Disruption or just plain common sense? How mBank became Poland’s no.1 mobile banking provider

We often carry around an image in our heads that banking a slow moving, highly conservative, product-focused industry. And there’s nothing wrong with this. After all, who would want to put their hard-earned money with an agile, ground-breaking organization that re-sets the technological rules and is driven by consumer needs?  Well, if you want to know the answer to this question, read on.

Let’s take the example of mBank in Poland. From a standing start, mBank is now the no.1 banking provider in Poland.  How did they do this?

Well, they first looked at best-in-class mobile capabilities and what the tech industry was looking to develop. mBank then explored how this could be applied to banking on a mobile interface , opting for adventurous and forward-thinking design that would appeal to its target audience of early adopters.

In this respect mBank developed its banking offer around the future rather than allow past and current banking back-office practices to hold it back. So the offer was designed around what could be achieved rather than what had been achieved. Blue sky indeed!

A great example of this is their ‘30 second loan’.  Outside of banking, customers click on apps, magic happens, instant gratification occurs and the customer is left with a sense of fulfilment and achievement.  In banking, this isn’t always the case and when trying to squeeze out a loan, this is rarely the case.  The mBank 30 second loan is much more akin to an ‘out-of-banking’ experience. The result has been a loan with one mobile screen and two inputs taking 10 seconds to complete: the first input is for the amount to be borrowed: the second input is for the number of repayment installments.  In other words, mBank has designed a short, smart solution for a very difficult product and this has galvanized the bank into tackling other product lines in mobile sales.

So what are the learnings for us:

  • Define the goal and then work out the road map to reach the goal – you don’t always need the road map to guide the goal.
  • Out of sector inspiration can be liberating rather than limiting both for the business and the customer.
  • It seems to me that effective disruption builds on great common sense to be effective – sometimes ‘simple’ is all you need.