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Digital Banking Challenges Traditional Lending Giants in Italy

03 February 2020 11:25, UTC
Digital Banking Challenges Traditional Lending Giants in Italy
By Vsevolod Gnetii

New digital banks, led by four Italian millennials, are trying to overtake traditional banks, the giants of lending. According to a study by A. T. Kearney, a multinational strategic advisory corporation headquartered in the United States, by 2023, new digital banks will have 85 million customers in Europe.

In Italy, the four millennials will become the bankers of the future: Andrea ISOLA of N26 bank; Elena LAVEZZI of Revolut; Matteo CONCAS of Penta; and Mariano SPALLETTI from Qonto. All budding Italians are less than 40 years old. All of them were born in the digital era and are now staunch supporters of the idea that their startups can change for the better the lives of individuals and enterprises in Italy.

Four new millennial bankers appeared on the Italian financial scene this year. All of them have one thing in common: none of the magnificent four have ever worked in a bank before. However, this obvious “flaw” can be an advantage if the banking sector does undergo significant changes, ceasing to be an offish bureaucratic institution and turning to face the client. Another unifying factor: all of the aforementioned startupers worked in different parts of the world after graduation and returned to their homeland only after gaining some solid experience.

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Andrea ISOLA manages the Italian branch of the German mobile bank N26 and, while still a university student, founded his own small B2C company. He is also a specialist in fintech.

Elena LAVEZZI also has a solid track record of a “global tourist”, crossing countries and continents in search of invaluable work skills. She founded her own startup, Circle, which specializes in cryptocurrencies. Circle paved the way for her in the field of financial innovation and digital banking. Finally, Ms. Lavezzi ended up in Revolut, a company founded in London, where she was responsible for Southern-European activities. From her point of view, creating start-ups means to be engaged in technology, marketing and regulation, which varies from country to country.

Isola and Lavezzi provide banking services to private, individual clients, while Matteo CONCAS and Mariano SPALLETTI launched startups in the digital banking sector. They focus on lending to small and medium-sized enterprises and workers, which could be called professionals in their field. Matteo worked in investment banking for 6 years and then founded his own startup Beesy. Then he was appointed general manager of the mobile bank N26 in Italy, where he managed to create a client base of 100 thousand people fairly quickly. His current area of ​activity is the digital banking platform called Penta, which is focused on servicing small and medium enterprises.

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Mariano is the country manager for the newly-established French bank Qonto in Italy, also engaged in lending to professionals, including small and medium-sized enterprises and workers. After completing his professional education, he worked for 2 years as a business development manager for the transport company Flix-Bus Italia, and then created the JustAvv app for searching and selecting lawyers.

The entire magnificent four is a mobile group whose members often change their work and sphere of activity, but are united by the desire to innovate. Who knows, maybe they will become the elite of the Italian banking business shortly?

Image courtesy of Analytics Insight

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