Looking at the banking industry across the world, we see more and more banks looking to expand their role outside traditional boundaries – and reach right into the heart of their of customers’ daily lives. To achieve this, smart product innovation is key, blending the right functionality, pricing and experience to win over and retain customers.

The Offering Innovation category in the Banking Innovation Awards showcases the banks that have done the best work in this space within the last year. The list of nominations for the 2019 Awards reflected the current strong focus on innovation in the payments arena, meeting customers’ demand for faster, easier and safer transactions.

This year’s winner scored highly on both breaking industry boundaries and innovating in payments. The prize went to KEB Hana Bank of South Korea for its Global Loyalty Network (GLN) – a payment hub that links major financial institutions, retailers and loyalty scheme operators together in a unique global network that enables users to pay easily and transfer digital assets to one another.

The GLN concept is underpinned by a recognition that payment service providers in each country have the best understanding of their local market and regulations. Financial institutions or payments companies in any market can join the GLN to share merchant networks, user bases and loyalty programs, enabling local users to make payments, send remittances and make ATM withdrawals overseas using their e-wallets. And by sharing their infrastructure to create a globalized platform, all members of the network benefit.

Since its inauguration in 2017, GLN has expanded into a consortium of 25 organizations from nine countries, and it’s currently in discussions with 53 other companies including 14 global financial institutions. On current trends, the number of GLN users globally will reach 107 million by 2021, with total transaction value rising to US$23.5 billion. So it’s an innovation whose impact is only just beginning – underlining its credentials as a winner.

The Silver award in this category went to Belgium’s KBC for its All-in-one mobility app, while Bronze was awarded to Canada’s BMO Bank of Montreal for its QuickPay bill payment service.

In my next blog, I’ll look at the Phygital Distribution & Experience category.

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