Interview with Harald Meinl, CEO and co-founder of baningo
Today we are sharing the story behind baningo – a digital platform enabling financial advice accessible online. “…baningo combines the advantages of the online world – such as accessibility, convenience, and efficiency with the individual, personal advice and service of the offline world”. Another very good example of synergy between established players and FinTech companies. We have talked to Harald Meinl, CEO and co-founder of baningo to find out what “self-determined banking approach” is and how it can benefit every single user out there…
Tell us about your background.
Hey, my name is Harald Meinl. I studied business and law in Salzburg and Amsterdam. I have been working in different banks holding various positions for several years – mainly in Treasury, Trading and Risk Management. I have also worked for startups where I could develop an entrepreneurial spirit.
Why did you choose to become a FinTech entrepreneur?
It has always been one of my dreams to become an entrepreneur. FinTech was kind of obvious as my partner Max Nedjelik and I have a strong finance background.
Can you pitch your company in 5 words?
Making financial advice accessible online.
Make an overview of your business. What’s unique about the solution you provide?
We make financial advisors from different banks accessible online. Customers choose at baningo their preferred advisors on their own, and can contact them directly online. This allows customers to get the best financial advice and makes it easier to compare different offers.
We also created a white label solution of https://www.baningo.com. It is called baningo-select. This Saas product enables banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions to provide online advice to customers. Baningo-select includes advisor profiles, advisor search, chat, video-call function, online appointments and comprehensive statistics for internal sales control.
What is the scale of the problem you are solving?
baningo combines the advantages of the online world – such as accessibility, convenience, and efficiency with the individual, personal advice and service of the offline world.
Why is that important?
In the financial industry the so-called ROPO effect (Research Online, Purchase Offline) is predominant. More and more customers, only search for information about the bank’s services and products online. However, the majority of them, around 65 % want and need personal advice – especially for complex financial topics and subsequently sign their contracts offline.
Moreover, we offer a really self-determined banking approach, that’s new! Customers decide about the ABCD of their preferred banking:
- advisor (who is a good match for me)
- bank (where is my favorite bank and branch)
- channel (how do I want to communicate)
- date/time (when do I want to get in touch)
Describe the competitive landscape for your company?
Our business concept is unique in Austria. That is the reason why we have no direct competitor. In a broader sense, we compete with price comparison platforms, traditional banks, and insurance companies.
What is the anticipated impact of your solution on the Ecosystem?
We make financial advice comparable and increase the transparency for consumers. As a result, it helps customers to make sound financial decisions and save money. It also enhances the reputation of the finance industry.
How scalable is your cooperation with traditional financial institutions by far?
At the moment we are cooperating with 14 Austrian banks and make more than 100 of their advisors visible and accessible on an innovative and digital channel. The baningo partnership works both for small banks such as regional Raiffeisenbank as well as big ones such as Unicredit Bank Austria. We are delighted that our cooperation network is still growing so that we can provide best fitting advisors for everyone.
What are your next big goals?
Our next big goal is growing, growing, and growing, making baningo the no. 1 place for financial advice in Austria. With baningo-select we are going to expand into Germany.
Can you name top 3 FinTech startups that contributed to the ecosystem most?
Wikifolio is a great social trading platform from Austria which revolutionizes the way people invest money.
Figo since they are forerunners of API-based services in the finance industry.
N26 increased the attention for finTech in Austria and Germany.
What is your 1-2 years outlook for the FinTech space?
There will be, of course, a huge consolidation in the next couple of years. No matter if payments, lending, investing, blockchain, personal finance management or data/infrastructure – we will have one or two “heroes” out there, becoming really big companies. They will buy competitors and profit from the network effect. Other FinTechs will get bought by banks and other companies and just a few will stay SME companies, servicing a niche market.
I do not think that we will see a big disruptor in banking, like Airbnb in accommodation or Uber in transportation, but each FinTech segment has its new players and everyone is waiting what the big 4 from the Valley will offer in the future!
About baningo: baningo provides excellent and user-centric turn-key as well as custom-tailored solutions and innovative approaches for the financial industry. baningo.com serves customers with a simple and consistent online access to banks and their advisors. baningo-select is a white label SaaS solution of the baningo.com platform which enables banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions to provide customers direct access to their advisors. baningo-select includes advisor profiles, advisor search, chat, video chat and online appointments.
About SDK.finance: SDK.finance solution combines a multi-product FinTech platform and a flagship marketplace for FinTech APIs. The FinTech platform enables financial institutions, banks, and major merchants to decrease CAPEX 90% and launch financial products 5-10 times faster comparing to the current industry standards. The first-of-its-kind marketplace of FinTech APIs brings together top-notch technology providers and existing best-in-class development tools to create unique FinTech products.