SME Banking Conversations: Joanna Więcek-Sitek (ING Poland)


With this third episode of SME Banking Conversations with Olena Gryniuk, we are continuing the series of inspiring interviews on SME Banking, digital transformation, and people making the innovations happen in the industry!

The recording of the third episode took place in June in Warsaw (Poland). Olena Grynuik – CEE Regional Director at SME Banking Club, interviewed Joanna Więcek-Sitek – Director of Business Banking Digital Tribe at ING Poland. ING Poland is a leader in the digitalization of banking processes in the CEE region and the Winner of the SME Banking Awards for the best online banking and mobile banking for business customers.

Listen to this conversation on our SoundCloud channel:

OG: Let’s start with a personal question to have an intrigue at the very beginning. What is your path to the ING bank and the Business Banking Digital Tribe?

JWS: With the banking industry I am related from the very beginning of my work, basically from the first training during my studies. I was working in the broad area from sales support to insurance product development. I joined ING in 2011 and at once the development team of INGBusiness Online. So, as you can see, I’m still now in the same business area. And I was developing, I will say myself along with the development of the platform itself and developing my scope of responsibilities with the development of this team.

I was also involved in the Agile Transformation which started in 2017. I was responsible for the product ownership area as a chapter lead and managing the whole tribe started for me one and a half years ago.

OG: How big now is the team engaged in the business banking digital platform?

JWS: Currently, INGBusiness is maintained and developed by over 100 people from the business and technology area. It’s a fully interdisciplinary teams, consisting of the dev teams, IT area, product owners, UX designers, User Interface designers, and researchers also. From the very beginning of the transformation till now, we are still working in the same model. This model assumes that we are divided into several squads and each squad is responsible for the functional or modular area of INGBusiness.

OG: You are a winner for the three consequent years for the best mobile banking and online banking applications. You’re the first bank in the whole CEE region to have digital onboarding of the business customer, opening of business account with a selfie, also you were one of the first to implement the FX module in your digital banking channels. My question is what makes you in the Bank, in your team, you personally that makes you an innovator?

JWS: Hard question. Digitization, I will say, is included in the bank’s whole strategy, the bank’s DNA. It’s successfully and consistently implemented for years on the management board level and in all the bank units involved in it. Digitization is for us not a goal itself. This is the smooth process we started to be responsive to the customers’ needs and the customers’ expectations and thanks to this approach, I think, we are so innovative, and we were very, for example, very well prepared at the very beginning of pandemic to be remote for our client services. From my team and my area level, the source of success is also the commitment of the teams, the business part, the IT part, and all the units involved in the success of the platform of INGBusiness because we all form the one team, one team responsible for creating and developing this area, working on the customer and user needs from the very beginning of its history. And it leads us consequently year by year to increase the satisfaction of our customers, which leads us to be satisfied with our achievements.

OG: Yes, I agree very much with you that digitalization is a crucial determinant of customer satisfaction. And we do see that during the last two-three years SME customers and business customers started to expect from the banks the same digital experience they have as individual customers. And, also, they started to expect more. All traditional daily operations like checking the history of the current account or access to the business account, making transfers both in local currencies and foreign currencies have become digitalized by all the banks, and this is not what differentiates banks on the market anymore. Customers started to expect that banks should implement e-invoicing, accounting, or some other features that are crucial for business customers. And in this sense, I would say, they believe that banks can be a very trusted provider of such services. You have implemented all of this, you have integrated e-invoicing, accounting, you payment gate. What is next?

JWS: I totally agree with this observation. Anyway, it corresponds very well with our strategy for developing INGBusiness so far. It has started several years ago by developing and offering clients a transactional platform where they could have the basic and the current necessary products. The next step was the successive attachment of new product functions until we came to the point that all the products offered to this type of customer were offered via INGBusiness online platform. The next step was the digitalization and automatization of these processes as well as providing to the market the mobile channel. Having automated processes and products already we can think about the further innovation both in the INGBusiness as a platform itself and outside the transactional system as a part of our beyond banking functionalities, our beyond banking offer like invoicing, accounting, micro factoring, or e-commerce payments. What you also mentioned, the present habits and thus the expectation of the customers, which are already more and more similar to the retail customers. Each of us uses technological innovations on daily basis, and we all expect the same solution in our professional life. That is why currently one of our main goals is to constantly improve the experience of INGBusiness users, we put particular emphasis on the development of mobile banking application, which is specifically become the most convenient and preferred tool for everyday banking for our professional users. We observe this trend among our users regardless of the business client segment.

OG: Which percentage of your business customers are active users of online banking and mobile banking?

JWS: This is the consequence of our several years’ strategy of digitalization. And mobile – it’s over 20% of currently active users.

OG: How do you analyze or measure the customer journey and customer satisfaction when they are using your digital platforms?

JWS: We have internal and external measures because we are in the constant process of checking with available tools the satisfaction of our customers observing it not only in relation to INGBusiness as a platform and a channel, but also in all touch points with the customer: on the call center, when they’re opening an account, et cetera.

So, we receive this information from them on the monthly basis and we analyze it. So, we have constant feedback from our users and our customers. The second way is of course the constant contact from our business center or our front office specialists with the customers and they talking to each other about the needs and the expectation, and they are for us, for the INGBusiness development in the great source of information what the customer expects and our goal is to provide this as fast as possible. Of course, we are working together with all product and processes tribe, responsible for the offer and we are in the constant contact how to change, how to modify the product to be the best on the market. And our goal in this is to implement as good as possible in a platform, in the web and mobile versions. And of course, it’s very appreciated when we receive the recognition like for example, from your organization, it’s the source of also information for us that what we are doing we are doing as well as possible.

OG: What are your plans for this year?

JWS: Our plans for this in the coming years are closely related to two points. The first one is rebuilding INGBusiness into a totally different interface, designed in accordance with the united standard for web and mobile accessibility.

The second point how we rebuild INGBusiness is rebuilding it according to totally new technology. It assumes that we change our approach from the monolith architecture to modularity which will give us a chance to speed this deployment and to build new functionality in the system as quickly as possible. The first effect of this initiative, of this approach, was visible to our customers last year in July when we implemented a new module for business card users. The second step was this year in January when we offered a totally rebuilt logging process. It means the new logging page, a simplified process, but also still secured, and according to the standards of accessibility, we’ve added the functionality of authentication via push notifications.

The second area of our plan is the mobile application. This year we implemented new cards module and mobile channel with the BLIK option, the six-digit code, which is very popular in e-commerce and generally in the Polish market. I like it as well. And I have to say that we are the first bank for the business segment in Poland who offers this functionality. So obviously the next steps will be the continuous development of the mobile payments area.

We also offer, as I said before, authentication to the web version of the application via push notifications. And this channel – push notification – will be the second area of our interest, to use it as much as possible. And generally, we are focused on providing our business clients and useful and helpful in their daily activities in the professional life, the mobile channel by improving their experience and adding new features and new functionality of course, and generally, all implemented features in the web and the mobile application supports our global strategy to be the best bank for companies.

OG: Looking forward to new implementations. And thank you very much for this Conversation, Joanna.

JWC: Thank you very much, Olena.


SME Banking Club thanks Joanna Więcek-Sitek for participating in our new project and sharing her experience with the audience!

Watch the conversation below: