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A European collaboration scheme

A European collaboration scheme

Edward van Dooren

Strategic advisor

19 June 2019

EBAday day 1: A European collaboration scheme


After hearing the appeal for collaboration from multiple market leaders, I joined the rest of yesterday’s sessions with extra curiosity. What should collaborations between banks look like? And what kind of collaboration would really make an impact on the industry?

A European scheme

A collaboration initiative that would make serious impact, has to be at scale. It should involve major parties, preferably cross-border and cross-currency. During the panel session "The road to transformation: traditional and digital coexistence" it was discussed that European banks could offer exactly what clients want, they should focus on redefine and improve services and branching out geographically. According to the panel members, Europe is clearly a battle ground where banks and other disruptors are fighting for custom with countless new payment solutions. They concluded that, if banks were to collaborate and join forces, they would form a powerhouse in Europe that serves customers just as well as any challenger bank and bigtech.

I agree with this take and believe that large banks, perhaps paired with smaller banks, could be the first willing participants to take that leap of faith and start a cross-border, cross-currency and cross-bank European collaboration scheme.

The market is ready

Because I didn’t notice any banks advocating collaborations at their event-stands, I questioned whether the industry would be ready for industry-scale collaborations. That question was answered quickly, during the session on Instant Payments and Open Banking. Michael Steinbach, CEO at equensWorldline, popped up the question on the huge screen above the stage and asked whether the public believes we need a European scheme. Everyone grabbed their smartphones to vote and it showed a large positive, progressive majority of 75 percent.


Take a turn off the highway

As Stéphane Garelli, Founder of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, noted during his morning speech, if we want to achieve great things we should, in his words, "take a turn off the highway". Major brands have gained huge amounts of market share before by doing so; Tesla is now the biggest in batteries, Apple the biggest in watches. Both are now at the top of both their native industry (automotive and telecom) as well as other industries. According to Garelli, anyone understands it’s time for innovation, but it’s those who excel in implementation that stay in the game.

Lucie Haß, Managing Director at Helaba Digital, elaborated on this view with regard to innovation. She noted that change and collaboration start with changing your mindset. She explained from her own experience that implementation of any kind tends to involve multiple phases: willingness to innovate, which is usually largely optimistic and smooth, implementation, which usually tends to be difficult, collaboration, which should overcome the difficulties in implementation and then standardization, which is needed to collaborate.

Collaboration and standardization go hand in hand

Reflecting on Haß’s point of view, we established that the willingness to innovate is there; 75 percent of the professionals present at the session voted for a European scheme. Implementation of this scheme is the next step. I also agree on her statement that collaboration is a huge step within this process, but, I believe standardization is always connected to collaboration and vice versa. Standardization is not a substitute because collaboration failed, instead it aids collaboration, as standards are great means to identify new ways of working that can transcend borders. A successful European scheme would need standards, for banks, but also for other stakeholders such as PSP’s and merchants. At equensWorldline we only encourage this collaboration, and we can help banks by introducing an innovative, futureproof infrastructure.

After a very inspiring first day in Stockholm, I’m excited to see what other trends and news I will encounter during EBAday.