Build Prosperous Communities Through Innovations in Financial Services

A recent PwC global report highlights how the rapid acceleration of technological change and the fast growth of financial technology companies provide customers with many choices for their banking and insurance needs. This has a direct impact on how financial services companies engage with their customers.

Role of Trusted Advisor

A friend of mine shared her experience on a recent home purchase: As a first-time buyer, the overall experience was positive. The service providers from the real estate agency, title company, home insurance company, bank mortgage company, and law firm all worked as a team. However, she had to play the lead role in orchestrating the whole process through final settlement.

Stepping back, she realized that the bank had the most complete picture of her household needs, with over a decade of personal financial history. She asked me why her bank had not played a more active role to manage the process. This made me think about the opportunities for a financial services company to act as the trusted advisor to customers over the entire customer life-cycle journey.

Opportunity to Build Prosperous Communities

According to the Global Findex Database published by the World Bank, financial inclusion is on the rise globally. Continuing advances in digital technology are key to the World Bank goal of universal financial access by 2020. Financial services companies have made major strides in delivering services to the underbanked and underinsured. We are seeing major advances in the delivery of cross-border payments. Furthermore, digital payments delivered on mobile devices are helping many countries and their constituents to have first-time access to banking and payment services.

Innovations to Deliver on the Promise

The emergence of financial technology is reshaping consumer expectations. Consumers increasingly expect banks and insurers to offer tailored products and services based on their household needs. In India, for example, mobile wallets are quickly replacing traditional payments such as credit cards, checks, and cash. Cash is stored on an app that is installed on a mobile device. The app is used to make payments both online and offline. Leading providers include Amazon Pay, Google Pay, and PayTM, with millions of consumers using the app.

TransferWise is another provider transforming international payments. Consumers can execute digital payments with TransferWise and bypass banking payments networks. The funds are delivered to the customer’s bank account with complete transparency on costs. This service provides international workers a cheaper route to send money to their families back home.

Banks and insurance companies are embracing these opportunities to expand their services. They often partner with financial technology companies to deliver tailored products and services to their customers.

Leading the Way

At SAP, we are collaborating with leading financial services companies to help them deliver on their customers’ needs.

In South Africa, Discovery has launched a behavioral bank that drives positive behaviors around financial investments. The bank offers dynamic interest rates linking rates directly to customers’ financial behavior. This empowers customers to earn more interest on savings and pay less interest on loans by better managing their financial investments. The Vitality Group, a subsidiary of Discovery, has pioneered the use of financial incentives by adjusting health insurance policy premiums based on customer’s lifestyle choices. The company goal is to encourage customers to embrace healthy lifestyles and lead better lives.

PayPal is delivering on its customers’ rapidly changing demand for digital payments. PayPal Finance helps ensure the finance and regulatory functions can keep up with the pace of innovation and meet customer needs.

I see many opportunities to innovate and build prosperous communities and look forward to hearing about your experiences. To learn more visit, the Banking and Insurance areas of

Rakesh Shetty is vice president of Industries Marketing at SAP.