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Bank services Act. 22 Aug 2017

Digital Bank Latam: innovation for better banking for all

BBVA Compass, an industry pioneer in mobile banking

During the second version of Digital Bank, entrepreneurs from several Latin American countries presented technological solutions for effective operation and communication of banks with their internal and external customers. These are some projects and the winner.

What looks like a word game will in a very few years become a reality: the internet of things. This term is already common currency among the creators of technology solutions, and refers to the digital interconnection of everyday objects to the Internet. This is the reason that quite apart from the smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices that are currently all the rage, the trend in connectivity will spread to many other objects, including household appliances and other objects for personal use. The banking sector must waste no time in exploiting this new reality in order to gain knowledge of their customers and ensure they remain constantly connected with them in keeping with modern times.

The second edition of Digital Bank Latam<span lang="EN-US" style="font-family:Arial; saw the presentation of 22 ideas for digital platforms and applications that were created by up-and-coming innovators looking to give an effective response to some of the needs that are continually emerging in banking processes.

Some of them place emphasis on streamlining various online processes by means of secure applications. Something that coul not previously have been envisaged by any manager: the possibility of conducting all the procedures to enable customers to access a loan without their physical presence or the presence of the bank employee is now a reality that is within reach of the financial institutions present at the encounter.

Other participants focused on technological security like biometrics, touch and voice for user validation and as a means of preventing identity theft. Still others had a social component, with applications conceived to access customers with disabilities, a niche that is commonly overlooked by banks.Other themes included the different strategies for gathering information through people's social networks in order to offer them information and proposals that most closely match the personal interests of each individual by detecting the type of subject and interests they share over the Internet.

In addition, some of the candidates offered tools for use with thebanks' internal public, pointing out that the hackers that come in search of valuable information often do not tend come from outside the company but from within. There were also mechanisms for building loyalty and the feeling of belonging to an organization, making use of collaborators who supply access to their contacts on the social networks, thus giving companies first-hand access to the information of people whom they would not otherwise be able to contact in the same way and with as many specific traits as by using this method.

Effective software was also proposed to regulate teleworking –one of the trends in this new day and age– by means of programs that give specific statistics on the use of time, processes and the results of collaborators' projects. Applications for personal finances that generate alerts so users know in real time what their financial movements are generating. The entrepreneurs also presented solutions for electronic payments, hiring, user filters, enhacement of experiences inside and out of branch offices, and the streamlining of processes, to name just a few.

Payphone, the winning app

After these 22 presentations, a specialized jury made up of experts from several banks –including BBVA– deliberated and chose the Payphoneapplication as the best idea. This was one of the simplest presentations and applications in the whole event, and involves online payment from a cell-phone device, effective in the areas of security, HR, user functionality and at no cost to the users themselves or to the banks.

This proposal as developed in Ecuador and promoted by Microsoft. Thanks to this award from Digital Bank they will receive financial support of $2,500, in addition to advice and strategic connections with leaders in innovation, development, research and markets to enable them to make effective use of their winning application in the market.

Digital Bank is becoming the showcase for the Latin American financial innovation ecosystem in which it is possible to propose, innovate, reinforce and establish networks and above all, to recognize the potential of the integration of both fields to serve the market in general: The innovators in technology solutions and the banking sector. It thus serves as a starting point for the consolidation of the inter-institutional relations that reinforce the Latin American innovation ecosystem.