Tuesday, March 30, 2004

First World Retail Banking Report demonstrates local banking playing field

Yesterday the first World Retail Banking Report was presented during an afternoon session in the hotel Okura. The report was a collective effort of the European Financial Management & Marketing Association and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Todays Financieele Dagblad reports on the meeting to highlight the following:

- banking is still a local business in EU-countries, with considerable cost for banking/payments,

- each country knows a delicate balance between banking sector, merchants, consumers and regulators,

- pricing information is widely available and consistent on a loca scale but international comparisons are quite hard.

The interesting thing is that the study also indicates that this local situation will not quickly change. If so, it would most likely be large players such as ING that may do so by introducing new and cheaper services upon entering different markets. Hans Verkoren, responsible for ING Direct is quoted to have said that ING might -given the 9,1 million customers of ING Direct- consider offering payment facilities as well.

In fact such a choice appears imminent. All over on TV we can now see ads for ING Cards. It would appear quite sensible that this infrastucture will also be used to enter other markets.