“Digital is what sets us apart.” – Van Kemenade
29 November 2016
In an interview with online business magazine Insightive, Chief information officer Ron van Kemenade explains that digital is part of ING’s DNA and discusses the security risks associated with rapid digitalisation.
“Digital has been in our DNA for decades. It’s not a hype thing for us. This is what sets us apart from other banks.”
ING has long been known as a banking innovator, introducing direct banking to the Netherlands in the form of Postbank, and to North America, Australia and much of western Europe as ING Direct. CEO Ralph Hamers has referred to ING Direct as arguably “the world’s first fintech.”
In the interview, Van Kemenade reflects on how the branchless model of Postbank required ING to start adopting technology as the main driver of customer contacts back in the mid-1980s. That focused the bank on providing a fully digital customer experience.
“In seven of the thirteen retail markets in which we operate, we are the bank with the highest Net Promoter Score. I think this says a lot about our ability to utilise technology to meet a range of customer needs.”
More digital, more secure?
Van Kemenade’s view is that information security should evolve alongside new digital possibilities.
“IT does not necessarily increase your risk profile, but the maturity of your information security — be that data protection or protection against DDOS — should go hand in hand with your digital capabilities. The more you reach out into an open ecosystem, the more you expose your services to risk.”
He welcomes the trend for regulators to pay increasing attention to data protection, but disagrees that limiting the free flow of data across borders is in the best interests of the customer.
“All regulations should be founded on empowering the customer. ING has a long background of giving the customer as much empowerment as possible to manage the data held by the bank.”
Investing in a digital future
Van Kemenade concludes by stressing how important continued digital investment is – in digital customer channels, in automating service layers, in straight-through processes and in making ING’s infrastructure responsive to real-time requests.
“These are all technologies needed to operate digitally. This includes changes in engineering, to fully agile modes of working and global scale rollouts. These are all challenges. But, fundamentally, these are the priorities that make ING that bank that it is.”