coach offered free to its customers.
Bringing mobile payments to Zimbabwe
Barry Gerson is the CEO and Co-Founder of ICEcash, an electronic payment platform, that operates primarily in Zimbabwe. He gave a fascinating presentation on bringing payments solutions to the public and private sector in Zimbabwe.
While the use of mobile phones is high, the same is not true for bank accounts. By using innovative solutions, ICEcash has been able to bring smart and secure payments to the Zimbabwean market.
Jemina Kelly, journalist at Financial Times moderated a panel titled banking beyond banking and was joined by Pierre-Yves Guegan, Head of Digital Channels, CEU Retail UniCredit, Aage Reerslev, CEO and Co-founder of Wrapp, Georg Ludviksson, CEO & Co-founder of Meniga and Elísabet Grétarsdóttir, Brand Director at EA Games.
Staying Competitive Requires Change
Bo Olafsson, Managing Partner at Deloitte Consulting, Iceland took the audience on a time travel journey to the year 2028 where he imagined a successful bank looking ten years back on its journey of digital development.
The importance of diversity in fintech and banking
Danielle Neben — Marketing Director, ePassi Iceland, focused her presentation on the importance of of diversity in fintech and banking. She has worked a lot in this field, having been member of the board of FKA — Association of Women Business Leaders in Iceland and its Vice Chairwoman from 2016–2018. She currently leads the FKA New Icelanders initiative.
The vision of FKA is that the Icelandic economy is characterised by diversity. Danielle pointed out that companies that embrace diversity can broaden its skill base and become more competitive and innovative. She also highlighted the massive opportunity provided by the female economy. It has grown from $13T in 2009 to $18T in 2014. In comparison, the combined GDP of China and India in 2014 was ´only´ $8.4T. In addition, women account for 85% of all consumer purchases.
However, only 3% of venture dollars are invested in solo female founders. Danille also talked about different approaches to management and cited Christine Lagarde, Managing Director and Chairwoman of the International Monetary Fund, who said: ´If Lehman Brothers had been a bit more like Lehman Sisters … we would not have had the degree of tragedy that we had as a result of what happened.´
As an Icelander who went through the 2008 financial crisis, I find it hard to argue with this last point!
Danielle moderated a panel about diversity in fintech and banking with the following participants: Birna Einarsdóttir, CEO of Íslandsbanki, Hrefna Ásgeirsdóttir, VP Engineering at Meniga, Áslaug Hafsteinsdóttir, VP Professional Services at Meniga, Sigyn Jónsdóttir, Head of Professional Services for Men & Mice and Jayesh Mehta, Director, Digital Technology Innovation at Tangerine
The conference ended with closing remarks from Jóhann Bragi Fjalldal and a great party where people networked and chatted about all the interesting thing that had been said and shown on this great day.
Looking forward to the next one!