Launching one of the most ethical and innovative banks in the world in rapid time
At a Glance
– Five months to implement a complete banking infrastructure and open first accounts
– 686,000 customers onboarded in the first six months, including 150,000 in one week
– 7-8 minutes for customers to complete the signup process and open accounts
– Award-winning mobile banking app combines innovation and sustainability
Flowe is a bank unlike any other. Inspired by the emphasis on personal wellbeing found in Japanese ikigai philosophy and the positive psychology movement, Flowe aims to empower customers to live happier and more sustainable lives. Focusing on the Millennial and Generation Z segments, the bank looks to offer users ways to improve their finances and make a positive impact on society and the planet.
Cristina Toniazzo, Head of Happiness, Caring & Service Operations explains: “Where most banks are motivated by profit and loss, we focus on social objectives such as reducing carbon emissions and helping customers to achieve their life goals. Our target market consists of young people who need to manage their money effectively to pay rent and other bills, and often prefer to use innovative, ethical service providers.”
To appeal to these consumers, Flowe planned a mobile banking app that would allow users to make payments and manage their accounts while on the move. Drawing inspiration from leading media companies such as Netflix and TED Talks, Flowe also wanted to incorporate inspirational video content and give customers the opportunity to participate in sustainability initiatives to help the environment.
Building an entire infrastructure from scratch
Turning Flowe’s vision into reality presented huge challenges. The company wanted to launch on the Italian market quickly, which meant it had to find the fastest way to build an entire banking infrastructure from scratch. To support a seamless user experience, including fast, secure onboarding, the bank would need leading-edge capabilities. Flowe also targeted an agile, hyper-efficient and scalable operating model to minimize overheads and enable fast growth.
Recognizing that a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution represented the smartest and most efficient approach, Flowe searched for a technology partner to support its go-to-market strategy. After an in-depth assessment, Flowe decided to work with Temenos and selected an ecosystem of core banking, payments processing, and anti-fraud solutions running on the Temenos Banking Cloud on Microsoft Azure.
Cristina Toniazzo explains: “The Gartner Magic Quadrant lists Temenos as a market-leader, which inspired a lot of confidence. Temenos also has proven experience helping many other challenger banks to launch quickly. Plus, we liked how easy it is to customize the Temenos solutions, along with the rich API capabilities, which would help us to connect with partners and support Open Banking initiatives.”
Following a functional analysis and design stage, Flowe worked with Temenos to implement the solutions, going live with the first accounts within five months. When the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruption to the later stages of the process, Temenos switched to a remote deployment strategy. “Deploying in five months was a great result,” comments Cristina Toniazzo. “The preconfigured tools in the Temenos solution significantly accelerated the process.”
“With many service providers, setting up a core banking environment is a long, complex process; with Temenos, we were building demo environments in weeks.”Cristina Toniazzo, Head of Happiness, Caring & Services Operations, Flowe
Delivering intuitive services with minimal environmental impact
Within the technology stack, Flowe uses the robust core banking capabilities of Temenos Transact to handle huge volumes of customer transactions and develop new products. For example, Flowe offers prepaid payment cards for parents and children, debit cards made from recycled wood, and helpful tools that allow account holders to set weekly and monthly limits on their spending.
Cristina Toniazzo explains: “Temenos Transact makes developing innovative banking products easy. Using the core platform, we can quickly configure and define the precise features that we want, before we launch new offerings. This helps us to provide services that appeal to our target market.”
To provide a wide array of electronic money transfer services, Flowe relies on Temenos Payments. Along with supporting card transactions and direct debit transfers, Flowe uses the platform to facilitate specific payments to education and administrative authorities in Italy. “We wanted to offer customers the option to pay taxes and university fees through our mobile app,” adds Cristina Toniazzo. “Using Temenos Payments, we can support the entire payments lifecycle and allow users to make these transfers efficiently and without friction.”
Flowe harnesses Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation to maintain security during customer onboarding and transactions processing. For example, the bank uses the platform to perform screening and customer behaviour analysis that helps to identify suspicious activity and prevent money laundering. Embedded case management tools allow Flowe to optimize its approach and reduce false positives.
“Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation is a very powerful tool. We enjoy a 360-degree view over customer activity and can detect and block fraudulent activity. This helps to reduce our exposure to risk and gives confidence to our customers and banking partners.”Cristina Toniazzo, Head of Happiness, Caring & Services Operations, Flowe
The Temenos solutions have proved crucial in supporting Flowe’s unique eco-friendly approach. Using the API capabilities, Flowe connects with the systems of partners such as Doconomy, which calculates the carbon footprint created by each customer’s transactions, and zeroCO2, which supports reforestation schemes in Guatemala to offset emissions and minimize environmental impact.
Achieving spectacular growth
When its innovative banking services launched in Italy, Flowe rapidly won huge numbers of customers. Within six months, the bank had just under 700,000 users, including 150,000 new sign-ups within one week. As well as intuitive mobile banking services, customers enjoy access through the app to video tutorials from experts on topics such as self-help, healthy eating, and entrepreneurship that help to spread happiness.
“During one promotion, we had peaks of 30,000 new customers every day. Thanks to the elastic flexibility and robustness of Temenos Banking Cloud, we could seamlessly scale our database to handle the added volumes without encountering any performance issues.”Cristina Toniazzo, Head of Happiness, Caring & Services Operations, Flowe
With fully automated onboarding, customers complete the signup process and open Flowe accounts in just seven to eight minutes. The rating of the app is 4,7 on iOS and 4,3 on Google. This combination of first-class user experience and eco-friendly banking services has earned Flowe several high-profile awards, including ‘Best Original & Adoptable Concept – Innovative API / Open Banking’ at the IBS Intelligence Global FinTech Innovation Awards 2020.
Delighted Flowe’s customers
“After two months of using it, I am extremely satisfied with the app, the services and the functionality.”
“The best bank among all those I have had in the past.”
“I have never encountered a problem ever since I opened my account.”
“The app is incredibly interesting combining utility and stimulation of new thoughts.”
Reaping the benefits of SaaS
The Temenos SaaS model forms a key component in Flowe’s success. Rather than incurring the heavy costs of implementing and managing its own on-premise infrastructure, the Temenos Banking Cloud on Microsoft Azure enables Flowe to stay lean and agile, focusing its energy and resources on optimizing its customer services.
Cristina Toniazzo concludes: “Working with Temenos has enabled us to turn our unique vision into reality. Today, we are one of the most ethical and innovative banks in the world. Looking ahead, we will explore new Temenos capabilities and make greater use of the API integration tools to enhance our services. We are also considering launching Flowe beyond Italy, and we know we can count on Temenos to deliver the support we need.”
“Temenos cutting-edge technology powered our launch and now fuels our purpose to bring a new standard of sustainable banking to the European market. Temenos’ focus and unparalleled investment in innovation means Flowe will continue to benefit from the most advanced banking technology.”Ivan Mazzoleni, Chief Executive Officer, Flowe