As EVO Banco marks a decade of providing transformative financial services to the Spanish banking market, Javier Gonzalez and Pedro Tomé reflect on its successes, challenges, and future: including its innovative voice banking virtual assistant, the question of how to convert customer growth into income growth, and soon-to-come services that will help make the difficult, easy.
World Finance: Javier, obviously 10 years is an incredible milestone; what are some of the most important innovations you’ve brought to market in that time?
Javier Gonzalez: It is; well, looking back over this period, I think that the real, the actual innovation of EVO Banco was itself to create this innovation culture. You need to have innovation as a pillar, as to permeate to all the organisation. Because it’s not about having just an innovation department in an isolated way.
And we did a lot of things. We were pioneers in using the cloud in banking, something that was unthinkable in 2014. We created an amazing app with SLN UX. We collaborate with very famous fintechs, and with Google, with Microsoft, with Amazon, in very interesting innovation projects.
But if I had to mention one single project, probably I would highlight our virtual assistant. Right now our clients can do all their banking operations just by talking, in a natural way, like with a human but 24/7.
So I think that this is a clear example of how to put innovation and artificial intelligence to the service of our clients; it’s great.
World Finance: You’ve seen tremendous double digit growth in customer numbers since 2020, breaking 900,000 in February last year. What products or services have been most successful in growing your base?
Javier Gonzalez: I wouldn’t say it’s just a matter of one product or two; I think it’s a compendium, the 360° package that we’re delivering to our clients.
You know we have this big difference between the traditional banks, that are offering traditional products: loans, mortgages; and we also have these new banks or fintechs, and they are doing very good stuff in very specialised features.
Our position has always been to have the best of both worlds.
I think that we are a neobank in the sense that we can do specialised and cool features; but also we want to be there in all the lifecycle of our clients. So we need to offer all the kinds of products. This is key for our clients to consider us as their primary bank.
Another critical factor I think is quality. The digital client is highly demanding. No matter if you did well for a long time, if in some moment you fail, they can abandon you in no time. So we are putting a lot of effort into better quality services, to meet the quality that our clients are looking for.
World Finance: Now, growing your base so rapidly has come at the cost of profitability; what’s the strategy for converting that customer growth into income growth?
Javier Gonzalez: Well, we are not growing by growing; indeed, we are not investing a lot of money in ad campaigns or something like that. Because we are not financed by venture capital, so we need to take care about where we put every euro. We cannot build products or try to grow without a clear plan for having a return in the short or mid-term.
They key to monetisation is the client engagement. So if we are able to demonstrate to our client that we are going to be there in all their lifecycle, having better services with better quality, then monetisation, or the income growth, is going to appear in a natural way.
World Finance: Pedro, key to that monetisation is going to be understanding your customers really well; how can you offer personalised services in an intelligent way?
Pedro Tomé: Well, personalisation is one of the keys to the future. At EVO Banco, we always pay attention to our clients’ concerns. Based on their needs, we have developed different applications, products and services that can be useful to the life of the clients – that’s important here.
These applications are based, for example, to organise better their finance, or to encourage the security of their transactions. Even a tool to make comparisons with others, in order to manage better their money. So the idea here is to make the difficult, easy.
At EVO Banco we are working to create a bank per person, not a bank for all. Which covers all the necessity of each customer, wherever and whenever they need.
World Finance: And how about for the next 10 years? How is EVO Banco going to continue to innovate?
Pedro Tomé: Well, 10 years is a lot of time. Of course, we will continue pushing and leading the line of voice banking for the future. We truly believe in that.
As Javier said, we create a culture of innovation at EVO Banco, and we define different lines of innovation. Three of those are: personalisation, user experience, and security. So, different products and services will be presented in the coming years along these lines.
An example of that, close to release, could be the mortgage timeline. This is a service to the clients that they can follow the application throughout their mortgage, in real time. The idea is to reduce the frustration of the client, and make easier this complex product.
And for the far future I can tell you that we are exploring different emerging technologies to be applied to the financial sector that can be useful to the client.
And also who knows: maybe in the future an emerging ecosystem like the metaverse will be something real, and we will be there.
Something I can tell you: you have to keep following us to see what happens in the future.
World Finance: Well we certainly will. Javier, Pedro, thank you so much.
Javier Gonzalez: Thank you so much.
Pedro Tomé: Thank you.