I’ve really enjoyed putting the BankNXT Fintech Podcast together this year, talking to some really interesting people, such as Aneesh Varma from credit scoring startup Aire, Silvan Schumacher from investing platform Swanest, and Mark Mullen from Atom Bank. Each interview brought its own insight into developing financial technology for the 21st century, and my latest interview is no different.
In this episode, I talk to Andrei Kozliar, CEO of Touch Bank, a neobank created by OTP Bank. He has a background in risk management, having worked at various FIs such as Renaissance Capital Bank Russia & Ukraine and GE Money Bank Russia, and analytics company VisualDNA.
Andrei talks about what it’s like to get a fintech startup going in the Russian market in particular, and acknowledges the advantages of being supported by a larger organisation. There is definitely a benefit to having ready capital, and OTP also granted a level of autonomy to Touch Bank in order that it stands on its own two feet and doesn’t become bogged down with any legacy infrastructure issues. Over the first 12 months of operation (since launching in April 2015), Touch Bank has achieved impressive results. It now serves 70,000 clients across Russia, with the customer base growing at an average rate of 10,000 new customers a month.
The bank has gradually started offering loans, and so far has extended credit lines in the amount of €15m. Initial launch products for the Russian market were credit card, cash loan, deposit account, and current account, as well as a cash-back loyalty program. However, each of the four products has an innovative value proposition that’s completely unique in the Russian market and globally. For instance, since August 2015, Touch Bank clients have enjoyed its ‘Cards in Card’ service (analogy of Curve, offered in the UK).
Touch Bank chose Backbase as its digital partner, largely because of the common ground they shared in terms of attitude and ambition, and this mutual understanding helped Andrei launch Touch Bank within a year. Would he have done anything differently? You’ll have to listen to the end to find out!
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