Johannes Rastas, tech geek and a software dude. Head of Digital Banking for the consumer business. 1 year with Nordea. We asked him a couple of questions:
Good question. Sometimes I keep wondering the same. I did a long career in some of the most innovative companies of the world, obsessed with future innovations and bleeding edge technologies, and changing the way how people live their lives everywhere around the world.
So why banking? Because once you start to think about it is much more interesting and fascinating than you may have originally thought of.
First of all, it is also all about changing the way we live. It is about the small daily thing like doing your groceries and ordering stuff online. But perhaps even more importantly it is about the big life events: buying your first apartment, getting married, planning your retirement, and even not so nice things like a divorce or death. We at Nordea are with our millions of customers, and take a good care of them, for all these things big and small every day.
The other part of the answer is the technology. Everything we do is based on technology and software. Software is transforming all other industries, but we are ahead of the curve. We are fully committed to provide the best, second to none, digital experiences for all our customers and investing hugely to make it so. I believe that banks have the largest IT budgets in the Nordic region, and Nordea being the largest bank. We have massive data centres. We are obsessed with data and analytics.
We are working with artificial intelligence, micro-services, data lakes, and other super cool technologies. Banks are becoming more and more like tech companies, and the industry is moving with speed. Could you have imagined some years back that you don’t need carry cash or card as there’s a virtual credit card in your phone? Or that you don’t ever need to visit your bank, unless you want to. We’ve obviously chosen to adopt modern ways of working including agile, devops, and you name it to move even faster.
Ok, I have to admit that it took me a while to realize all of the above but I’m glad the I was persuaded to join Nordea while still figuring it all out (Holá, Ricardo!).
How do you see banking in the future?
Future of banking and future of banks are two different things. Banking as how people and businesses manage their finances and wealth will always be there. But it will take new forms as the customers are always online expecting top notch service 24/7, competition for customer attention is increasing especially as regulation pushing banks to open up data and services for 3rd parties, and the general awareness and requirements for security and privacy are getting much tighter. On top of, many banks are struggling with their legacy mainframe platforms which are not efficient or sustainable. In this space new opportunities and new innovations will emerge, but many traditional banks will cease to exist as they fail to capture this opportunity. It is not only about having a technology platform allowing to create the innovative services in collaboration with fintech companies in a cost efficient manner, but more fundamentally it is a totally different way of thinking and doing business. Ultimately, the best experience wins.
What do you do then?
My unit is primarily responsible for digital experience for the consumer customers. Which means that currently we are super focused on nailing the mobile app amongst a few other things. To do just that, we have adopted an incremental approach to listen and learn for our customers, and then response rapidly with improvements and new features. Our aim is to create the best daily banking experience. Beautiful and simple. What will set us apart, is the option to connect to a person any time with one tap. And this is not a dummy chat bot or an outsourced help desk, but a real professional advisor for a face-to-face video call or for a chat if that’s what you prefer.
We are also heavily investing into digitalization and automation to speed up processes that used to take a long while to complete, such as becoming a new Nordea customer, getting a mortgage, or an instant loan.
Furthermore we are creating a platform to enable not just innovation from within Nordea but to partner up with the most innovative fintech companies.
What kind of people and roles do you have in your unit?
It is a software product unit. Generically we value learning appetite, customer obsession, and technical mastery in all roles. We have product people, software architects, UI designers, QA and test automation folks, devops guys, and a lot of devs of course. Additionally we have a few guys and gals who are both supporting and running the show. Sometimes it is a bit chaotic but in a good way. That’s where the inspiration and creativity comes from. And every day we are getting faster, better, stronger, our work is never over.
We are present in the four Nordic countries with the biggest hubs in Denmark and Finland.
… but what do you do?
I’m privileged having an awesome team. My job is simply to create an environment where they all can live up their fullest potential. And to attract even more great people, the kinds who wear t-shirts and hoodies rather than suits.
What do you love about your job?
The impact. Being able to make a difference for our millions of customers. Every day.
… and your goal?
The highest customer satisfaction. 11/10.
/Kristin Ruud, Global Head of Employer Brand Management
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