Blog article
See all stories ยป

The biggest ever revolution in banking and beyond

As I am now checking out from full time employment I take this opportunity to sum up what we (not I..) at Nordea, Tieto, the EC Expert Group on e-Invoicing, the Real Time Economy program, the Mobey Forum etc achieved in the some 40 years of bringing more technology into banking and beyond in the new connecting-customers dimension.

The world is by no means ready, so I will continue contributing to the RTE program (for Finland and EU single market). More about that and ZEF Solutions - a growth company I am chairing - later.

What did we achieve?

1. E-banking - the biggest ever revolution in banking. We did not quite realise what dimensions of customer value was going to be delivered when we launched e-banking in 79 for corporates and SME+home PC-banking in 82. Now there are som 5,3m e-banking contracts in a country with 5,5m citizens (some seem to pay for the value to two banks..). We did not realise either what kind of platform e-banking was going to be for the "connecting customers" dimension and extended payments services.

2. Cutting costs of banking in Finland in half. When only 1% of customers need branches for transactions this massive saving of costs - customers used to pay every cent of - was made possible by bringing the services to homes, offices and in between with mobiles...

3. Eliminating cheques and radically cutting use of cash. Transparent charging in 83 eliminated cheque usage and card payments took over and was pushed also as they were used as ID tool for bill payment terminals - which again paved way for PC-banking.

4. Making it possible for bank customers to use the e-bank credentials in public sector and other services where strong Id-tools (one-time password) are needed. Economy of reuse, economy of repetition and economy of trust - big time. Also non-bank customers can have the credentials.

5. Eliminating need for paper contracts - first the loan agreements as these could be signed with the e-bank passwords, then any contracts between 3rd parties and finally also contracts signed on behalf of employers (understanding that it always is Mr Same Guy doing things - irrespective of roles). Connecting customers - again..

6. Real time e-commerce payments - by reusing bill payment infrastructure.

7. E-invoicing by banks in just-like-payments 4-corner model. Any-format-out and any-format-in white label service launched by Tieto. In practise all enterprises signed up in Finland and 70% already using. Heading for 100% structured (not emailed PDFs) e-invoicing soon.

8. Mobile notifications and press "a" (no PIN) payment approval of e-invoices. This is the proper road into mobile banking at large. Moving from self-service to service...

9. E-salary statements as clickable addition to account credit.

10. EU-harmonisation - no more mandatory digital signing of e-invoicing making adoption easier for SMEs and VAT-directive recommending cash based accounting.11. Designing the next value layers enabled by structured e-invoicing - automated accounting, cash flow estimates, automated VAT-reporting etc. - central parts of RTE program's ambition to cut SME administrative costs in half (and save massively also in the public sector...). The biggest ever revolution in administrative processes... more: and

12. Finding efficient and cost efficient anti-grey-economy tools by combining real time salary reporting and e-invoicing based VAT-reporting. It is our money...

13. Standardisation: Finvoice, TEAPPS and ISO20022: for credit payments (SEPA), payment references, e-invoicing, account statements, account inquiries, VAT-reporting etc

14. Started with Union Bank of Finland that grew into Nordea Bank - one of the most stable, profitable and highest market value banks in Europe.

15. Tieto was established in 68 by UBF and delivered much of the industry reshaping solutions for ao Nordea. Now a leading 17.000 strong multisector IT service company.

But there is much more to do - so I will try to get back with an action point list later.


Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 27 February, 2013, 16:47Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

We are headed toward more of a mobile type of banking situation all over the world.  This also includes increased electronic invoicing acceptance by world treasury departments. 

Bo Harald
Bo Harald - Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program,MyData - Helsinki Region 28 February, 2013, 21:02Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Mobile for sure is the next main thing. But maybe less than trying to emulate a PC as selfservice financial supermarket - mobile will become the receiving devices for sharply targeted propositions. Sending e-invoices for payment approval will create a massive economy of repetition.


Bo Harald

Bo Harald

Chairman/Founding member, board member

Transmeri, Demos, Real Time Economy Program,MyData

Member since

04 Nov 2008


Helsinki Region

Blog posts




This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Innovation in Financial Services

A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.

See all

Now hiring