What is the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on a digital bank as Keytrade Bank ?

May 20, 2020

Since the lockdown, confinement and home working for non-essential jobs have been strongly encouraged by governments, and widely accepted by employees. But how have banks managed, and what long term consequences might the crisis have on working conditions?

Our Head of Professional Services, Ken Van Eesbeek has interviewed Thierry Ternier CEO of Keytrade Bank.

Impact of Covid-19 on the bank organisation

Thierry pointed out that being a digital bank, it was business as usual for Keytrade, as employees was quite used to working remotely with their clients. While a small number is still operating from the office, 97% of staff is remote.

Is homeworking new for the bank?

Thierry: “Keytrade had never done it before. Some people work from home time to time. Quite recently,18 months ago, we started introducing an Agile way of working. So, as you know, you have all those ceremonies (like stand-up meetings) that this way of working implies. To be honest, I had a certain concern on how this would work in the current situation. But also, from this side we have very positive feedback from the teams. Some run teams where we see important gains in efficiency.

Now, how could you explain this? Perhaps that people are much more concentrated when they were working at home I don’t know, but these are facts, and to be honest, we didn’t anticipate this. We thought it would be much tougher to put in place.”

Did you observe a raise of the interactivity with the customers the bank?

“The first days, Keytrade saw a peak in interactions with the customer and we had a very heavy load on the contact center. As you know we are a digital bank, so this means we have no branches, so everything is concentrated through the digital channels or telephone. Everything came back to normal levels of activities so we can go on like this for quite a while, I would say.”

Have you gained new customers during this Covid-19 period? 

“What we have seen is very sharp increase of new customers coming in. Although we practically stopped all communication for the time being, we still have very high number of new people, customers coming in. This is of course very much related to the stock markets as you know, an important activity of Keytrade is being digital stockbroker and in this activity, we have seen a huge increase of trading by the customers. And when I say huge increase, I’m talking about times 3 – times 4. So that’s very important.”

Have you observed a change of the investment behavior of the customers of the bank? 

We have our trading activities and then we also have our investing activities where we offer easy to understand investing products.  We have our KEYPLAN but also our KEYPRIVATE, a discretionary asset management solution that we put in place with you at Gambit.

Well we see indeed a lot of new money coming in currently that’s very much the case. So, there I would say that people are quite confident.  These times might be very good entry levels.”

What would be the new normal for the bank after this Covid-19 crisis?  

Well, I think the ways of communicating, the ways that we will do business will be very different. I think now for Keytrade, as you know, we were born in the digital world 22 years ago. So, the way that we work currently, well this will not change dramatically. As we have been doing it since we started.

What we will see probably is the communication that we have in place with our customers. We will accelerate the use of technologies like video conferencing tools (something we are doing right now). Well to be honest, I’m very much impressed by the quality of those tools. 3-4 years ago, that did not exist. How you can interact now, in a very natural way with your customer, well, I think that this is what people want us to do. So probably this will stay. We will put video conferencing tools and other digital communication tools in place much more than we have currently.”