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Head of Retail at K&H Bank Martin Jarolím on Banking Digitalization “Find new ways of serving our clients better and implement new solutions that is innovation”

Martin Jarolím
Head of the Retail Business Line of K&H Bank

What is innovation for you? What are your best practices for innovation management?

There is a lot of buzz in the world now about innovation: startups, tech companies and large brands all communicate strongly and a lot of real investment is spent too. I strongly believe that when we find new ways of serving our clients better and implement new solutions that is innovation. In order to enable our colleagues to find these solutions, we established Surf Studio as an inspiring collaborative place, where together with partners we show innovations from the world as well as from KBC Group. Also, we organize events and connect our key people as an innovation community to analyze the trends, collect the ideas and manage the projects.

You mentioned that you are organizing innovation events, What type of events are you doing? What is the impact on your organization?
We think that diversity of ideas is key to inspiration so we organize 2 events per month, therefore we are able to touch upon many of the trends. The format is usually one or two speakers from our partners and our colleagues from other KBC Group countries, but on bigger topics, we have a whole day innovation fair with exhibitions from startups, incumbents and even student groups, we call experts via Skype and also listen to client testimonies. Last time this big topic was the future of healthcare where we see tremendous improvements and shifts. Hundreds of K&H colleagues come to these events, they experience the future and empathize with our clients: how the novelties affect their lives and start thinking about how our bank insurance group can adapt to these changes.

How are you managing to establish an innovative culture within K&H?
Culture is hardly visible at first sight but can kill your projects and the business. K&H has a long history of a strong teamwork culture with loyalty and hard work at the centre. Our innovation culture is focused on open-discussion where everyone is invited. Our task is to find proven viable concepts on other markets which we can adopt in Hungary in a fast way.

What are the current main challenges for the banking industry regarding innovation?

The financial services industry is one of the most regulated business as we are working with our clients’ money. So one big challenge is to find ways to implement new technologies in a way that is compliant with the regulations, as well as working together with the regulator to establish new rules which enable innovation while does not increase the risks in the system. Another big challenge is to attract and motivate talents experienced in the vast variety of digital skills that become necessary.

How did you manage the balance between innovation and digital transformation in the finance industry? Are you taking the user-centred innovation approach?
Yes. We strongly believe in listening to what our clients say. We also search and implement new methods of creating solutions e.g. design thinking and value stream analysis. We try to develop our digital as well as our physical channels all the time, while also taking sometimes the responsibility to educate clients like teenagers in managing money or elderly people in using our Mobilebank app.