Having racked up nearly two million users in Austria and the Czech Republic, Erste Group is rolling out its PSD2-ready digital banking platform, George, in Slovakia.
Developed by Erste Group Bank's in-house fintech team, George is designed to be an open platform, with API-based architecture and plug-in infrastructure to make it customisable and flexible, particularly for cooperation with fintechs and other third-party providers.
Customers can view, sort and organise the information that George provides them about their spending, savings, investments and payment transfers.
But the ability to personalise extends beyond look and feel: George lets its users choose from a broad range of plug-ins. These include a seven-year account archive, a Remember2Pay function for upcoming bills, and “Watchdogs” that alert users when events that they have specified take place.
Some plug-ins are free, others are offered for purchase on a stand-alone basis or as part of monthly subscription packages. The marketplace model is proving attractive, with customers already activating 210,000 plug-ins as they customise the platform to their specific needs.
Peter Bosek, chief retail officer, Erste Group, says: "We’re convinced the future of banking will be built around platforms - and PSD2 will accelerate this. Since the very beginning, we’ve approached George with an open innovation mindset that allows us to form new partnerships with third parties and add value to our customers.
"So the current ‘platformification’ trend is totally playing to our strengths: our ambition is to build the iTunes store of European finance."
With nearly 1.5 million users in Austria and 300,000 in the Czech Republic, George is now being made available to Erste customers in Slovakia, with the bank's four other remaining markets - Romania, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia - set to follow by the end of the year.
"Our vision for George was clear from the very beginning: we didn’t want to create yet another internet banking, we didn’t want to simply retrofit old systems. George is an entirely new way of banking, one reimagined for our digital age. We built it as a platform from the ground-up and co-designed it with our customers - and this is what makes George a game-changer that millions of people want to use," says Bosek.