It was one of the most debated topics on the internet after the summer andCompetition and Market Guarantor Authority opened an investigation. It is the case of isybankthe group’s new digital bank Intesa Sanpaolowhich came into the eye of the storm due to the transfer of some customer relationships from the old to the new bank.
The intent is to transfer the predominantly digital userswho according to Intesa Sanpaolo are those who make no or limited use of the branch, are under 65 years old and do not own securities or investment products, in isybank, the new bank created to compete with emerging fintechs, such as Hype, Revolut , N26 and Wise.
It all started with some account holders who didn’t realize the consequences bank communications or they protested the “forced” transfer.
To explain what happened is the CEO of isybank, Antonio Valituttian electronic engineer who recently joined Intesa Sanpaolo, and whose CV includes the launch of Hype, the digital bank 50% owned by Banca Sella and Illimity.
The Antitrust maintains that your communication appeared “ambiguous and disseminated in ways that do not seem consistent with the importance of the issue addressed”.
We have the utmost respect for the AGCM and are available to collaborate in the examination and resolution of the issues raised by the Authority, in the best interests of customers. Furthermore, ours is not a commercial operation, but a transfer of a business branch, regulated by art. 58 of the Consolidated Banking Act. The operation only concerns predominantly digital customers, identified according to objective criteria. We are sorry if anyone has not read or understood our communication and does not recognize themselves in the characteristics of a predominantly digital user that we have outlined; on our part there is the utmost willingness to listen to everyone’s needs and we are already doing so, calling all customers who have already visited Isybank, who, in general, are confirming their satisfaction.
The Antitrust has received more than 2 thousand reports. And he pointed out that you communicated in the summer. Wasn’t another period better?
I reiterate the utmost attention also to the single dissatisfied customer, however we observe that 2,000 reports are less than 0.1% if referring to the 2.4 million customers to whom we communicated the transfer, sending the letters between 28 June and 19 July, giving you over 60 days, until September, to communicate that you do not recognize yourself as predominantly digital. On digital, summer is a favorable period. That’s why we launched isybank on June 15th. Many apps have peaks in usage during the summer months, it is no coincidence that we acquired 50,000 new customers in that period of time. The fact remains that customers who have not yet transferred to isybank will be able to contact us and remain in Intesa Sanpaolo. And others will also be able to choose whether to stay in isybank or open an Intesa Sanpaolo account.
How many customers have you moved to isybank?
On 16 October we transferred around 300 thousand customers, who kept the same cards and pin from the Intesa Sanpaolo app, and we are contacting them individually. Already on the first day 50% of them had logged in to the isybank app, now we are at 90%. The average age is 30 years. Another 2 million customers will be moved in March.
But if someone wants to go back, are they penalized?
No, in fact we give the possibility to open a new account with conditions in line with the previous ones, also offering some free advantages such as the debit card, withdrawals at all banks and bank transfers. But it often happens that when they operate with the new app and know the conditions they decide to stay. Only a few thousand have decided to return to Intesa Sanpaolo.
But there are some limitations for isybank. For example, there are no physical branches.
There are no Isybank branches, but there are Intesa Sanpaolo branches, where Isybank customers can go for services and products not yet offered by Isybank, such as for example a mortgage application or the issuing of a bank draft.
What about those who want assistance from home?
There is the digital branch where over two thousand people work via telephone, chat or messages to help those who need assistance and in the short term, also to carry out transactional operations, moreover with very long opening hours. It is an experience gained during the pandemic, when everything was done via telephone and which we have treasured. We are the only digital bank that has also maintained human contact, through colleagues and not with an external call centre.
Among the complaints that have circulated online, it is said that you can only operate via smartphone, that you cannot have virtual cards, pay pagoPa bills or request mortgages and overdrafts. It’s all true?
We started in June, we are gradually introducing some services. Access will be possible via the Internet, from your home PC, a step that we will anticipate to respond to the requests of our customers, as well as the virtual cards that will be launched at the end of November. We immediately gave the possibility to pay with PagoPa slips, a much appreciated feature. We also have some Intesa Sanpaolo products in our portfolio: for example, if an Isybank customer needs a mortgage, he reports this need using the App and is then contacted by an Intesa Sanpaolo manager for an appointment in the branch.
Don’t have your own products?
Yes, the account and the card for example. Furthermore, we will soon launch a loan called “Spensierata”, with characteristics suitable for our customers and we will also introduce other forms of credit. Compared to other fintechs, belonging to the Intesa Sanpaolo Group allows us to have much more on offer right from the start, and guarantees high standards of reliability, security and capital solidity. Added to this is the distinctiveness of the human touch, which Fintechs on the market do not have, like other solutions of banking origin.
And top up your mobile phone or prepaid card from the ATM?
We also have this planned and what’s more, it will be possible to do it across the entire Mooney network, the former Sisal network made up of betting shops and tobacconists, to which are added restaurants and points of sale, a total of 45,000 points. The network is 50% owned by isybank and the remaining 50% is by Enel X.
What will your next offer be?
In conjunction with Black Friday and in view of Christmas we will offer a particular type of cash back, which awards Amazon vouchers. These are typical fintech initiatives and suitable for a digital audience. This is a promotion that enriches an already very convenient package offer for customers, an offer which in the isyPrime package already has many free services included in the fee such as withdrawals at all ATMs and instant bank transfers.
What customer objectives do you have?
The goal is to have 5 million customers by the end of 2025. We are confident because in the first few weeks we have collected 50 thousand new customer registrations from outside.
And from an economic point of view?
We want to become the largest European digital bank. We have the characteristics to be so, because compared to our competitors we are safe, solid, have a wide range of products, guarantee human contact and have a sustainable business model. Our results are already profitable and sustainable. The bank, unlike many fintechs, does not carry out capital increases. Once fully operational, we will guarantee an additional contribution of approximately 200 million euros to the gross current profit. The ratio between costs and profit (cost/income) is less than 30%.
What type of technology do you use?
We have a new technological infrastructure, based entirely on the cloud and the core banking system, i.e. the skeleton of the bank’s architecture, is provided by Thought Machine, an English company founded by former Google employees and used among others by JP Morgan, very scalable that will allow us to seize all opportunities, including artificial intelligence. Furthermore, we benefit from the investments in technology of the Intesa Sanpaolo group, within the Isytech program.