12 March, 2018
Digital security worries hinder consumer app uptake, says SanMex exec

Banks must reassure clients on cyber-security concerns if mobile banking is to take off, says Jorge Zenteno

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Retail customers in Mexico hesitate to manage their money with online tools because of security concerns, says the head of Santander México’s digital factory.

The bank has launched several new online services – including a digital-only account and a mobile wallet app – but consumers have been initially slow to take up the new products, Jorge Zenteno says in today’s iupana conversa podcast. That is largely because they worry about keeping their personal data safe.

“It’s a gradual process that has started accelerating,” Zenteno said of the up-take of the bank’s new digital offerings. “The main challenge is that our clients trust that the technology is as good and as safe as dealing with a person on the other end of the phone or in a branch.”

The speed at which Mexican consumers adopt new digital capabilities represents the biggest technological difference between the Latin American country and the rest of the world, he said.

“The difference can be seen a lot in the use of technology by the Mexican population. Today we’re still in an early stage. As users we still have a certain fear of using new technology.”

Younger clients more readily take up new technological offerings, he said. “They want to have more digital interactions with the bank, and we see a good response from them in using these products and processes. But still we have a group of clients that prefer to visit a branch.”

As a result of that split preference, the digital factory works not just on client-facing products. It also focuses on upgrading the in-branch technology, so that advisors can better help customers who prefer to bank face-to-face. One such upgrade to the bankers’ tech interface has cut the time to open an account in a branch from around 40 minutes to just 10, he said.

The bank branch is here to stay, Zenteno said, and the future of banking will be a blend of personal and digital attention.

“It’s going to be a combined model, between personal attention for some high-value services and the efficiency that’s gained with technology through digital services.”

Jorge Zenteno, director general of Santander Mexico’s Digital Factory, shares his views on the biggest tech advances and challenges for Mexico’s banks – as well as his outlook for the country’s financial sector five years from now in the latest iupana conversa podcast, available today in Spanish. Zenteno also discusses in depth the way that the digital factory interacts with the rest of the bank to develop better technology across the institution. Listen to it in the player here, or download it through iTunes or your preferred podcast app.

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