Finlombarda’s commitment to support financial innovation

Finlombarda Spa is the in-house public financial institution 100% owned by Lombardy Region and a financial intermediary supervised and authorised by the Bank of Italy. We interview Michele Vietti, Chairman of Finlombarda Spa, to know more about its fintech goals in the next months

This is the first time that a regional financial institution has joined Fintech District: what are the reasons that led you to become a corporate member?

Finlombarda Spa is the in-house public financial institution of Lombardy Region. Its mandate is to help promote the economic development of the regional territory through financing initiatives also in partnership with the banking system. We believe that this partnership should also extend to fintech operators and it is with this in mind that we have joined Fintech District. To start and maintain a constant dialogue with market operators active in fintech credit in order to develop new internal skills and new products that can also use the most innovative financial services: these are priority objectives for us. The use of new technologies today represents an important opportunity both for the management of the liquidity emergency of businesses in the post-Covid19 and to restart by looking to the future. The recent initiatives promoted by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti with the opening of the territorial office in Milan and the new accelerator for fintech and insurtech startups, and that of Bank of Italy with the fintech hub, confirm that partnership with the sector is a way forward to develop products that facilitate access to credit for firms, even those of smaller size and in the start-up phase.

Finlombarda and fintech: have you already launched projects of this kind?

In June of last year we opened a public call addressed to all economic operators looking for innovative and technologically advanced solutions in the areas of supply chain and inventory financing. The call was answered by 16 operators who proposed as many intervention hypotheses with the direct involvement of the regional finance company. A financial product is now being studied that will make use of the application of advanced technologies and the collaboration of market operators. The choice of offering alternative financing options for SMEs and Mid Caps is not new to us. Examples of this are minibond and basket bond for the growth programs in Italy and abroad and the establishment of an alternative investment fund called Credito F.A.C.I.L.E. to facilitate easier and faster access to credit for micro, small and medium enterprises and professionals in Lombardy.

Is Finlombarda active in open innovation? If yes, with which projects?

Finlombarda promotes open innovation processes on the regional platform Open Innovation, a collaborative environment that counts more than 20 thousand participants among companies, research centers, public administrations and citizens. We are convinced that for SMEs collaborating and confronting each other increases the competitiveness and helps to restart. In particular, we support SMEs and start-ups in the launch of local, national and international ‘open challenges’, which aim to involve the best skills of the territory and seek innovative solutions to business projects in different areas, from manufacturing 4.0 to cybersecurity and greentech, and in the presentation of initiatives that respond to social, environmental and economic challenges for the achievement of the UN 2030 goals for sustainable development. In addition, as coordinator of Simpler (Enterprise Europe Network), Finlombarda offers free guidance and specialized support services for innovation management, participation in European research and innovation programs, protection of intellectual property, identification of business and technology partners for research projects and technology transfer around the world, contact with investors interested in financing the projects of assisted companies. For 2021, specific services are planned to support the ‘green transition’ of companies and the access to the new European research and innovation investment programme Horizon Europe. Finally, in the framework of Smart Specialisation strategy for Lombardy (RIS3) 2021 – 2027, open innovation and collaboration with Fintech contribute to the strengthening of Lombardy’s research and innovation system.

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BCG: interview with Carlo Bravin

BCG has joined our fintech community as a corporate member. Carlo Bravin, Principal of Boston Consulting Group, tells how this company has approached the sector, gives an overview of the situation in the Italian market and reveals some of the objectives of its entry into Fintech District.

How would you describe the transformation taking place in the financial sector?

In the last few years, financial institutions have undergone numerous waves of transformation: from rethinking their capital structure to a new interest rate scenario.
In just a few years, financial institutions have had to start rethinking their way of doing business. At the same time, consumers have also changed and have become increasingly distant from the typical range of products and services offered by financial institutions. Think, for instance, of how today’s consumers think of Amazon, Google and Netflix as examples and benchmarks of service, ubiquitous and highly personalized. All in all, digital has become a fundamental part of the banks’ strategy and I think it will remain fundamental in the years to come.

What’s happening with the arrival of fintech and big tech?

In this context of change, new players have emerged in the value chain: fintechs. They have shown that they are able to innovate and respond to customer needs in a much more effective and efficient way than financial institutions. From payments to insurance to wealth management, a multitude of new players have emerged everywhere. Just think that since 2010 they have grown from a few hundred to more than 10,000 companies. In the meantime, the capital injected into these companies has also increased exponentially, reaching more than 120 billion euros in recent years. We believe that this phenomenon is extremely important for financial institutions. It also shows how banks and other entities are injecting more and more capital into this sector, going from 5% to over 50% of the capital available these companies in a few years.

What is BCG’s role and why did you choose to join the Fintech District?

At BCG, we help major financial institutions transform and innovate. We do this with numerous approaches: from leading discussions on the world’s major technology hubs; to building innovation startup ecosystems; to using our data analytics or venturing companies. I believe that the Fintech District is a natural partner and a powerful resource for the entire context of Italian financial institutions.

What are the objectives for this membership and your contribution?

At BCG, we want to play our part in three different ways. First, by bringing our perspective as strategic advisors and innovation experts. We have always supported the world’s leading financial institutions in transforming and innovating. As experts in innovation, we continuously track the evolution of the fintech sector through a permanent institution. Secondly, we want to open up our international network to the community. Italy is at the head of the Mediterranean region, which also includes Israel, where we have a technology hub with more than 500 companies already collaborating with us.
Finally, we want to bring our talents to Fintech District and make sure that we not only enhance our skills and our capabilities but at the same time we are also enriched.

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Societe Generale becomes a corporate member of Fintech District

Societe Generale becomes a corporate member of the Fintech District to contribute to the development of the Italian fintech ecosystem.

It is the first international bank to join the community with more than 100 fintech players

Societe Generale, one of the leading European financial services groups, and Fintech District, the key fintech community created to feed an ecosystem to support the growth and evolution of the technological and financial system, sign a partnership aimed at generating even greater value for the vibrant Italian fintech industry.

Societe Generale’s entry in the Fintech District community as a “Corporate Member” will offer to the entire ecosystem significant opportunities for the development of fintech projects capable of supporting the digital transformation of the financial sector in Italy.

This important partnership further expands the effectiveness and internationalization of the Fintech District’s community, created in September 2017 with the aim of bringing together startups, entrepreneurs, financial institutions, investors and universities by setting up a network in favour of business and cultural contamination. Societe Generale is the first international bank to join this dynamic network, which has grown from 32 to 110 fintech companies in the last 20 months.

Societe Generale contributes more and more actively to the country’s innovation, providing, thanks to its knowledge of the financial markets and of the custodian banking industry, the concrete expertise of its innovative Fintech incubator based in Paris, the Global Markets Incubator, and its know-how in data management and protection. To make its contribution even more effective, Societe Generale’s Italian structure will also make available its team dedicated to Innovation, which has the task of facilitating business transformation through the contribution of digital skills in coordination with the international structures of the Group.

The decision to become a partner of Fintech District confirms Societe Generale’s attention towards Italian Fintech and is part of the wider process of innovation and digital transformation that the Group is carrying out at a global level, to offer its customers increasingly advanced and effective services.

Alessandro Gumier, Head of Global Banking and Investor Solutions for Societe Generale in Italy says: “With this partnership, we want to actively contribute to the development of the Italian Fintech ecosystem by providing startups with our expertise to help them develop their ideas and transform them into innovative services. Fintech is contributing to shaping the future of the financial industry – closely following its developments and supporting the best projects are essential steps to be able to develop innovative solutions at the service of our customers. The partnership with the Fintech District will allow us to combine our strengths with qualified Fintech companies to rapidly develop innovative solutions, in a perspective of co-construction, for the benefit of our customers.”

Alessandro Longoni, Head of Fintech District says: “We are proud to welcome Societe Generale, the first international bank to become a member of the Fintech District community. At the same time, we recognize how significant a step this partnership represents for this important financial group in the local implementation of its innovation strategy and to assume a role of growing importance on the Italian territory. Societe Generale’s entry not only offers added value to the entire community but also consolidates Fintech District’s position both nationally and internationally, as a reference player for developing concrete Open Innovation projects with the world of finance.”

Societe Generale
Societe Generale is one of the leading European financial services groups. Based on a diversified and integrated banking model, the Group combines financial strength and proven expertise in innovation with a strategy of sustainable growth, aiming to be the trusted partner for its clients, committed to the positive transformations of society and the economy.
Active in the real economy for over 150 years, with a solid position in Europe and connected to the rest of the world, Societe Generale has over 147,000 members of staff in 67 countries and supports on a daily basis 31 million individual clients, businesses and institutional investors around the world by offering a wide range of advisory services and tailored financial solutions. The Group is built on three complementary core businesses:
French Retail Banking, which encompasses the Societe Generale, Crédit du Nord and Boursorama brands. Each offers a full range of financial services with omnichannel products at the cutting edge of digital innovation;
International Retail Banking, Insurance and Financial Services to Corporates, with networks in Africa, Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and specialised businesses that are leaders in their markets;
Global Banking and Investor Solutions, which offers recognised expertise, key international locations and integrated solutions.
Societe Generale has included in the principal socially responsible investment indices: DJSI (World and Europe), FTSE4Good (Global and Europe), Euronext Vigeo (World, Europe and Eurozone), four of the STOXX ESG Leaders indices, and the MSCI Low Carbon Leaders Index.

Fintech District
Fintech District is the gateway to the Italian Fintech ecosystem and attracts the most relevant national and international stakeholders, acting like the team that allows you to co-create with the industry’s startups. In the Fintech District community, there are currently over 100, there are also numerous collaborations developed with public institutions, investors, professionals, financial institutions, international innovation hubs, universities and corporations.

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CRIF joined FD: interview with Enrico Lodi

CRIF has joined our community as a corporate member. We interviewed the Managing Director Enrico Lodi who illustrated the goals of the partnership with Fintech District and the activities carried out by this company specialized in credit bureau and business information, outsourcing and processing services, and credit solutions. Here’s what he told us.

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For over 30 years CRIF has been helping its partners in making the right decisions, through a unique mix of business knowledge, information and cutting-edge technology. This company has continuous innovation, the use of the most advanced technologies and a deep information management culture in its DNA as intrinsic characteristics. These are the elements that also distinguish the significant investments in research and development that CRIF makes every year.

CRIF is now a global company with 70 companies present in more than 30 countries and active with its teams of specialists in dozens of other countries found in 4 continents.

To meet the challenges of digital transformation, CRIF operates as a Digital Aggregator able to provide added value to all those involved in the new ecosystem.

The objective of CRIF is, in fact, to operate effectively and efficiently to support the players of different markets, improving the experience of their customers – families and businesses – through services that anticipate their needs quickly and easily.

CRIF was also mentioned in 2018, for the sixth consecutive year, in the prestigious IDC FinTech ranking, coming at 35th place in the world and the top spot among Italian companies. This is a further confirmation of the constant commitment and quality of its solutions, which allow it to support its customers every day in their growth process.

CRIF, in line with its strategies and growth guidelines, has chosen to collaborate with Fintech District, one of the most advanced international fintech hubs, to facilitate the meeting with fintech startups and develop projects that offer the market high-performance and innovative digital solutions in B2C and B2B2C segments.

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