Open banking is already a thing in Europe and many fintech companies have jumped on the train already. And while the majority of banks feel reluctant towards opening its databases and embracing the change, Erste Group is enjoying the retail banking revolution.
Open banking is already a thing in Europe and many fintech companies have jumped on the train already. And while the majority of banks feel reluctant towards opening its databases and embracing the change, Erste Group is enjoying the retail banking revolution. Their PSD2-ready digital banking platform, George has 1,5 million users in Austria alone and another 300,000 in the Czech Republic.
But this is not enough for Erste Group, now they are launching their new service in Slovakia as well. Goerge was developed by the Group’s own fintech team. Yes, a fintech team within a bank! But is Goerge, actually? It is an open platform, built over an API architecture but also incorporates a plug-in infrastructure, which makes it customizable. It seems like the whole project has been very well prepared for partnerships with other fintechs or third parties.
George can provide customers with all sorts of information such as savings, spending, transfers, etc. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Users can choose from a variety of plugins. Some of them are free and others are paid but just think of having access to your seven-year account archive, a function that notifies you to pay your bills (Remember2Pay), a “watchdog” that informs you about important events and so many more.
Currently, 210.000 plug-ins have been installed by users from Austria and the Czech Republic, some of the plug-ins come free with a monthly subscription and let clients set the platform according to their needs. The chief retail officer of Erste Group, Peter Bosek, stated that they want to be on the forefront of open banking and Goerge is here to prove their wish.
Besides Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the platform will be available in Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Croatia by the end of 2018. According to Bosek, Erste Group had in mind the fast changing environment of financial services when building their platform. George was developed not to be the ordinary online banking service but was rather co-developed by customers and fintechs. This is why nothing comes close to it in terms of flexibility.