Retail banks here have collectively spent over €3 billion in the past five years on delivering new digital services for customers, according to the Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland.
The services provided include end-to-end online mortgages, new and secure payment apps, personal loan applications, instant account opening, data analytics, money management tools and SME lending.
The demand for such services increased markedly throughout the pandemic with the introduction of remote working and social distancing requirements.
According to the BPFI’s figures, some €400 million of the spend was accounted for by engagement with over 100 fintech companies.
1 in 3 of those companies were Irish, it said.
“The fact that Irish firms account for one third of the 100 fintech partnerships that retail banks have entered into demonstrates a major vote of confidence in the local fintech sector, ” Eamonn Crowley, BPFI President and CEO of Permanent STB said.
“The reason we’re teaming up with so many Irish fintechs is because they offer the best solution, the best skills and the best package that suits our requirements,” he added.
Mr Crowley said digitisation was being used across the spectrum of bank products including customer-facing services, improved customer support and wealth and money management tools as well as across back-office functions.
“This trend is very much in line with international developments. According to a recent PwC ‘Global Fintech Report’, 94% of Financial Services firms surveyed said they were looking to fintech to help grow their company’s revenue over the next two years,” he said.
It emerged some months ago that for of the biggest banks here had joined forces in an effort to launch an instantaneous digital payments app that would compete with new payments platforms, such as Revolut.
KBC’s Irish arm was understood to have been among the banks to partake in the joint venture.
It later announced that it was in talks with Bank of Ireland about acquiring some of its loans, a move which may see it eventually departing the Irish market.