A.When Ulrich Coenen made the professional change from a former telecom manager and independent management consultant to a permanent banker six years ago, he quickly thought it was a mistake. “I was soon sure: digital attackers, whether big techs like Amazon or young fintechs, would quickly establish themselves and grab a lot of income from traditional banks.”
But Coenen said today that he was wrong about his swan song for traditional banks. “Despite the increasing use of apps, many people clearly see great value in having a bank and contact person on site.” Is someone here singing the song of the person who pays them their bread? The idea is obvious, but it’s not that simple. Because Coenen is someone who drives change in the banks with digital sales ideas.
After a good five years as head of the Commerzbank division for digital transformation and sales management, the 47-year-old Coenen switched to the board of Fiducia & Gad just four months ago. Coenen is responsible for digital solutions in the IT service provider of the cooperative banking group. Observers can easily understand Coenen’s move from Commerzbank, as moving to the Board of Management means a career step for him.
Worst grade in the core area
On the other hand, Fiducia & Gad is not in good shape: In 2018, the banking supervisory authority identified serious deficiencies (“Findings”) in a special audit. According to information from the F.A.Z., the supervisory authority assigned an “F4”, the worst deficiency grade. not, as in most banks, for peripheral issues such as authorization management, but for Fiducia’s core functions such as processes for interaction with the connected local banks. “The F4 of the supervision was less about software development, but more about IT governance,” says Coenen. “We work through the findings very quickly, and the supervisors are very benevolent. More than half of the findings will have been processed by the end of the year, ”says Coenen.
Nonetheless, it was irritating to observers that Fiducia had not filled the “application development” department on the board for a long time, despite the oversight’s list of deficiencies. It was not until October 1, 2020 that Daniela Bücker, who had been with Fiducia since moving from Accenture in 2007 and was most recently General Manager, was appointed to the board. Coenen will need functioning banking solutions in order to achieve his goal: “Make the customer interface more digital.” Coenen has all sorts of ideas for this. But even he has already recognized that the interaction with customers is not easy.
All the cooperative heterogeneity
Fiducia & Gad was unable to hold the largest cooperative bank, the pharmacists and doctors’ bank, in 2017 because they could not offer it ECB-compatible software until 2021. Fiducia & Gad was and is obviously still too busy with the merger of the two data centers Fiducia (Karlsruhe) and Gad (Münster) in 2015. In contrast to the financial information technology of the savings banks, which almost exclusively serves savings banks with its OS plus system, Fiducia & Gad has all the cooperative heterogeneity among its customers: Volksbanks and Raiffeisenbanks (including those from the north that were previously served by Gad ), PSD banks, Sparda banks and private banks.
“It is not entirely easy to serve this variety. With the core banking process Agree 21, we have a tool kit with tools that the banks can use. However, this actually intelligent construct has its limits in the digital world, ”says Coenen. “We have therefore decided to disentangle the monolithic core banking system and develop it further into an open, modular platform.”