Paris, 24 February: today D-Rating presented the results of its 5th digital performance rating campaign, based on data collected between October and December 2021. Among the 98 European banks studied by the rating agency, four are at the top of the hierarchy, with an A- rating: BBVA (SP), Boursorama (FR), KBC (BE) and Hello bank! (FR). In the previous campaign, Boursorama was the only one to reach this level.
If we take into account the 27 banks rated BBB+, the best performers now represent more than 30% of our panel," notes Sylvain Deniau, Chief Rating Officer of D-Rating. But on the other hand, we can also observe an increase in the weight of the less well-positioned, with 7 banks rated BB- or BB. The gap is widening between the best and worst performers.”
As D-Rating had previously noted, the emergence of neo-banks and the restrictions on travel due to the health crisis have accelerated the digitization of banking practices. But the movement had already started at the beginning of the previous decade, encouraged by the gradual reduction in the number of bank branches (density divided by two in ten years).
In response, all the brands have greatly improved their ability to support "everyday banking". For example, 83% now offer a fully digital account opening process.
Going beyond the "universal digital minimum service" and substituting "better digital" for "more digital" should enable banks to better seize the opportunities for value creation that digital brings:
- Reducing acquisition costs and improving customer retention by using quickwins such as the possibility of subscribing to "junior accounts" for their teenage children (aged 13 to 17); this option is currently available online in only one in five European banks,
on average (22%, but 0% in Spain, Italy and Portugal and, conversely, 83% in Poland).
- Increasing recurring revenues through the segmentation of subscription formulas or the possibility of subscribing to premium cards (possible online in more than two out of three European banks, but only a third in Italy, compared to 100% in Germany and Poland).
- Use digital channels to place products that benefit from the upward movement in interest rates. The case of home loans clearly illustrates remaining room for improvement: while more than three quarters of websites provide information on the institution's offer (76%), less than half of them allow the subscription process to be launched (48%), and only one in seven (14%) offer the possibility of signing online. And the scores are significantly lower for apps: 55%, 19% and 12% respectively.
"While the shift in usage towards mobile is a key trend of the period, most banks have yet to upgrade their services to web-based ones," observes Philippe Bailly, President of D-Rating.
And at the same time as they are catching up, banks will be faced with new challenges from 2022 onwards:
- The rise of "new" entrants such as Qonto in the professional market, who know how to offer a complete range of products and services (including some beyond banking such as invoice management) thanks to partnerships and the use of APIs and Open Banking.
- Taking the environmental dimension into account. In addition to energy footprint calculators (available in 6% of the panel), "green compliant" investments, or commitments by players already present on the market to donate a portion of their turnover to associations working for sustainable development, we are seeing the emergence of brands whose environmental commitment is central to their DNA (Green-Got, Helios or OnlyYou in France, Banx in Belgium, etc.).
- The rise of crypto-currencies if they go beyond a mere speculative fad.- The rise of crypto-currencies if they go beyond a mere speculative fad.
As every year, the R&D work carried out by D-Rating's analysts and the discussions that will take place over the next few weeks with professionals will enable the list of criteria to be taken into account for the launch of the 2022 campaign.
The results of the 2021 campaign are now available on the D-Rating client platform.
Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Poland:
The heterogeneity of the region is reflected in the different distribution of ratings in the different countries.
- The ratings observed in Germany are in the middle of the D-Rating scale, with more than half of the panel rated BBB-.
- Belgian banks range from the highest rating of A-, the highest of the year, to the very low rating of BB-.
- Dutch banks, on the other hand, have more concentrated performance and ratings, with 3 out of 4 banks rated BBB+.
- Poland has a more competitive scene, similar to the Netherlands, with a majority of banks rated BBB+.
Among the income-generating quickwins, the junior account and the ability to apply for a credit card online illustrate the strong differences observed in the area.
The area’s best performers:
In Germany, Consorsbank (BBB+) ranks first on the various dimensions studied by D-Rating. In particular, it is the best performer in terms of contact channels and offers full access to the main banking products.
In 2021, KBC moved up one place in the D-Rating scale from BBB+ to A-. The increase in usage scores for its digital channels reflects the richness of the app, in terms of functionality and access to offers, right up to the possibility of subscribing to key products via the app.
ABN AMRO also moved up one place in the rating scale, from BBB to BBB+. It has a relatively consistent performance on the different dimensions of the rating, with access to web offers and the possibility to book a video call with the advisor as strengths.
ING Poland (BBB+) has the highest satisfaction score in Poland and manages its contact channels very well.
Italy, Spain, Portugal:
In particular, banks in the sub-region performed well in terms of account management services, whether it be alerting (significant account movements) or helping customers manage their budgets (by categorizing expenses, for example). More globally, "Italy, Spain and Portugal are representative of digital trends in Europe," notes Nicolas Brouat, senior analyst at D-Rating. Spain stands out in the region with very digital players, digital and automatic contact channels as well as completely digital journeys”.
The area’s best performers:
BBVA was already the highest rated Spanish bank in Spain in 2020, but with a BBB+ rating at the time. In 2021, it ranks among the four European champions, at A-. One of the reasons for this rise is the expansion of the offers available on the app.
Illimity was not reviewed in 2020 by D-Rating. In 2021, its rating, BBB+, places it in first place in Italy, and among the top 30% of banks in Europe. Its good performance is due to an app with a full range of offers and features, allowing users to manage most of their accounts through this channel.
Novo Banco was not reviewed in 2020 by D-Rating. In 2021, its rating, BBB, places it in first place in Portugal. A fast and complete onboarding from the web and a good level of satisfaction with the app are among its strengths.
Compared to the entire European competitive universe, French banks appear to be well positioned overall in terms of digital performance.
For example, when it comes to consumer credit - one of the five products tested by D-Rating - three out of four French banks are able to launch a consumer credit application (two-thirds on a European scale), and more than 70% of those that offer it are able to complete the contract. "The good performance of French banks contributes to the very high rate of adoption of digital banking observed in France: 72% against 58% on average in the European Union," notes Pierre Charvier, analyst at D-Rating.
The area’s best performers:
Already rated A- in 2020, Boursorama (Société Générale Group) has seen three of its European peers join it at this level, including its direct competitor Hello bank! The performance of the contact channels made available to customers remains its main point of improvement.
Hello bank! has moved up one level, from BBB+ to A-. The subsidiary of the BNP Paribas group has one of the best performances in Europe in terms of contact channels, and it has increased the portfolio of banking products available on its website and app. However, the digital bank still has room for improvement in terms of the application's satisfaction rating.
Sweden and United Kingdom:
Sweden and the United Kingdom stand out for their excellent results in terms of availability and reliability of web and app chat, far surpassing the European average. This performance contributes to the quality of customer relations, as well as providing customers with valuable assistance in the event of questions or problems.
"The Revolut’s case underlines that digital performance, beyond the quality of the user experience, also requires a banking product offering that is broad enough to ensure revenue generation, ,notes Jean-Louis Passarrieu, analyst at D-Rating. In the case of Revolut, it is limited to the deposit account, in 2021 as in 2020."
The area’s best performers:
The best British performance is to be credited to Revolut, with a BBB+ rating. The quality of the account opening process and the presence on the app of most of the innovative features are to be highlighted. On the other hand, the range of banking products is limited to deposit accounts, and has not changed since 2020.
Nordea is positioned as the best-performing banking player in Sweden on the various dimensions of the D-Rating study. In 2021, Nordea expanded digital access to its banking products by offering comprehensive pathways on its app. Online appointment booking is also one of its strengths. A greater use of account management services, including alerting, remains an area for improvement..
Documentation: The slides presented at the conference on 24 February and the replay of the four sessions (France; Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Poland; Sweden and the United Kingdom; Spain, Italy and Portugal) will be available from 25 February on the website www.d-rating.com.
Reminder: D-Rating is based on more than 800 indicators, covering the main factors of digital performance:
- Digital proposition: Customer journeys, Available contact channels and Offers and features.
- Usage status: covering the level of usage of different brands' websites, applications and social networks, and their level of satisfaction.
- Transformation dynamics: Technology & Innovation, Operational integration, Ability to attract talent...
More details on the D-Rating methodology here.
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About D-Rating :
Founded in early 2017, D Rating is the first agency to rate the digital performance of companies.
D-Rating provides all market participants (investors, financial analysts, fund managers and companies) with an independent rating of a company's digital competitiveness that can impact their short and medium term performance.
Thanks to an innovative approach based on a data-driven methodology - including the analysis of more than 800 indicators - D-Rating is already a standard in the financial services sector.
In 2021, D-Rating extended its rating to the professional banking sector (France), and in 2022 its activity will be extended to the insurance sector.
A business intelligence service, mainly focused on innovation in the field of mobile applications, completes its offer.