From the Nobel Peace Prize to the Ballon d’Or awards, high-profile honors attract attention and applause. By highlighting the accomplishments of an industry, they make those achievements more accessible to a wider audience. They also celebrate successes and encourage others to chase their dreams.

Driven by the goal of celebrating the best of retail financial services and encouraging more innovation, Accenture and Efma teamed up to create the Distribution & Marketing Innovation (DMI) Awards for retail banking. Now in their fifth year, the last DMI Awards were held in Rome in October 2017. The awards attracted higher numbers than before, with more than 180 financial institutions in 59 countries submitting 467 innovations for consideration.

The impartial panel of judges, comprised of senior retail bankers from around the world, had their work cut out for them. Each submission was judged using three criteria: content originality, the potential to create long-term competitive edge and return on investment, and the content’s adaptability for use in other geographies and markets.

Online voting was also used to select the winners for some awards. Engagement showed exponential growth, with 68,000 votes cast this year compared with 8,800 the previous year.

The selected winners provided a glimpse of the innovation happening at the leading edge of retail banking. The DMIs uncovered the most effective and exciting projects underway at financial institutions to make retail banking smarter, easier and faster for everyone.

Winners included artificial intelligence tools, “pocket checkout” technology, a digital learning service inspired by Netflix, a mobile co-working space, and much more. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be profiling and celebrating each winner in a separate blog post to shine a light on how retail banking is evolving. The series will conclude with news of the 2018 DMI Awards.

The DMI awards aim to celebrate the greatest achievements in the fast-moving world of retail financial services. It is then fitting that the awards themselves have changed and grown so much each year. Looking at where we are now in comparison to where we started, makes me proud—and fills me with excitement for where we are headed. I have no doubt that the best is yet to come, for both the industry and for these awards.

Take a look at this video which shows the highlights of the 2017 DMI Awards.

Join me next time as I kick off this tour of retail banking achievements, with a look at the coveted Best New Product or Service Award.

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