Poland's Alior bank is stepping up its digital transformation strategy with the establishment of a fintech department, startup accelerator and Open API platform.
In October 2017, Alior Bank unveiled a 'Digital Disruptor' strategy, including the development of a fintech partner environment and a commitment to spend EUR23.7 million per year on innovation projects while taking the axe to its branch network. Almost EUR5 million of this extra spending has been earmarked for investment in fintech startups and projects.
“It is our goal to have 20 partners by 2020, which is the time horizon of the Digital Disruptor strategy,” says Michał Chyczewski, Alior Bank VP and acting CEO. “It is our aspiration to be the bank of first choice for fintechs in Europe.”
The mission of the Warsaw-based accelerator is to identify innovative technology startups, including seed projects, and provide mentorship, funding and a sandbox environment for testing products using the bank's data.
“Our people are looking at solutions proposed by fintechs in Europe, Israel, and the US. We have identified and contacted a number of interesting potential partners,” says Bruno Ferreira, Alior Bank MD. “We want to help our partners raise money for growth within and outside Alior Bank. We believe that it will change the market of fintech solutions in Poland and in the region."
The development of the accelerator is a part of a bigger project which will see the creation of a new fintech department and inhouse innovation unit, housed in a new hi-tech space at the Warsaw Spire scheduled to open in May 2018.
The bank has also settled on IBM as its Open API partner, and local implementation manager Tuatara as it prepares for PSD2 and the roll-out of advanced aggregation and PFM tools for customers.
Mariusz Ożga, Alior Bank’s fintech director, says: “We want to give clients a banking app which integrates all bank accounts, including accounts with Alior Bank and with other banks, so clients always know the exact value of their accounts.”
The bank is also planning to develop a fintech marketplace where clients can pick and choose services of partners that are complementary to the traditional banking service.
Says Ożga: “We want to be a bank for every day which assists clients in their everyday needs. The bank will not only provide financial services but also work with third partners to offer a broad range of services to clients.”