Mind the Tech London 2022
“We don’t think of fintech as competition, we want to work together,” says Bank Leumi CEO
Hanan Friedman also told Calcalist's Sophie Shulman: "Recently, we established a new tech venture - “The Garage” - with military tech experts, and it’s going to change the market. It’s a combination of local entrepreneurial ability and Leumi’s power and capabilities"
Hanan Friedman, CEO and President of Bank Leumi, believes that fintech and banks need to work together, and can be worthy partners. In a discussion with Calcalist’s Sophie Shulman during the Mind the Tech London 2022 conference on Wednesday, he said: “Five years ago, we realized that banking in Israel and around the world is going to change, and banks will become tech companies that provide financial services. As part of our effort to provide our customers with necessary services and remain competitive in this new digital market, we began our journey by launching our mobile banking app Pepper, which provides complete end-to-end services. In the future, Pepper could serve most of our customers, and has a large customer growth rate. I can no longer separate between the number of customers we have or the app’s profitability, mainly because the name of the game is to grow our customer base as much as possible. We still have yet to reach that number that will allow me to disclose figures.”
In regard to the new digital bank that will begin to operate in Israel, Friedman said: “We have implemented infrastructures and technologies that will allow us to compete with new players. Our customers have faith in us, and know they can retrieve their funds at any time. We possess liquidity and confidence, and offer it to our customers. We have many initiatives in the works. We don’t think of fintech companies as competition. One of the best examples is (Israeli fintech startup) Sharegain. We work together with fintech startups and love to include them in our financial systems.”
Friedman believes that being innovative is the answer. “We’re developing technologies for people’s everyday financial needs. However, we want to embrace other groundbreaking technologies too, so we must incorporate technology from other groups, and fintech companies see us as partners. We are competing over the talent in the market. We’ve recruited talent from former Israeli military technological units, and they bring along their own people. As a leading bank in Israel, we offer new hires something different: the ability to affect people’s life in real-time in Israel. That’s something you won’t get working in fintech.”
“We also started to work with ultra-Orthodox women who do wonderful work, and have integrated nicely into our company. Recently, we established a new tech venture - “The Garage” - with military tech experts, and it’s going to change the market. It’s a combination of local entrepreneurial ability and Leumi’s power and capabilities. They’re looking for ideas, and we are helping them build companies in a short amount of time. The venture exposes people who work at our bank to new types of operations. In order to be a main player in the fintech industry, you don’t need to just invest but also must understand regulation and financial needs around the world.”