The rise of challenger banks has caused quite a stir in recent years, especially during the global pandemic. JEME Bocconi has had the honor of interviewing Andrea Isola, General Manager Italy and southeast Europe of N26, who gave insights into future fintech trends and advice for students passionate about the sector.
Andrea Isola previously worked in the strategic consulting sector and specifically in digital transformation processes for financial services for Bain & Company. The pace of work found in the two work experiences is very similar, being both focused on innovation. Andrea managed to combine the short-term initiatives typical of the startup environment with the strategic vision he acquired during his past working experience.

Following his brief presentation, Andrea focused on some questions on N26. There are three factors around which the success of N26 revolves. The user experience, as helping N26 customers to have a simple, effective and intuitive banking experience, through the creation of products and services that revolve around the consumer. Innovation, as the ability to radically renew a traditional sector such banking, proposing new solutions in response to user needs. Last but not least, transparency, intended as the elimination of all forms of distrust towards the product obtained by improving the banking experience of the customers who approach a new, simpler, clearer and more immediate way of using financial services.

The target customers of N26 are all those people interested in becoming part of a broad digitization process that in this post-COVID era unites several generations, from the youngest to the oldest.

During the interview, opinions regarding the future of the sector were also expressed. Fintech is an innovative and attractive industry, characterized by the introduction of new regulations capable of further pushing the growth of the sector and by the entry into the field of new players, such as traditional banks that are starting to digitize their businesses to maintain a prominent role in the financial landscape.

It is a very competitive market where the challenger banks continually try to reinvent themselves, offering increasingly complete services, as in the case of N26. Some traditional banks will continue their digitization process, others will choose to become infrastructure banks or will be acquired. Challenger banks have many possibilities to specialize in different niches: they can focus on savings products, wealth management, insurance, or focus on sectors such as machine learning or advanced analytics. The partnerships between banks and other industries will be essential in order to ensure the success of the entire industry because they will allow them to take advantage of expertise on certain products, creating a knowledge-sharing ecosystem that is beneficial for both parties involved.

N26 wants to accompany the customer in digitization, and vice versa the customer will accompany N26 in its transformation.

To conclude, Andrea is strongly convinced that curiosity is the driving force for understanding and approaching the new realities of a constantly changing world. We live in a dynamic era in which it is crucial to grasp the innovations that surround us, understand how to apply them to your sector and transform them into a reality within everyone’s reach.

JEME Bocconi takes the opportunity to thank Andrea Isola’s availability once more and for the precious words dedicated to the students.

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