Archive for October, 2009

The banking world can reclaim their position by implementing value-innovation.

October 16, 2009

Globalization got a bad name by the credit crunch initiated by international banks. This experience generated a counter reaction at consumers. They prefer being close over global. This might actually offer an opportunity to a bank. The challenge for many multinationals now is to get across the table and to prove that they are there for their consumers and to demonstrate that they understand local customers as good as the other businesses do.

Looking across time

Regional banks are becoming more popular: in Switzerland the cantonal banks are doing better, in the US small regional banks and in Spain the civic saving banks (Cajas). The perception of customers changed to:  close to home means that it’s saver to get my money back.  Recently I have been looking for an example if Blue Ocean Strategy can be implemented at banks. The Caja Navarra, a Spanish civic saving bank related to this strategy. Even though this bank is focusing on the same customer they focus on the trend that the mindset or perception of this customer has been changed. In chapter three of the book the authors mention that it’s utterly important not just project a trend itself but get business insights how the trend will change value to customers and impact the company’s business model. ‘By looking across time – from the value a market delivers today to the value it might deliver tomorrow – managers can actively shape their future and lay claim to a new blue ocean’ (page 75).

Civic account simulator

At Caja Navarra consumers know where their money is spent and they have a say in it. It’s a bank with a high involvement, they truly listen to their customers and they show social responsibility. About 30% of their profits go to charity and social projects. At this bank consumers have the right to choose and decide on which projects, even those in their own village, they want to spend their money. They can consult the investments of their money online. And with the great tool of the civic account simulator they can calculate how much they like to invest. Customers can also act as a volunteer in a project (Volcan). On the website there is a complete offer of projects to look at. Caja Navarra provides them a training and contact.

Close to you

Caja Navarra sees it as their duty to become a fairer bank. Clients can do an online assessment  to rate the bank on duties as for example: being idealistic, holistic, biological, responsible and intelligent. What I especially like about the bank is that the customer can participate in the civic banking community (digital cancha). The bank gives customers even the opportunity to take part in the blogs of their clients. At the moment this is the largest social network in Spain. The bank is not afraid of feedback, they ask customers to give input for improvements. I also was impressed that a customer has the possibility to connect live with the bank by video conference!! Or what about making an appointment with the bank whenever it suits you? Consumers book their time online. Caja Navarra shows in a tangible way that they really truly listen to consumers, that they are active in society and that they are close to you. Caja Navarra is a great example of implemented value-innovation.


Kim, C. and Mauborgne R. (2005) Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation

Webinar Reinventing retail financial services: Putting the Customer first, Roger Peverelli co-author of The Future of Finance:

YouTube Video on Caja Navarra: