Vault at One King West, Title: Global Digital 2017: Winning the Customer of the Future
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Global Digital 2017 – Winning the Customer of the Future

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I recently attended the Global Digital Conference here in Toronto, the theme being “Winning the Customer of the Future”.

One of the topics discussed was around whether banks as we know it would exist in five years. Which was somewhat of an ironic topic, considering this event took place at the former home of one of Canada’s biggest banks, The Dominion Bank, at One King West (a residency that would last an impressive 126 years).

I entered the building from the concourse level, passing by what was a large bank vault, now converted into a room used for meetings and events. It wasn’t too long ago that I was trying to hunt down my bank’s branch that was open on a Sunday to withdraw cash from my account to pay someone I owed money to.

I think there were only two branches open in Toronto with the closest being 20 km away. These days, I personally avoid going to branches or any retail outlet if I can. The first thing I pick up when I need to pay in a store, pay someone, make a bill payment or deposit a cheque is my mobile.

There was discussion and debate around whether Finanical Services would be disrupted by Fintechs or if FIs are becoming Fintechs: Were Fintechs going to become FIs? Have Banks successfully partnered with Fintechs? Are customers embracing Fintechs? And what are the reasons for how customers embrace Fintechs?

All these discussions hit home for me not only as a consumer, but also as a former banker, and as someone who works at Interac with an objective to deliver great user experiences. The way I access financial services today is very different than how I did 10 years ago.

“Fintech is about solving easy problems. Solving for simple consumer problems have led to very successful Canadian companies. Evident in the success of Canadian fintech companies at Finovate like Sensibil.. There are still many problems that exist today based on user experiences like with buying a house.”

– Adam Nanjee, Senior Vice President, Digital Banking, Zafin

TD shared the view that this market problem is the reason why there will be a need for branches, at least for the next while. Customers require personal service to help navigate thorough more complicated journeys, such as buying a home.

During a panel moderated by Oscar Roque, Andrew Irvine, Head of Business Banking and BMO Partners, Bank of Montreal said: “4-5 years ago… there used to be a view that fintechs would take “big swings” at the financial industry. However this would never happen because you’re talking about people’s money and inherent trust and data and privacy issues that are fundamentally different. It doesn’t mean Fintechs won’t succeed but this isn’t about direct to consumer success. Fintechs are going to thrive and will see more capital go into them because they will see to enterprise clients. It’s not B2C it will be about B2B.”

Here at Interac, we continue to embrace innovation to help bring new solutions to market and help drive better experiences for Canadians. This is one of the reasons we built the Developer Centre — to allow people outside of our company to build those user experiences on top of what we have to offer.

To do this, banks are and will be an essential part of how we move forward. The way we bank may change, like being able to use apps to pay bills or send an invoice, but we’ll still need our banks to facilitate moving money and making complicated journeys easier.

Quick Facts


  • TD – 80% of their transactions are via digital
  • Digital-only Banks receive requests from customers or an in-person visit
  • RFI Consumer View- Trust is the no 1 driver for consumers globally for choosing providers (and this increases with age)
  • 3 of 5 top shakers of Finnovate were Canadian

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