At the Qorus Reinvention Awards – MEA (2023), Attijariwafa bank received the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) gold award for Fintech Catalyst. The ecosystem provides fintechs in Morocco and elsewhere in Africa with business and technical support, as well as funding and networking opportunities. To date, 24 projects have demonstrated proof of concept, and seven have advanced to become commercial solutions. Elise Broumm, head of the Smart-Up & Ideation division at Attijariwafa bank, tells us more about the project and this award, and shares her vision with us.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your role in this winning project?
I’m Elise Broumm, I have more than 15 years’ experience in consulting, mainly as a strategy and organizational consultant, and as the head of an incubator.
Since 2018, I’m the head of the Smart-Up & Ideation division at Attijiariwafa bank. As such, I monitor technological developments to anticipate changes in the banking industry by conducting benchmarks to keep up with disruptive technologies, gain expertise or to validate strategic orientations. My team aims to accelerate the Group’s integration in emergent ecosystems by capitalizing on the collaboration with startups and fintechs to reinforce the national and African innovation ecosystem, and by multiplying open innovation mechanisms within the ecosystem.
With the Fintech Catalyst program, we aim to accelerate the emergence and implementation of transformation projects by matching business needs with expert startups to increase our execution capacity and reduce the time to market. As head of the Smart-Up & Ideation division, my role in the Fintech Catalyst program is to lead the scouting of innovative projects within the group to share with our partner, the CEED Incubator, which will look for startups within our ecosystem that can best answer our business units’ needs. After the startup/business need match is made, I supervise the co-creation of POCs by our collaborators and the selected startup/fintech. If all goes well, I will supervise the negotiations and finalization of the purchase order and the implementation of fast-track processes to industrialize solutions.
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What made you most proud of this project? What was your greatest achievement in making it happen?
What makes me most proud of this project is the significant impact it has on multiple fronts. I take pride in discovering hidden gems, identifying, and supporting promising startups with innovative ideas and providing them with the necessary resources, mentorship and guidance to help them grow and succeed in their endeavors. It allows us to contribute to the growth and enrichment of our regional startup ecosystem. We were able to create a platform where startups can thrive by connecting them with potential clients and partners, enabling them to explore new business opportunities and scale their operations. I am also proud to witness the transformation of ideas into projects at record speed. Seeing ideas swiftly transform into tangible projects at an unprecedented pace is a remarkable accomplishment. Facilitating the co-construction of tailor-made solutions by bringing startups and our collaborators together has resulted in exceptional efficiency and productivity gains. By doing so, we can also introduce collaborators to new ways of working which fosters a culture of innovation within our Group.
Which technologies and innovations do you expect to impact the banking and insurance industry powerfully in the next five years?
In the next five years, the banking and insurance industry will see significant changes driven by key trends. Generative AI will introduce more creativity and customization to product offerings and AI-powered customer interaction with chatbots and voice assistants will provide quicker and personalized responses. Also, customer-centric approaches will focus on improved customer experiences through digital interfaces and streamlined services. AI will also play a crucial role in risk assessment, fraud detection and regulatory compliance. Furthermore, datafication will enable more tailored products and services through the collection and analysis of customer data.
These innovations collectively signify a future where the banking and insurance industry is marked by heightened automation, improved security and unparalleled personalization. They will empower customers and drive operational efficiency while reducing the risk of fraud, making these sectors more resilient and competitive in the coming years.
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Some banks tend to take big techs as their model and main competitors. What is your vision? And how do you see the future of banks?
The banking industry is undergoing a profound shift. Banks are moving beyond traditional roles and transforming into tech-savvy entities, recognizing the need to provide seamless digital experiences. Customers now expect convenient, personalized and quick interactions. To stay competitive, banks are rapidly adopting technologies like AI, blockchain and robust cybersecurity to enhance services such as risk assessment and fraud prevention. They are also venturing into partnerships with fintech and big tech companies, resulting in a hybrid financial landscape. Open banking and APIs are facilitating data sharing and the creation of interconnected financial ecosystems. In this evolving landscape, adaptability and innovation are key to success, as banks embrace technology and redefine their role as tech companies in the digital era.
What would you say to companies that might consider entering the 2024 Banking Innovation Awards?
For companies contemplating entry into the 2024 Banking Innovation Awards, it's worth noting that participation offers a remarkable opportunity to exhibit your accomplishments, gain industry-wide recognition, and benchmark your innovations against the best in the field, thereby providing a valuable reference point for your organization's progress. Furthermore, engaging in these awards can lead to interesting encounters and networking opportunities, allowing you to connect with like-minded professionals, industry experts and potential partners, fostering collaborations that can contribute to the advancement of your innovative initiatives. Lastly, participation provides a platform for sharing your experiences, insights and best practices, not only enhancing your company's reputation but also contributing to the collective knowledge and growth of the banking and insurance sector.
What does this award mean to you and your innovation team?
This award is of immense significance to our Smart-Up & Ideation team and me. It signifies not only international recognition of the exceptional work put into our program but also the validation of our unwavering commitment to developing the fintech ecosystem and supporting startups. Moreover, it reinforces our strategic choice to collaborate with startups to accelerate our group's digital transformation. This award is a testament to our team's dedication and innovative thinking, and it serves as a powerful source of motivation, inspiring our members to continue pushing the boundaries of fintech innovation and to set new industry standards in the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of finance.
Qorus members can access a complete feature including a detailed presentation of all the winners here