03.05.2018  

#BankingHasAName: 2 million people love George

For more than two million European customers, banking now has a name: George. He creates a personal digital banking experience that simplifies financial lives and helps people make smart financial decisions. George is the pan-European financial platform aiming to become the App store of European finance.

#BankingHasAName

George was born in 2012 - before Open Banking was even in the cards - as a brainchild of Erste Group’s in-house Innovation Hub in Vienna. He took the Austrian market by storm in 2015 and then expanded to Czechia and Slovakia. More countries, such as Romania, Croatia and Hungary, are about to open up for the platform that transforms mass market retail banking with digital g(e)orgeousness.

George who?

How did George come about? Here is how Peter Bosek, Chief Retail Officer of Erste Group explains it: “Our vision for George was clear from the very beginning: we didn’t want to create yet another internet banking, we didn’t want to simply retrofit old systems. George is an entirely new way of banking, one reimagined for our digital age.”

George is guided by a couple of key principles:

  • design that un-complicates your money
  • banking that feels personal
  • George for all: financial inclusion mind set
  • 100% agile


George is open, connected and ever-expanding: bring it on, PSD2

#BankingHasAName

From the very beginning six years ago George was designed as an open banking platform. It is, effectively, a front-end interface with an API-based architecture built on top of existing core banking systems. There is a practical reason for this: it minimizes the impact of legacy systems on real-time financial interactions. At the same time, it opens up the model of a traditional bank with data-driven services that add value for customers.

“There is no question about it: the future of banking will be built around platforms, and PSD2 will accelerate this. Since the very beginning, we’ve approached George with an open innovation mindset that allows us to form new partnerships with third parties and add value to our customers. So the current ‘platformification’ trend is totally playing to our strengths: our ambition is to build the iTunes store of European finance,” concludes Peter.

As a platform so deeply open for external partners and service providers, with plug-ins intervening in its code, George is exceptionally customisable and flexible. So it opens up through its APIs and modular platform architecture to create an ecosystem of partners. Don’t just take our word for it: Erste’s API hub based in Prague was recently ranked among the "Masters in openness" in Innopay's Open Banking Monitor.


George’s multiplier effect: financial literacy x 16 million people = better societies

Customers’ response so far has been more than heartening: once they’ve been introduced to George, they keep coming back to it. On average, they use George Go, the mobile app, five to six times more often than Erste’s previous mobile offerings. Emboldened by this, Erste Group is fast tracking the rollout of George to all of its seven markets and 16 million customers - not just geographically, but also by continually adding new features and services. So much so that the Hub is set to double the number of staff – engineers, designers and coders – working on expanding George.

What does the future hold for George? Sure, the clever design and cutting-edge technology already make it one of Europe’s most successful banking platforms. But with one parent a well-established bank whose DNA is to spread prosperity and the other parent an unconventional lab driven by design thinking, George was always going to be more than just a cool platform. Its true usefulness lies in its wide reach. Making it accessible for as many people as possible is the real endgame. The thinking is simple and is starting to work: George helps people better understand their money – multiply this by 16 million – help to make societies better overall.