Centralised, yet local: Raiffeisen's new online service

Read how Netcentric’s creative approach helped Swiss bank Raiffeisen transform its online service infrastructure to create central control and local relevance.

Centralised, yet local

Raiffeisen’s Felix Wenger spoke at this year’s Adobe Summit EMEA about how a creative approach to centralisation actually boosted local relevance for this Swiss household brand.

Felix Wenger, Head of Channel and Distribution at Raiffeisen, was tasked with making the bank more sales-oriented and more digital – centralising and consolidating its banking and engagement services online. In the case of this Swiss cooperative bank, this is a larger undertaking than it may seem.

Why? It’s because Raiffeisen is actually made up of more than 255 independent (and independent minded) cooperative banks, each belonging to its own local customers and each with its own management and market focus. Local relevance is fundamental to the brand. Being local is not only a real, tangible benefit for customers, it’s also a key differentiator for the brand.

So, to put it simply, the online service had to retain this local focus – and, from the outset, this was fully embraced by the Netcentric team who partnered with Raiffeisen on this journey.

So, centralise. It’s the obvious answer, right?

Yes, exactly. That was the answer. A combination of increasing banking regulation and digitization itself both point to this. To this latter point, it simply makes no sense for each of the 255 banks to have its own web platform and content management systems – the duplication of effort is simply too much to contemplate.

But the answer wasn’t centralisation in the blunt form you might expect. Needing a creative solution, Raiffeisen enlisted Netcentric to help them find it.

The answer? A centralised, but local online bank.

The answer: one website, 255 local experiences

On his or her first visit, each customer is asked where they live. For every subsequent visit, however, the journey always starts with the local bank. And this is done in sync across all the 255-plus website and the corresponding apps.

Strong central rules, local implementation

This solution not only ensures continuity for the brand and regulators, but it also allows the local banks’ entrepreneurial flair to shine through. Underpinning it, however, was governance: strong, central rules for asset liability management, credit, price, product, risk and brand. Local flexibility on how it’s marketed.

The regulation side is more straightforward. There are rules and these rules must be adhered to. But when it comes to marketing, Raiffeisen treats its 255 individual banks as internal customers – providing a paid-for service which consists of the web infrastructure itself and centrally produced, customisable marketing materials. It leaves space for the locally produced content – what really makes the online bank feel like a local online bank.

Crucially, this solution also reduces another layer of complexity: Switzerland’s four national languages. As Felix Wenger puts it himself, “With our approach, you always start with your local CEO, your local team, your language, and your local content.”

And the results?

In the past, Raiffeisen’s online world was not part of the real world and had little business impact. Thanks to the simple, yet powerful solution, that’s all changed. And, thanks to stable data strategy that underpins everything, Raiffeisen is able to derive valuable insights which reveal a strong uplift in leads.

What’s more, the project has demonstrated that the sum of sales, IT, marketing and analytics are greater than their individual parts. By breaking down silos the bank can advance its growth strategy, reduce costs and be ready for digital transformation.

Talk about your digital transformation challenges with the Netcentric team today.