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Fintech scene in Switzerland – Is there a Brand Swiss?

In the 1949 classic movie, The Third Man, the central character famously says, “In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace. And what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” Although the actor Orson Welles was later corrected (cuckoo clocks being created in Germany), the essence was that Switzerland is somewhat… shall we say, dull? Over the years the country, if anything, has capitalized on this, making precision, discretion and security watchwords for ‘Brand Swiss’. So is this image true? The three Swiss-ish Fintechers I meet up with are either atypical, or their very

AR, MR, VR, XR – 4 abbreviations that we must be familiar with in the world of modern UX-UI

AR, MR, VR, XR: these are abbreviations without which the second half of the 2020s cannot be imagined. Today, technological advances add newer and newer abbreviations and technical terms to our languages; in some cases, these are worth learning even for those who do not work in the field of IT. In connection with these ‘four Rs’, the UX-UI profession is particularly affected since its primary aim is to support interaction with objects and software. The ‘R’ stands for Reality, and a shared feature of all of them is that they enrich our usual environment by displaying (visual) information. The

The future of online mortgage application

For many, owning a home would remain a dream forever if mortgages didn’t exist. For millions of people, one of the first steps to home ownership is taking out a mortgage loan – but it’s often a bumpy road to getting there. The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly disrupted the lives of everyone in the world, and the digitisation of services have moved at breakneck speed. Opening an account? Taking out a personal loan? Now it can all be done online and ‘in moments’. Yet, in the case of mortgages, an online calculator is often still the ‘state of the art’,

Assessing the ROI
of UX

‘Wow! Will you take a look at that!’ This is the sort of response that all Designers would like for their labors, and sometimes even get. We usually recognize ‘classic design’ although rarely agree with each other about what this constitutes: The Volkswagen Beetle, Fender guitar, Converse sneakers? – All classic designs, probably. The general public most likely considers ‘design’ to be simply the surface attributes of an object, the ‘skin’ which covers the working parts. It’s nice to have, rather than essential. And yet we are all using designed objects all the time, nowhere more so than in the

Fintech conquers Belgium – switching bank accounts service providers automatically and interoperability – part 2

‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ as the old saying goes, which continues to be valid even in the age of Fintech. ING Belgium is attempting to exploit opportunities for rapid financial growth with the help of its own incubator programme, while BNP Paribas Fortis is playing emphasis on openness. This is how the interoperability of bank accounts, which was unimaginable a decade ago, could become a reality: in today’s Belgium, financial matters related to bank accounts held with multiple banks can be managed in a single application.   ING Belgium The country consisting of Flanders and Wallonia has

The Bulgarian Fintech Scene – Dedication and tough work

For me, one of the joys of interviewing Fintech players around Europe is the random and sometimes fascinating stories which surface. One such story comes to light in talking with Georgi Penev, Director of the Bulgarian Fintech Association since 2020. It’s almost a by-product in our chat about the rapid growth of Fintech in the country, but there’s a logic to it: Georgi tells how between 1979 and the early 1990s, the Pravetz computer factory in Stara Zagora produced computers for Bulgaria, and many of the surrounding Comecon states. In fact the devices were very obvious knock-offs of Apple II

Mobile banking in Austria

In Austria, which considered to be a rather conservative country, it is perhaps not surprising that people still largely prefer cash and traditional banking services to digital solutions. Nevertheless, the digital sector is growing steadily with the emergence of mobile banking and apps. The digital payments currently make up around EUR 10,000 million per year and mobile payments are estimated at around EUR 2,192 million per year. There are two main forms of mobile banking in Austria – stand-alone, independent mobile banks and mobile banking apps from traditional banks. Although in many cases they offer similar products or services, traditional

The Polish Fintech scene – ‘I can actually see it!’

If Piotr Jan Pietrzak ever decides to move on from his work as Director of Product at web browser Opera, I’m pretty sure there’d be a perfect new slot for him: Polish Ambassador, roving the world to sing the praises of his native land. Once upon a time he was champion of Polish electronic music, rockin’ the beats as a DJ. These days it’s something he does only for friends, but Piotr says, “There are so many undervalued Polish artists on the scene who make tremendous music, but they’re not really in the spotlight of the global music scene. The

Financial Scene of Ukraine

What makes Ukraine exceptional among other countries in Europe? There are thousands of reasons for that, among them – a unique financial scene which we are about to uncover together.   Overview of a Ukrainian Fintech ecosystem Let’s face the truth: Fintech advancement’s pace in Ukraine has been quite moderate, which mostly contributes to outdated regulations on the governmental level, lack of capital and investment, slow acceptance of innovation and low personal income among the population. National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) itself among the current problems of the financial sector names: Restrained competition due to a large market share of

The 3 Horizons and the Role of Digitalization in Leadership

Stefan F. Dieffenbacher has an amazing view from his office, high above ‘Germany’s most famous square’. I know this because during our chat he flips his phone camera round and shares a look down to the medieval beauty of Marienplatz (Mary’s Square) in central Munich. Building of the square started in the mid-1100s and it’s described as ‘the heart and soul of Munich.’ I immediately add it to my bucket list. A medieval square seems an interesting location for the Founder and CEO of Digital Leadership, who measures the past in order to extrapolate the future. Or perhaps my idea