Over 150 years, the UK’s big five banking institutions held retail customers at their mercy. Metro Bank, one of the fastest-expanding new banks in Britain, has neutralised that monopoly, using an efficient information technology platform. Year to year, the bank has won various innovative awards, and this year revealed the launch of a new AI- powered money management tool called Insights. The tool will monitor users’ transactions in real-time to better understand clients’ spending habits and will then turn the information into tips and advice for customers, including instructions on avoiding unnecessary charges. Paul Riseborough, chief commercial officer at Metro Bank, spoke to The Fintech Times at Money20/20 on how the bank fosters innovations and what to expect in future.
Please tell us more about the core values of the innovative Metro bank strategy?
Metro Bank has one true north: create FANS. This means every decision we make, either reinforces the brand and turns customers into FANS or it doesn’t. Our job is to ensure the decisions we make deliver customer service that is tangibly different to the competition.
This year Metro Bank announced a new AI powered PFM service. Can you tell us more about what Insights will achieve for consumers?
Insights, which will launch later this summer, will sit within our app and help customers better understand their own financial behaviour, and provide useful money management prompts. A good example might be an annual magazine subscription that is coming up for renewal – Insights will prompt you a couple of days before the payment is due to check whether you want to go ahead with it. The best bit about Insights is that it will get better over time by continually learning, meaning that its prompts become ever more accurate and helpful.
What tech projects based on innovative technologies are you going to launch this year?
There’s a lot going on at the moment. We’re exploring interesting ways to deploy automation and machine learning capabilities into our operational areas, meaning we do simple things faster for customers and colleagues. We’re also in the middle of designing some groundbreaking services and platforms for our SME customers that will leverage open APIs and the latest payment technologies. Our focus is on designing simple, intuitive, trustworthy customer experiences.
What do you think the role of banks will be in 2028?
Banking in 2028 will contain much that’s different to today – but also much that’s familiar. Accounts and services across different providers will be more connected thanks to Open Banking and open APIs. Borrowing will be a more personalised experience and much easier than it is today and mortgages will be fully digitised. Despite those predicting its demise, face-to-face banking will not only have endured, but be thriving. Digital technologies will have enabled a more seamless, connected physical banking experience. Banks that sold off their branches will be regretting it dearly.
What are the constraints to fostering innovations in traditional banking?
It is common to hear people talk about legacy systems holding back the incumbent banks from innovating. Truth is, the traditional banks are starting to get their houses in order. For me, the bigger impediment is their cultures. They struggle to be customer-focused because they are under pressure to defend and grow huge annual profit pools that have traditionally come from poorly designed products and services – which is generally bad for customers. Our view is that simple, transparent products and services build trust – and that’s the way to win customers.
What is the core goal for your company for this year?
Our goal is to maintain our unique company culture and commitment to customer service. This might sound simplistic, but it’s a hard goal to achieve and goes to the core of what we stand for.