Rabobank chairman of the executive board Wiebe Draijer has given an insight into his vision for the future of banking in the fintech age, arguing that providing knowledge and access to networks, not products, will be what drives his industry.
Speaking at Money20/20, Draijer offered up a grand vision of how he wants his bank to contribute to wealth, prosperity, and even feeding the world.
"We are making this happen not only by fulfilling financial needs, but also by providing access to both relevant knowledge and our network. For our customers, and also together with established partners and startups," he told his audience.
Rabobank screens thousands of startups every year, bringing in about 50 to an accelerator programme before experimenting with 30-odd and finally investing in three to five. The Dutch firm runs approximately 120 mid and long term innovation projects with more than 700 people involved in "innovation".
Says Draijer: "We are developing our own FinTech startups and we get involved and invest in innovative external companies when strategically relevant. Through these companies, Rabobank is creating strategic options for the future and is helping build a sustainable and future-proof business model for our customers."
The bank is also bringing a digital touch to its long history in the food and agriculture financing business through its Terra accelerator programme and an online community for farmers.
Says Draijer: "In order to continue to provide the best possible service, we must know exactly what is happening in their [customers'] lives, their problems, their needs, and what developments are impacting their businesses.
"We’re continuously looking for ways to help and support them in the best ways we can. This spurs a drive for innovation. Innovation is not an aim in itself for us, but rather a result of our drive and mission."