What U.S. Bankers Can Learn from Overseas Innovators

When it comes to adopting new technology and ideas, U.S. bankers have a lot to learn from their peers in other countries. The reasons often have to do with culture and regulation. Here are a few examples of foreign banks that are ahead of the pack.

(Image: ThinkStock)

Smart TV Play at BBVA Smart TV Play at BBVA

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria recently announced an application for Samsung's Smart TV. The Spanish banking company said users will be able to call up account information directly from their television screens.

Public Cloud at BBVA Public Cloud at BBVA

BBVA began a global rollout of Google Apps in March to all 110,000 its employees. "Since our announcement, I have had many, many, many conversations with other CIOs all over the world thinking about doing something similar," said Jose Olalla, the bank's Chief Information Officer, in May.

Robots at Banco Santander Robots at Banco Santander

Small robots guide visitors to their destinations at Santander Group's headquarters on the outskirts of Madrid. A large-scale model of the financial campus uses augmented reality and advanced graphics to explore points of interest, and a 12-meter tactile, interactive wall senses when people approach, triggers graphics and lets visitors explore multimedia content.

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Innovation Contests at South Africa's First National Bank Innovation Contests at South Africa's First National Bank

First National Bank in Johannesburg runs innovation programs to nurture ideas from its staff. The latest contest produced an idea for a highly successful fuel rewards card. The bank says that to date it's implemented 5,585 new ideas. "Innovations are quite a magical process," says Paul Steenkamp, head of employment branding and FNB Innovators. They're elusive … They have a life of their own."

Videoconferencing at Bank of New Zealand Videoconferencing at Bank of New Zealand

Bank of New Zealand, based in Auckland, has moved all of its small business bankers to a centralized hub from which they communicate with customers via branch videoconference sites. Next year it will offer video banking online and on tablets. "The big issue with American banks is an unwillingness to move," says Harry Ferreira, head of small business banking at BNZ. "People get stuck in a big-bank mentality. But big banks can do this."

High-Tech Cards at Standard Chartered High-Tech Cards at Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore recently launched a new set of credit and debit cards with embedded tokens that display a six-digit code in the upper-right corner and feature a 12-digit keypad. The cards are aimed at improving the security of online and mobile transactions.

When it comes to adopting new technology and ideas, U.S. bankers have a lot to learn from their peers in other countries. The reasons often have to do with culture and regulation. Here are a few examples of foreign banks that are ahead of the pack.

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