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Norway is a digital savvy market and has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world (68%).

The digital banking solutions are at the forefront and customer adoption rates are high.

As a result developments and trends seen here may be things that will be launched in other mature markets. 

In this article we give you a rundown of some of the latest developments in the Norwegian market which we hope will be interesting for anyone working with digital banking strategy and developments.

SpareBank 1: more and more customers abandon internet banking 

SpareBank 1 is one of the largest providers of financial products and services to retail customers in the Norwegian market and has just recently launched some interesting statistics

  • Mobile and tablet now represents 60% of all digital login traffic.
  • 43% of all digital customers use mobile and or tablet banking.
  • Split across devices:
    • 50% iPhone users.
    • 42% Android users 
    • 1,2% Windows 
    • 7,8% iPad users  
  • 14% use mobile or tablet banking only.
  • 10-29 year olds represents more than 40% of the mobile and tablet users.

SpareBank1 Mobile and tablet banking platforms

During the last 12 months the bank has seen an explosion in mobile and tablet banking traffic; at the same time internet banking traffic is decreasing.

What we think stands out is the fact 14% have abandoned the desktop channel for banking altogether.

We believe a substantial part of the mobile and tablet only users come from the younger segment, 10-29 year olds, often referred to as the Millenials. Our argument is further reinforced by a recent Com Score study saying that Millenials are more inclined to engage on mobile than other segments.

Do note that kids from the age of 10 can start using mobile banking with SpareBank 1!     

DNB: Sales focused and moving from app to browser based mobile banking

DNB is Norway’s largest bank with 2.1m personal banking customers. Similar to SpareBank 1 DNB’s mobile banking services showed tremendous growth last year as usage more than tripled.

As a reflection of where things are heading, DNB also closed down or merged 32 branches during 2013.  

As mobile banking becomes more and more central to digital propositions it was very interesting to see DNB recently move from app to browser based mobile banking. T

he app is now primarily used for viewing your balance (see below) and the latest transactions before login as well as add-on features such as ATM/branch locator, contact details and roadside assistance.

When tapping login users are directed to the browser based version. The introduction of the browser based approach came shortly after having introduced a new mobile site.

This new mobile site is very sales focused with product information and selected applications including loans available. DNB has highlighted 2013 as a breakthrough year for the smartphones as a sales channel with more than 4,000 loan applications being submitted. 

DNB mobile banking app vs browser-based mobile banking

Added to this the bank introduced an iPad app earlier this year. The app contains the same features as available within internet banking delivered through a tailored experience.

A point to make is that the regular public site brochureware pages have been built into the app and made responsive. Customers can apply for the same products and services as within internet banking.

With this approach it is clear that DNB is taking steps towards more of a browser based experience and as a result less app dependence. Worth pointing out is also the fact that the desktop site has been optimised for touch users both before and after login.    

Comparison of DNB digital channel websites

Nordea: Finding new ways in meeting clients as well as finding new ones

An apparent theme across the 2013 annual reports from leading Nordic retail banks is the growing need amongst customers for getting advice and guidance, and in their terms, from the bank.

Building from that, Nordic high-street player Nordea has just recently introduced a web meeting facility in Norway.

This new option is promoted to customers on the public site as a convenient way to if you want advice tied to:

  • Mortgages
  • Savings and investments 
  • Insurance

As part of initiating the meeting, customers login to a secure ‘My documents’ area on the desktop site and then the advisor calls the customer.

If relevant after the meeting the advisor may upload digital documents to the ‘My documents’ space for the customer to sign digitally, hence there is no need for visiting a branch or to fill out any paper work - simple and convenient.  

One of Nordea’s key competitors, Danske Bank, introduced a similar facility back in 2013 and it has proven very popular with customers.

More than 13% of all meetings in Denmark and Finland are now carried out online, resulting in added convenience for the customer and more efficient processes both before and after the session, a win-win basically! 

Nordea Nettmote process

Reaching out to new customers as well as extending the relationship with current ones is an ongoing challenge for banks.

The above is one example of how to make the bank fit better into the everyday life of consumers. Another new and innovative initiative introduced by Nordea is the Face2Face app. The app is promoted on ‘Premium’ current account brochureware pages.

Upon download users can view videos presenting the features and benefits of the program, book a meeting with an advisor.

What stands out in particular is the ability to initiate a video chat with an advisor that can work to build credibility and put next steps in to plan for getting the customer onboard.

As part of launching this app Q4 2013 Nordea pinpointed that they as a bank must be available everywhere. Considering smartphone users on average check their device 150 times per day, Nordea wanted to grasp the opportunity and be available not just within self-servicing features, but also to attract new business.  

Key takeaways

What role will internet banking play in the future? 

As more and more features move into to mobile banking customers wanting to manage their finances via mobile and tablet now have fewer reasons to login to internet banking.

The younger customer segments are likely to contain the largest proportion of mobile banking only users.

It is indeed important to have an ongoing dialogue with this segment in order to keep up to date with their everyday challenges and needs as a way to making sure develop to develop customer proofed offerings. 

Apps have distinct advantages in providing a quick access point to your banking facility.

However, with apps banks are also dependent on external distributors such as Google Play and App Store.

We see new devices coming to market meaning yet more formats to take into consideration. Finally, consumers of today have several connected devices used at different times and for different purposes.

It is not an easy task to cater for everything and as a result browser-based or responsive solutions in particular looks like an appealing case. We eagerly follow new banking developments within this space which might be the future approach to digital banking providing a device agnostic experience.  

2014 is predicted to be the year mobile and tablet browsing will overtake desktop

Added to this is the fact that mobile and tablet devices are increasingly popular devices not just for browsing, but also purchasing products.

Catering for these devices are essential and providing product content and applications are clear opportunities to banks.  

Banks need to provide utility 

Being able to provide advice and guidance to customers at their convenience is likely to be an important piece of the puzzle building strong and loyal relationships going forward.

Digital meeting facilities such as the Nordea one is starting to come to market and provides as a win-win for both parties.    

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Published 27 May, 2014 by Niklas Olsson

Niklas Olsson is Senior consultant at Mapa Research and a contributor to Econsultancy.

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