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 in revenue growth and future services that will help make the difficult easier.
World Finance: Javier, obviously 10 years is an incredible milestone; What are some of the most important innovations you brought to market during this time?
Javier Gonzalez: He is; well, looking back on that period, I think the real, real innovation of EVO Banco itself was to create that culture of innovation. You must have innovation as a pillar, to permeate the whole organization. Because it is not a question of having only an innovation department in isolation.
And we did a lot of things. We pioneered the use of the cloud in banking, which was unthinkable in 2014. We have created an amazing application with SLN UX. We collaborate with very well-known fintechs, and with Google, with Microsoft, with Amazon, in very interesting innovation projects.
But if I had to mention just one project, I would probably highlight our virtual assistant. Today, our customers can do all their banking simply by speaking, naturally, like a human, but 24/7.
So I think this is a clear example of how to put innovation and artificial intelligence to work for our customers; it’s good.
World Finance: You have seen double-digit growth in the number of clients since 2020, surpassing 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 a product or two; I think it’s a compendium, the 360° package that we deliver to our customers.
You know, we have this big difference between traditional banks, which offer traditional products: loans, mortgages; and we also have these new banks or fintechs, and they are doing very good things in very specialized features.
Our position has always been to have the best of both worlds.
I think we are a neobank in the sense that we can do specialized and cool features; but also we want to be there throughout the life cycle of our customers. So we have to offer all kinds of products. This is essential for our customers to see us as their primary bank.
Another critical factor, I think, is quality. The digital customer is very demanding. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing well for a long time, if at some point you fail, they can abandon you in no time. We therefore put a lot of effort into better quality services, to meet the quality that our customers are looking for.
World Finance: Now, growing your base so quickly has come at the expense of profitability; what is the strategy for converting this customer growth into revenue growth?
Javier Gonzalez: Well, we don’t grow as we grow; indeed, we don’t invest a lot of money in advertising campaigns or anything like that. Because we are not funded by venture capital, so we have to be careful where we put every euro. We can’t create products or try to grow without a clear plan to have a short or medium term return.
The key to monetization is customer engagement. So if we’re able to demonstrate to our client that we’re going to be there throughout their lifecycle, having better services with better quality, then monetization, or revenue growth, is going to happen naturally. .
World Finance: Pedro, the key to this monetization will be to understand your customers very well; how to offer personalized services in an intelligent way?
Pedro Tome: Well, customization is one of the keys to the future. At EVO Banco, we are always attentive to the concerns of our customers. Depending on their needs, we have developed different applications, products and services that can be useful for customers’ lives, this is important here.
These applications are based, for example, to better organize their finances, or to promote the security of their transactions. Even a tool to make comparisons with others, in order to better manage your money. So the idea here is to make the difficult easy.
At EVO Banco, we work to create a bank per person, not a bank for all. Which covers all the needs of each customer, where and when they need it.
World Finance: And for the next 10 years? How will EVO Banco continue to innovate?
Pedro Tome: Well, 10 years is a long time. Of course, we will continue to push and lead the voice banking line for the future. We really believe in it.
As Javier said, we are creating a culture of innovation at EVO Banco and we are defining different lines of innovation. Three of them are: personalization, user experience and security. Thus, different products and services will be presented in the coming years in this direction.
An example of this, close to release, might be mortgage timing. This is a customer service that can track demand throughout their mortgage, in real time. The idea is to reduce customer frustration, and make this complex product easier.
And for the distant future, I can tell you that we are exploring different emerging technologies to apply 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 very much.
Javier Gonzalez: Thanks a lot.
Pedro Tome: Thanks.