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At Alpian, knowing that the latest technology frameworks are at the core of neo-banking is excellent.
It’s just not enough.

Banking has come a long way in a short time. Today, customers are tech-savvy and demand fast, smooth banking beyond their balance statements and account summaries. But, traditional players have been evolving slowly, leaving a gap in the financial services industry. One that new players like Alpian are trying to fill.

Neo-banks are born-digital financial service providers. That means they exist online and have no physical branches. For customers, that means that all their core banking needs are doable from their smartphones. Starting a bank account at a neo-bank takes about the same time as setting up a social media account. They offer advantages like easy international payments; they are powered by cutting-edge technology that facilitates all tasks.

Undeniably, technology forms a pillar of any new player in banking. But in 2020, that’s not enough. Today, customers don’t desire these features. They expect them.

The reason that being technology-driven is not enough is that banking – and almost any human-centric service for that matter – has never been solely about the tech.

Technology isn’t magic.

Forbes once called General Magic, a mid-90s tech startup from California, “the most important dead company in Silicon Valley.” The company approached innovation purely from a technological standpoint. Touting their own software operating system for hand-held computers and an advanced communications language for computers, they painted a future right out of Star Trek. And huge telecom players lined up to get beamed aboard as partners and investors. But while the technology was futuristic, they forgot to focus on the world around them. What started as the next big thing turned into a cautionary tale about innovating in a vacuum.

So, what’s missing?

The reason that being technology-driven is not enough is that banking – and almost any human-centric service for that matter – has never been solely about the tech.

Of course, technology is essential. Just ask any traditional player. In their eyes, Alpian and other digital-first businesses are in a ‘paradise state’ because they have no legacy systems to worry about. No hard-to-find engineers and IT service providers to manage ancient technologies. It’s why Alpian is building a modular architecture that harnesses the power of modern technology frameworks in a way that allows continuous scalability.

So, yes, technology enables us to deliver great products and services, and when built well, technological solutions have the capacity for perpetual improvement. But, consumers expect the technology, they expect products and services to function at their best. So, what exactly are they looking for? By merely examining technological ventures from other sectors of the economy, we can see four key trends emerge among those ventures that have found success.


“Why do we exist?”

Consumers want to know what higher purpose your brand serves beyond the products or services you deliver. A brand’s vision for the world and its values, through which it sets out to accomplish that vision, genuinely resonate with consumers. While this has always been true, businesses have taken time to articulate these facets of their brand in recent times. When Alpian speaks about demystifying finance by placing our customers’ interests first, it immediately conveys to our future clients that they will be interacting with a brand that’s fair and transparent. They may not respond to the complicated financial jargon of what we will be doing, but we believe they will instantly understand the vision behind why we do it.

Access to a higher level of services

Customers never stop at good enough. And we don’t either. With the rapid pace of innovation, any new feature or functionality introduced today becomes commonplace in weeks. Alpian intends to provide customers with access to services traditionally reserved for clients of private banks: Investment, Financial Guidance, and a Current Account. As fresh entrants, exceeding the customer’s needs will play a significant role in differentiating us.

User Experience and Customer Engagement

I can’t stress this enough. The interface on a smartphone is, in most cases, the only way a consumer can interact with challenger players. From the consumer’s perspective, that is the only place that we exist. So, their experience must remain smooth. Having a bad experience is one of the main reasons why customers discontinue doing business with brands.

At Alpian, we work towards creating a smooth user experience, and understand that the way brands engage with their customers is vital to their brand experience. Today customers have information from as many sources as there are stars in the sky. By engaging customers in meaningful ways through cohesive communication that solves their problems and answers their questions, we can improve their experience and create a lasting relationship. For us, making content simplifies finance and guides clients towards their wealth and life goals.


In Switzerland, 83% of the affluent Swiss population is looking to invest in impact. That’s no small number. Driving positive change is something people take seriously. It’s why Alpian will include an impact investment offering through their personalized banking offering. Companies that ignore this shift in consumer priorities are effectively missing an opportunity to empower their customers in immensely meaningful ways.

Next, Demystified

So, is the future of neo banking bright? At Alpian, we think so. That’s why we’re planning on utilizing the best technology solutions to build the bank of tomorrow. One that does not lose focus on the vital facets that could create a deeper relationship with our clients and take their experience to a whole new level.



Content of this publication is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About the author

Gianmarco has advised companies, including financial institutions in both banking and insurance, on defining new business models, creating business plans, launching new services while working at Boston Consulting Group. He holds an MBA from IMD and an MSc in International Management from Bocconi University.

Gianmarco is passionate about skiing and cooking.

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