Q&A: Banking CIO Outlook asks, NAMU answers

TAGGED UNDER

Q: NAMU is specialized in making Banking a lot simpler process. What do you think are the major challenges that you are trying to address for the Bankers and customers through your solutions?

A: There are three major challenges that we address at NAMU. First – we significantly improve the customer mobile experience and engagement. One realizes how much this is needed after looking at the user ratings of banking apps in the Apple app store or Google Play. Secondly – in today’s fast paced world, we make banks much more dynamic and responsive, enabling fast and incremental product development thanks to our unique data model, architecture and open technology stack. Thirdly – we create a new revenue stream for banks with targeted offers and ad placement. With our proprietary social behaviour spending algorithm, we effectively monetize transactional and customer activity data, as well as information from social networks.

Q: Could you tell us about the current technological trends existing in the Mobile Banking arena and how do you inject those trends into the solutions you offer?

A: Mobile technology overtakes desktop banking, becomes mainstream and starts to dominate. At the same time deeper consumer engagement, personalization and contextual experiences are needed for banks to stay competitive. We have a unique solution that associates photo images with consumer transactions. As scientific studies prove, this significantly increases consumer comprehension of transactions performed, and increases the remembering of information by over 300%. As images require less mental effort to process than text, our picture based transactional statement model makes the mobile banking app significantly more engaging.

Q: Could you tell us the conception behind NAMU and how it evolved over the years? What is the story behind the coinage of your brand name ‘NAMU’?

A: We started NAMU with the goal of making banking relevant, engaging and fun (“Joyful Banking”). We wanted to achieve that by tapping into memories and emotions associated with events and social relationships related to consumers’ financial activity. The brand name NAMU comes from the Korean word for ‘Tree’. Our symbol is the gingko tree that famously helps improve concentration and memory. Our mobile banking application improves recall, comprehension and remembering of transactions by effectively using photo images.

Q: You engage in the innovative concept of social banking involving photos and posts connected to a transaction, which is a drastically different from the traditional banking. Please talk in details about this aspect of banking and how it helps your clients?

A: Life events are often documented by photos stored on our phones and social media. These same events – meals, sports, entertainment, travel, on-the-go shopping – frequently represent financial transactions. NAMU developed algorithms to machine match relevant pictures to transactions. You could say that NAMU connects money with memories. With NAMU your spending can tell a colorful story, and thus make you realize the true value of your spending. Our social circle functionality enables consumers to identify for whom or with whom they have spent money. This creates a totally new meaning for transactions by reminding the user who the true beneficiaries of the transactions were and the actual personal and social impact of the money spent. This makes consumers much more satisfied with their financial activities. Although much research has examined the effect of income on happiness, we suggest that how people spend their money may be at least as important as how much money they earn. Specifically, that spending money on other people may have a more positive impact on happiness than spending money on oneself.

Q: NAMU connects the banks with many complex banking systems with a centralized API and data-centric architecture. Could you give a detailed picture of how your platform and mobile application works resulting in superior customer experience?

A: Transaction and Customer Data are spread across multiple product systems that are fragmented and siloed. NAMU integrates data from various sources and provides intelligent analytics geared to the account holder perspective, thanks to our unique back-end functionality. NAMU’s flexible architecture and open technology stack enables easy and effective integration with various systems. For instance, while preparing for the Citi Mobile Challenge, in less than a month, we have integrated with Citi, Mastercard and Uber APIs for an award winning best user experience.

Q: Mobile Banking is getting more and more popular with each passing day. But there are concerns like security and fraud that needs to be addressed. What is your take on this trend and how what are your suggestions to effectively address this problem?

A: NAMU employs best practice solutions for mobile apps and device security. These include data encryption, and code obfuscation — which were successfully tested and validated in the most demanding markets and easily integrate with the Bank’s own security frameworks, such as authentication, end user device control and management. NAMU also leverages video technology with session and transaction authorisation, as well as the capability to accept user submitted images of documents, including national ID cards.

Q: What are some of the investments NAMU has made for innovations? Can you give us an inside view of what goes on in your innovation lab?

A: One of our latest areas of focus is further enhancement of our customer behaviour analytics and profiling algorithms. We have forged a partnership with a data scientist from Imperial College of London, which is ranked among the top engineering schools in the world.

Q: Could you please provide us with a detailed case study specific to domain where your company assisted one of your clients to curb their challenges and boost their productivity?

A: We are currently engaged in advanced negotiations where our mobile banking solution would be allowed to move most customer activities performed in bank branches, with the exception of cash withdrawal, to NAMU interactive video channel. This is an important solution that supports the bank’s cost-cutting initiative of reducing branch networks while keeping a personal touch, which is important for many banks and consumers.

Q: Even the most competent of organizations tend to face market competition. What are the strategies employed by NAMU to thwart this competition, and what according to you, are the company’s key differentiating factors?

A: So far NAMU is the only mobile banking solution which consistently employs a photograph-based mobile interface. Our method of representing transactions with relevant pictures is protected by a patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Q: What is in-store for NAMU in the upcoming years—a roadmap if you could?

A: We are developing functionality that further leverages social networking to provide consumer advice and information sharing. We are also looking at accelerating and simplifying implementations even further by building integration toolkits for the most popular core banking systems. We are also still working on various derivatives of the user interface, as some of the banks we talk to are seriously considering an extremely visual interface, keeping text to a minimum. We are also developing comprehensive mobile customer onboarding functionality for mobile-only banks. We need to keep some of our plans a secret, so let us stop here for now.

Q: Would you like to highlight any other interesting insight in the story that we might have missed out in the questionnaire?

A: NAMU operates at the intersection of mobile finance, social networking and permission-based advertising. Our first market penetration model is m-finance; however, we ultimately aim to provide a new channel of consumer spending.

Thank you very much!