NPF Webinar discusses the approach of European banks to COVID-19 crisis

The NPF Webinar: – Financial Innovation: Crisis Management brought together some of the key industry figures, who discussed the role of innovation in overcoming the economic turbulence caused by COVID-19. 

The opening panel placed a heightened focus on the banking sector and what it can do when it comes to enhancing support for businesses.

Kristin Riise head of innovation at DNB, Norway’s largest financial service group underlined the importance of a collaborative approach, highlighting key elements of what has worked well within the country.

She said: “As we are all aware the coronavirus is affecting the economy as well as health so in Norway the government has launched a rescue package for businesses that have lost a lot of their potential income.”

On the challenge of paying money out and dealing with a host of significant transactions she added: “DNB together with the financial infrastructure in Norway got together and in three weeks have built a brand new platform where corporations can apply for a support package. They’re identified and it’s automatically integrated with their annual report and the application is sent for them to either get an approval or a no go.”

“We built this platform in three weeks, working together on teams. It was approved by the ESA and after a week there have been hardly any errors in the system. It’s a 90% automation that goes through without any problems and 60% of the companies that have applied have actually been paid out money and support.”

Further emphasising how significant the platform and collaboration have been in aiding firms in Norway through this tough period, she continued: “It’s been an amazing success story of how the authorities, the tax department and private banks have collaborated in making something. It shows what you can do when you don’t have to sit in meetings with lots of red tape; it’s been a great showcase of what you can do when you pull together.”

Aleksi Grym, Head of Digitalisation at the bank of Finland, revealed how the Finnish approach has differed: “What we are seeing in Finland is that we are trying to leverage the systems and structures that we already have in place as a way to quickly implement some of these measures to help. 

“Using agencies that have already had good processes in terms of reaching out to businesses and companies, it has its pros and cons. The pros are that you can get the funds quickly to businesses; the downside is that they are not really built for this purpose specifically. So there have been some gaps in reaching some businesses.”