E-invoicing and direct debits stand to be transformed as a result of the P27 initiative, as well as the promotion of healthy competition among banks for new products and services, according to panellists at Finextra's NextGen Banking Nordics annual conference in Stockholm
P27 topped the bill in terms of 2018 developments up for discussion as speakers from top Nordic banks debated how best to survive, compete and serve the customer in today's digital world. “Partnerships is the strategic way forward- going together, rather than going alone,” Patrik Havander, head of strategy and communication, Nordea, told the 300+ banking delegates in the Vintergarden auditorium at the Grand Hotel.
The development of a new multi-currency payment infrastructure across Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway was called out as “the perfect example of collaboration and shared economies”.
Indeed, said Krister Billing, market Infrastructures, SEB, “Collaboration is not a new thing- banks have been co-operating on many things for a long time- Swift, standards…,” however, this bold project is one that will set the region somewhat ahead of its European neighbours, with its cross-border infrastructure driven not by regulation but consumer need, inter-Nordic trade, and a requirement for improved efficiency".
By far the majority of trade between the four countries comes from their fellow Nordic counterparts, panellists from Nordea, SEB, Lansforsakringar, Swedish Bankers' Association and Tieto agreed. If P27 succeeds, then it could lead to further collaboration across the countries for the development of common infrastructure for direct debits and e-invoicing.
The joint new infrastructure (serving 27 million customers) will enable the provision of payments at an "at, or near, zero cost"; banks will then compete around the services and propositions they build on and around this.
As the discussion turned to collaboration with startups, there was talk of creating mutually beneficial partnerships.
"Partnership is two parties working together for mutual benefit ... it’s about trust" – said Trevor Lafleche, director of product management and marketing, enterprise payments solutions, Fiserv, on the opening Partnerships panel.
With investment in fintechs having reached a record $41bn in 2018, there are plenty of fish in the sea from which to find the perfect innovation mate or mates, delegates heard.
Behind strategic and digital transformation is the right organisational culture to drive such progressive change.
Anders Nicander, strategic lead and head of digital wealth, Nordea, said “making culture the top priority will determine who wins and who loses in the area of digital transformation”.
Anna Grandt, head of digital experience, SEB, implored the 300+ banking delegates to “embed an agile development approach throughout their businesses, not just in their IT departments.”
Translating in practical terms how to cultivate a cultural shift within financial organisations, Tabitha Cooper, innovation lead at Nordea stressed the importance of transparency of emotions and awareness.
"Awareness influences choices, which deliver actions, which create results," she articulated.