Is the path to banking success eating each other’s lunch, or bringing a sharing platter to the party?

Together with Euromoney, Banking Circle hosted a webinar to debate the challenges of the emerging post-COVID world, and how financial services providers can work together for the best results, rather than competing – stealing each other’s lunch. Featuring a group of experts from incumbent and challenger banks, the live debate was hosted by author, advisor and commentator on digital financial services, David Birch.


  • Søren Mogensen, Chief Growth Officer, Banking Circle
  • Tony McLaughlin, Managing Director, Transaction Banking, Citi
  • Ģirts Bērziņš, Head of Digital Innovation and Strategy, Digital Banking, Swedbank
  • Juan Jimenez Zaballos, Head of Financial Industry Transformation, Santander Digital
  • Sibylle Strack, CEO, Kontist
  • Valentina Kristensen, Director for Growth & Communications, OakNorth

As well as discussing life after COVID-19, the panel also debated the changing shape of the banking landscape where traditional banks, FinTechs and TechFins must decide whether to compete or collaborate.

If you missed the webinar, you can watch on demand here.

Overall, participants agreed that the future is in collaboration rather than competition. As OakNorth’s Kristensen put it: “Historically, the relationship has been pictured as challengers coming in to eat the incumbents’ lunch, with this idea of competition. But I think we can all agree that if you’ve been around 200 years or more you’re not going down without a fight, and so we have seen much more focus on collaboration. The FinTechs that enable the incumbents and help them to service their customers more effectively will do better than those trying to challenge the big banks.”

SwedBank’s Bērziņš agreed, identifying that the current global crisis has brought about a ‘human revolution’ regarding how we act towards each other, and growing consumerism. “Those who focus on how to steal each other’s lunch will lose, and those who ask what value they can bring to the ecosystem and how symbiotic they can be, will be the winners. It will not be one single winner; it will be a winning mentality.”

Strack, of banking services provider, Kontist, reiterated the importance of the human aspect: “Who comes out of this crisis stronger is the service provider, incumbent or the challenger who is helping the customer during the crisis. Any player could be doing this well. We should not underestimate the human aspect; it is about who you trust, that is the person or company you will do business with.”

Banking Circle’s Mogensen suggested the industry takes inspiration from how the crisis has affected consumers: “We must all take a step back, re-focus on the people we do this for, turn the conversation back to customers. I’m intrigued by how things are changing… during lockdown we have seen baking, DIY and sewing is on the up; bread machine sales are more than six times what they were last year, whereas camera sales are going down, for example.

“Also, we see more people are buying online, and when you do that while having children in the background and you’re doing home schooling, there is a shift – more demand for seamlessness, a cry for efficiency. The financial sector hasn’t changed direction, but the evolution has been accelerated by a stronger shift to online. Whether it is a platform solution or challenger, the operator able to adapt to these changing situations will be the winner – not the strongest, not the fastest but the one that can adapt.”

A fully licensed bank, Banking Circle is a next-generation provider of mission-critical financial services infrastructure. Through Banking Circle, Banks and Payments businesses can access a range of banking services – multi-currency bank accounts, local clearing, cross border payments and flexible business lending – compliantly and securely, without the need to build their own infrastructure and correspondent banking partner network.

Bespoke, flexible, scalable and future-proofed solutions enable financial services businesses to do what they’re really good at – serving the end client successfully and efficiently – as part of the financial ecosystem.

If you missed the webinar, you can watch on demand here.

Want to learn more?
Talk to us today

A member of our team of specialists will be happy to help

Contact us