Close countries panel

Select country

For solutions in a specific country please visit our local website

Nets is a part of the Nexi Group - The European PayTech. Visit our Group website at

Unlocking the future of banking by combining tech and human in customer experience

​In our Nets Industry Perspectives: Insights from Intesa Sanpaolo: Shaking up banking innovation in Central & Eastern Europe we spoke to Maurice Lisi, Head of Digital Channels at Intesa Sanpaolo who shared valuable insights on Intesa Sanpaolo's digital strategy, raising awareness on digital transformation internally, and delivering next generation customer experience.​


Digital strategy in incumbent banks should be more than delivering on technology

The banking sector has been indisputably shaken by the many fintechs that have entered the payment game in the last five years. Banks are therefore striving to fill the gap in this disruption by delivering on the same or similar level of digitalisation or by partnering with fintechs. Yet, digitalisation isn’t a one-time event and big changes in consumer behaviour can happen quickly, as it is happening right now due to the pandemic. That is why incumbent banks need to be organised to adapt to change to be able to react quickly and drive the transformation internally so that it becomes embedded into the culture, as Maurice Lisi pointed out. ​​

​Author/source: {attribution}

About Maurice Lisi

Head of Digital Channels, Maurice Lisi, leads the digital transformation in all Intesa Sanpaolo's subsidiary banking ecosystem, defining and implementing the strategic path of the transition from a traditional bank environment to an up-to-date, modern environment that copes with technological and innovation changes, while exploiting these changes to create a competitive advantage.


Intesa ​Sanpaolo, one of the largest and most successful banking groups in Europe, is doing exactly this – driving the digital strategy externally and internally with Maurice Lisi in the dynamic center. The Group's innovation agenda is based on changing the internal company culture and the next important milestone would be redefining and redesigning the organisation to be more future-proof and sustainable when it comes to change. Lisi stresses the importance of creating value internally by creating a fintech and innovative mindset to deliver value to customers.    

A shift from branch to customer experience​

Fintechs emerged around 2015 and were going after the banking sector. They have mostly focused on alleviating the friction in the specific issues existing in the payment industry, such as cross-border transactions, and their solutions included improving the customer experience. The fintechs that excelled in delivering a great customer experience made experience itself the product and that is what disrupted the banking sector. According to Maurice Lisi banks should be thankful because fintechs made an incredible push on the incumbent environment to focus more on delivering the customer experience.​​

Another event that pushed banks to advance digitalization strategy is COVID-19. The pandemic has shifted the consumer behaviour towards buying and paying via e-commerce and contactless payment methods which rushed banks to introduce new digital products and services to improve the customer experience.

 What makes Intesa Sanpaolo successful and trusted by consumers all over the world is exactly the approach they have in delivering the consumer experience – the combination of technology and human

Being completely aware of that, Intesa Sanpaolo are striving to deliver the whole ecosystem for the consumer's convenience and not just pieces of a technology puzzle, as Maurice Lisi calls it. People look for human interaction and advice when they go to the bank or want a mortgage or a loan which are life changing decisions that require more than a chatbot or a robo-advisor. Banks need to provide that human touch to the customer experience to win the customer's trust for example through video banking which Intesa has put in place to allow customers to have remote contact with their relationship manager.

​Tech giants own consumer data​

Even though smaller fintechs are disrupting the banking environment they are still not a threat for banks when it comes to share of customers. However, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, also known by the acronym GAFA, are starting to overtake the ownership of the consumer experience in the payment field, as Maurice Lisi pointed out. Their aim may not be to become banks, but they are going to disintermediate the customer with the bank. For example Google has already stepped into the bank account field in collaboration with Citi Bank and Apple has issued the Apple Card for payments. 

This view is also shared by, Sulabh Agarwal, Accenture’s global payments lead, as quoted by CNBC. Agarwal said that it doesn’t make much sense for the tech giants to become banks: ​​

About Intesa Sanpaolo

The Intesa Sanpaolo Group is one of the top banking groups in Europe, with a market capitalisation of 37.4 billion euro and is committed to supporting the economy in the countries in which it operates, specifically in Italy where it is also committed to becoming a reference model in terms of sustainability and social and cultural responsibility.

​Intesa Sanpaolo has a strategic international presence, with approximately 1,000 branches and 7.2 million customers, comprising subsidiaries operating in commercial banking in 12 countries in Central Eastern Europe and Middle Eastern and North African areas and an international network of specialists in support of corporate customers across 26 countries, in particular in the Middle East and North Africa and in those areas where Italian companies are most active, such as the United States, Brazil, Russia, India and China.​​​

Whether the tech giants are looking to become banks or not, they have an enormous advantage because of the amount of consumer data they have collected throughout the years.

Very few banks have this level of data culture and are not fully equipped to handle the tremendous amounts of data that tech giants collect. Therefore, banks should be working on improving this and developing a strategy for an in-depth consumer behaviour analysis, as Maurice pointed out, or at least drive data awareness internally to meet the increased competition from tech giants.​

​Re​lated articles​

Trust is the key value in delivering digital services

Trust and awareness are key values in Intesa Sanpaolo banks, according to Maurice Lisi, and this is what they build their customers' loyalty on. Lisi explains that there are two different types of awareness that banks need to build: Brand awareness and Product/service awareness

Building and constantly raising brand awareness is important to keep customers involved in the brand, and in the long run that results in building trust. Awareness and trust in products/services is something that also has to be built internally in order to be delivered externally. Relationship managers and sales need to trust in the service/products being offered to the client so that the customer is assured and knows what kind of service is being offered to them.​​


Key take-aways

  • To transform a bank, is to transform the entire bank culture. Little by little.
  • ​The paradigm of the bank has changed to focus on how to interact with the customers, based on data and use of digital tools delivered with human touch.
  • The new product in the banking sector is the Customer Experience. Don't focus on technology but focus on providing the best experience for your customer through the user journey where tech and human compliment each other to provide best experience
  • Banks have been good at compliance and regulation (maybe even using it as an excuse not to change).