After a year of massive disruption, the 2021 Efma-Accenture Banking Innovation Awards will recognize the latest innovations transforming the industry.

The Efma-Accenture Banking Innovation Awards have been a catalyst for innovation in banking since their inception in 2013. Since then, I look forward to them every year as the industry rewards and celebrates innovation. After a pause in 2020 due to COVID-19, this year’s ceremony brings even more anticipation.

I have discussed Growth Markets and COVID-19 resilience in my previous posts, focusing on the future of digitised banking and steps to outmanoeuvre uncertainty. As the industry prepares to acknowledge our innovation leaders, we also recognize the massive disruption that influenced this year’s submissions. I watched the banking industry find opportunity in the disruption and continue to drive change even in the most unpredictable of times. I’m excited to see more cutting-edge work showcased by banks around the world.

Before the next round of winners receive their awards, it’s worth highlighting the ways this global competition continues to inspire the industry. For example, the Global Loyalty Network from South Korea’s KEB Hana Bank claimed gold in the 2019 Offering Innovation category. This global payment hub enables each country’s financial institutions or payment service companies to share merchants’ networks, user bases and loyalty programmes. It allows users to use e-wallets to make payments, remittance and ATM withdrawals overseas without installing a separate app. As global travel re-opens, we will continue to see this innovation play a significant role in our lives.

Another innovation of note is the winner from the 2019 Phygital Distribution & Experience category, Krungsri Digital Homeloan. This was the first bank in Thailand to offer a mortgage application submission channel and real-time status updates to property developers and prospective customers. It disrupted the common “price war” mortgage competition between banks. Customer service was improved through the Di-Sales (digital sales mobile application) tool that delivered bank staff support to customers anytime and anywhere.

And then there was Turkey’s Akbank with its silver-award-winning robotic process automation that upgraded the 24-hour-operational “robots” to “co-bots”, a new kind of colleague. Co-bots were designed to complete a triggered task or process only after human involvement. This new co-bot working relationship allows human employees to focus on complex services along with customer interactions. Banks like Akbank are continuing to find new ways to support the valued customer experience while assigning key processes, such as back office tasks, to sophisticated, automated systems.

These examples are only a glimpse into the rewards of innovation. If you’d like to learn more about the competition, visit our site. I would also encourage you to submit your most innovative projects today. The 2021 deadline for submissions is 24 September.

I look forward to celebrating an evening of innovation with you at the Efma-Accenture Banking Innovation Awards on 18 November – virtually, if not actually in-person.