LFP089 – Dating and Mating with Fintechs Alexander Ball, Fintech Manager ING

The best post-“post crisis” banks have leaped ahead and are well on the way to leveraging Fintech to make themselves even stronger. Alexander Ball Fintech Manager at ING talks to us about a bank which has over 100 partnerships with Fintechs, the best known of which perhaps is Kabbage whereby ING clients can borrow up to €100,000 online within minutes.

All incumbents, all banks are absolutely not the same. Whilst the slowest and least well organised of the incumbents aren’t doing a great job adapting to the digital world the best organised are.

When a firm with 50,000 staff and €50bn of equity start to leverage new digital ideas and innovations doesn’t this start to leave disruptive Fintech far behind?

How does Alex and his team of scouts and analysts organise this?

How do they date and mate with the right Fintechs?

What are the challenges?

What are the opportunities?

How have they had to change to make all this happen?

All these topics and more are discussed on the show including:

  • selfies 🙂
  • podcasts and can increased competition actually increase the size of a market and hence benefit all players?
  • artistic integrity and Fintech founding
  • vision and the value of a North Star
  • career advice – look for the overlap of three circles – what you love, what you are good at, and what the market will pay you for
  • Alex’s career journey
  • how little Computer Science at university changed between the early 80’s and the early 00’s – and of course the smartphone came along at the end of the 00’s
  • how the pattern of working in market data in IT paralleled and patterned the approach to Fintech today – in a way very little difference in setting up external partnerships to deliver “stuff” that the bank needs
  • ING’s motivations in working with Fintech/Fintechs
  • what ING gains, what Fintechs gain by partnership
  • the 5 ways Banks are approaching Fintech
    1. Innovation Labs
    2. Accelerators
    3. Proof of concepts
    4. Partnerships
    5. Venture Funds
  • the 6th way “ignore it completely”
  • the importance of how much internal/management “weight” is behind initiatives
  • how to combine centralisation with localism across a large banks initiatives
  • proactive and reactive approaches with business lines
  • how these work in practice
  • 140 Fintech partnerships have been originated and 25 pruned away
  • Illuminate Financial (who ING work with) model of Innovate – Validate – Adopt
  • in other banks “initiative-itis” – random, uncoordinated, not joined-up initiatives
  • the guiding principles of ING partnering
  • “war scars”
  • learning from failure
  • some lessons learned:
    • the importance of senior management buy-in at “board -1, board -2” levels – the necessity not just of funds but of internal resources to make things happen
    • the need to change traditional procurement processes – ING can now do a proof of concept with a Fintech within 4 weeks
    • educating internal teams – in procurement, in risk, in compliance, in IT – so they all understand they can’t apply the same frameworks that they do when for example dealing with Tier 1 organisations
  • the jewel in the crown is proof of concepts – including not just the yang but the yin aspects (cultural, personnel fit et al)
  • the risk in more bureaucratic organisations of analysis paralysis – always thinking about something a little bit more…
  • cultural challenges in FS around failure – differing attitudes across business lines; the need to reframe failure to some of them
  • Alex is on the look-out for:
    • semi-mature Fintechs, Series A and beyond with a tangible product who are looking to scale in Europe
    • conduits to such (the likes of Illuminate Financial in different niches)
  • ING are launching Fintech Village their accelerator in Belgium – closing date is 15-12-17

And much much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!