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25 March 2013

Reinventing Financial Services

Estimated reading time Time 2 to read

If there is an issue that transcends media headlines and conversations these days, it is the need to review the financial sector’s business model: Between the “bad bank” to take away the bricks from balance sheets, preferred securities traded in a very unclear way, bailout plans for unviable entities, among other issues; few sectors are challenged as much at this time.

It is clear that we need a change. Change…like reinventing? A change that is being increasingly demanded from more angles, from consumers to regulators.

A cry for more transparency, better communication with customer needs, more education, more sustainability in business and responsibility in investments, more real economy and less speculation and “creativity”.

For this reason, I reread the book “Reinventing Financial Services, the English version of which was published in 2010, and then in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, German, Dutch, and French, among other languages (it seems the interest transcends borders), that provides an analysis in which the authors, Roger Peverelli and Reggy de Feniks, address the challenges facing the financial system (and its players) to restore customer confidence after economic turmoil that has changed the rules of the game.

Its thesis is articulated through analyzing six macro trends in consumption, which we could summarize in consumer demand for: a more balanced and equitable relationship between the entity and its customers, greater simplicity and transparency; self-management tools, which are compatible with a greater closeness to the real needs of consumers, and a revalued importance of the values (principles) of companies and their social responsibility. Principle, people and Innovation.

Exposure of these trends and their interrelation, as this is not isolated phenomena, combines the theoretical vision of prestigious business school academics and consultants, with over 50 examples of “best practices” of those entities that are leading these changes, which are precisely those that are best managing this transformation and end up strengthened. These are real best practices, which have already been implemented, and not “recipes” that are perhaps conceptually advanced but with a utopian or implausible implementation.

Some examples of BBVA are included among those cited in its pages, from the new self-service terminal, ABIL, the new customer centric website, which puts customer needs at the forefront, with tools to customize each user’s experience and innovative and advanced practices in the knowledge of the on-line consumer through netnography. Projects that coexist with others at the forefront of the industry of those entities aspiring to emerge strengthened from this economic turmoil.

The physical book is available as well as in e-book format, and regardless of the nature of the contents, it is an educational and even entertaining read.


Nacho Villoch

Events and Activities Manager, BBVA Innovation Center, Madrid (Spain)


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