Banking's best innovators: The race to the top in 2024

Digital Reinvention
03/06/2024 Article
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Boris Plantier


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This season, Infosys Finacle has joined Qorus for the banking innovation awards program. This partnership makes sense since Infosys Finacle has been a partner of Qorus for over a decade for its flagship study, the Innovation in Retail Banking Report, as noted by Sajit Vijayakumar, CEO of Infosys Finacle. 

The submission period has started, and the deadline is set for 21 June, 2024. Several banks have already begun submitting their projects.

Which bank is leading the race?

Which bank will submit the most innovative projects? The bets are on. Last year, the top five were:
1 - Bradesco
2 - CIMB
3 - Santander
4 - UniCredit
5 - Intesa Sanpaolo

It is too soon to know who the top submitters will be this year, but Intesa Sanpaolo is clearly leading the race at the moment. Of course, being the bank that submits the most innovations doesn't necessarily guarantee trophies, but it helps. "I am convinced that it influences the judges," says John Berry, CEO of Qorus. The number of submitted innovations also impacts the Transformative Innovator of the Year (previously called Global Innovator) award, where the number of submissions is used to break ties between banks. "We have already used this criterion to distinguish between winners in the past," confirms John Berry.

Which countries are the most innovative?

As for the countries leading the race, observers are eagerly awaiting the results. For now, Italy is in the lead, which isn't surprising since the country was in second place last year. However, anything is possible, and a surprise isn't out of the question, like Indonesia's remarkable performance last year, making it into the top five where countries like Spain or Poland were more commonly seen. Here is the 2023 ranking:
1 - Brazil
2 - Italy
3 - Turkey
4 - India
5 - Indonesia

We already know the first nominee

Although it is too early to predict all the nominees, Santander in Spain has already secured a nomination by winning the Innovation of the Month for May. Another bank will follow on 6 June, winning the Innovation of the Month for June. The final deadline for remaining nominations is 21 June, with nine nominees across seven different categories to be determined.

Recognizing innovative projects

The awards program prides itself on identifying and rewarding groundbreaking projects. However, not all winning projects need to be disruptive; there is also room for outstanding innovative projects that differentiate from others or have proven their success in the past. "Some banks self-censor by rigorously selecting the projects they submit," regrets John Berry. "While certain concepts may not be novel in themselves, the way they are executed can make them stand out," confirms Vazha Beriashvili from TBC Bank, one of last year's winners.

Why participate?

Rather than explaining it ourselves, we asked some of last year's winners.

• Visibility and credibility 

"Participating in the Banking Innovation Awards is an opportunity that must be seized, for the satisfaction of making one's projects known to the widest audience and for the ambition of receiving significant recognition – we are talking about the Oscars of banking. After the win, we observed positive sentiment on the web, testifying to the prize’s credibility," says Dr. Claudia Vassena, Head of Digital Retail Sales & Marketing at Intesa Sanpaolo. 

This view is shared by Iffat Alrowaithy, Innovation Lead at SAB: "More than just recognition, these awards represent a platform where innovation meets recognition, where visionaries come together to influence the future of banking and insurance industries.”

• Benchmarking

"This award program provides a good benchmark of your efforts against peers and provides an avenue to learn from other leading players," says Kellee Kam Chee Khiong, Group Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Bank Malaysia. 

Veronika Němcová, Product Owner at Česká spořitelna, also sees it as a good way to validate her projects. "It's a great opportunity and a confirmation that the solutions you're working on make sense not just to your clients but are also appreciated by innovation experts," she explains. 

• Sharing and learning

"Sharing your innovation accomplishments with others around the world enables others to learn from your efforts and fuels further innovation in the industry," says Lisa Frazier, Chief Operating Officer at Judo Bank. 

Timo Mende at Raiffeisen Bank International, whose educational Minecraft game My Finance Quests secured an award, adds, “It is a great opportunity to show your innovation and inspire others. Additionally, you also get to see a lot of great innovations from all around the world." 

• Networking

Last but not least, the ceremony and other Qorus events that strongly focus on innovation are excellent places to meet talented, innovative bankers. "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," explains Elise Broumm, Head of the Smart-Up & Ideation division at Attijariwafa Bank.

Ready to submit?

If you're ready to submit or want to know more about the awards, click here.

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