Brand Strategy: Mondo

Jason BatesJason Bates, co-founder of Mondo, explains how the banks approach differs to that of a traditional provider. 

“My bank already has an app”. That’s what I hear from people when I tell them that I’ve just spent the last two years building a new digital bank, and they’re right! Their existing bank has an app, a website, a call centre, and more than a few branches – offering what bankers call an ‘omnichannel experience’.

Most traditional bankers think digital banking is great. It lets them sell more traditional commodity financial products like current accounts, credit cards, and loans with targeted digital advertising. It also increases customer satisfaction and decreases the costs of servicing customers dramatically. Win-win.

Customer satisfaction
Most people are also reasonably happy with their bank. They trust their money is safe, and although they may have some gripes about being caught out with unexpected charges, they aren’t running to change banks. The annual switching rates for banks is about 3 per cent, and in a recent CMA survey, 37 per cent of people reported that they had been with their bank for more than 20 years. So how will a new digital bank like Mondo succeed, if the big banks are already there and customers are happy?

Customers do generally think that their banks are OK, but when you ask them about their monthly finances, they give you a shrug, and look slightly sheepish before diving into all kinds of crazy stories of how they manage the monthly glide path between pay-days; deal with recurring annual, quarterly, and monthly bills; send money to friends; save for holidays; open joint accounts with partners; and try to either keep track of things in notebooks and spreadsheets, or more commonly, just hope it all works out and try not to think about it.

The problem is that what we think of as digital banking is actually just digitized banking. Putting a copy of a newspaper onto an iPad is not digital news, selling ‘albums’ on iTunes is not digital music, and getting fast access to taxi numbers is not digital transportation. In the same way, looking at a copy of your paper statement and out-of-date balance on your iPhone isn’t digital banking. Digital is not just a new channel; it can fundamentally change traditional financial products into real-time intelligent contextual services.

Intelligent services
Banks should be less like bad landlords and more like great waiters. So rather than providing cryptic statements and basic transactions, while making profits from customer’s mistakes, digital banks like Mondo pursue a different path. Creating a next-gen digital bank, Mondo will provide intelligent services that make customers lives easier, save them money, and help them feel more in control, while dropping the punitive fees and charges that traditional banks apply.

From letting you know that your electricity bill is 30 per cent higher this quarter than last quarter, or advising you that you are likely to run out of money four days early this month, to smoothing bumpy annual bills, or putting a stop to that habitual balance check on the train, because you know that we’ll let you know if anything unusual happens; there is a whole world of new intelligent services that will provide you with the digital equivalent of a personal banker, giving you the support so that you can get on with your day.

And of course this only becomes more powerful as Mondo works with a growing community of customers to build new relevant services, and partners with an army of other fintech companies to integrate savings, borrowing, investment, and analysis into the banking app through secure digital interfaces (APIs).

So yes I tell them, your bank has an app, but you’ll look back in a few years and realise that it wasn’t digital banking.