The digital channels subsidiary of ABN AMRO, MoneYou,
has carved a successful niche in its domestic market in the
Netherlands since launching a broad range of retail banking
services in 2008. As Frank Verkerk, CEO of MoneYou, tells Douglas
Blakey, it is looking to repeat its Dutch success in


Photo of Frank Verkerk, CEO of MoneYou As
retail banking country launches go, five months is pretty good

Frank Verkerk, CEO of MoneYou told
RBI: “We knew we wanted to have ready in a
short timeframe.

“Considering the excellent job
Callataÿ & Wouters did in 2008 for’s launch, it was
clear for us to partner up with them again. We were proven right –
in less than five months, the Thaler software platform was
completely implemented and ready to go.”

ABN AMRO established the MoneYou
brand in the Netherlands in 2001 but it was 2008 before it really
upped the ante by augmenting its original focus on selling
mortgages over the internet.

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“Since 2008, the focus in the
Netherlands has moved to offer a broad range of retail banking
services with our target audience defined as those self-directed
customers capable and willing to find information themselves and
make decisions themselves.

“I was convinced that self-directed
customers were underserved in the Dutch market as the big retail
banks in that market have traditionally focused on advice service
via their branch networks.

“And secondly, in the Dutch market,
ING is not perhaps as strong as it may be in other countries.”

According to Verkerk, the changing
environment in the Dutch market also offered a good opportunity to
launch the MoneYou service.

As for the choice of Germany for
its first international drive, Verkerk pointed to a number of
strong arguments in support of that market.

“Having built our experience in
internet retail banking and built a base on the mobile and online
moneyou logochannels and utilised social media, we were
looking for an opportunity to expand outside Holland,” he said.

“It did not take us long to decide
on Germany as our second market.

“I was convinced that there was a
ready market to target in Germany of customers whose cultural
behaviour is similar to Dutch customers.

“We did a lot of research here – we
found that German consumers were most similar to Dutch consumers
when it comes to internet behaviour and banking behaviour.”

Above all, argues Verkerk, German
customers feel comfortable with the way MoneYou markets its

Looked at from the cultural
perspective, the German culture is, says Verkerk, closer to the
Dutch culture than, for example, Belgium and Belgians.

Screen shot of the moneyou appThere was also the economic
reason that Germany is the largest savings market in Europe.

“And last, but not least, the
capabilities we have built, especially when it comes to things we
can do via tablets and smart phones and the relevance of our offer,
means there was momentum picking up to expand into Germany,” he


Social media

MoneYou has made extensive use of Twitter as a channel for
customer service in the past 18 months and is now ramping up its
activity on Facebook.

“I would say that Facebook was not
our main social media priority until this year. It would be a good
thing to keep track of what we will be doing on Facebook – that is
high on the agenda,” said Verkerk.

At the time of its German debut
last September, MoneYou offered two saving accounts, an instant
access product and a six month term savings product.

By contrast the product range is
wider in the Netherlands and covers mortgages, investment products
and a variety of savings products and consumer loans.

“We may expand the product range a
little in Germany. The focus is more on expanding product related
services and developing social media capabilities,” Verkerk

“I am convinced that we can do more
than just being present on Facebook.”

MoneYou’s savings app, for example,
is an on-device application that delivers a feature-rich saving
experience with advanced capabilities for the management of savings
accounts, including:

  • unique and innovative saving
    assistance, enabling customers to allocate funds into their own
    personal savings goals, such as ‘holiday’, ‘car purchase’, ‘study
    fund’, and allowing them to upload their own personal photographs
    for each goal;
  • the ability to calculate
    when a savings goal is reached and what the impact of a monthly
    saving will be;
  • the ability to set e-mail
    reminders when customers reach X percentage of savings
  • the ability to open online
    savings accounts (paperless) through the mobile application within
    24 hours; and
  • the ability to share savings
    goals with friends via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Verkerk added: “Anyone trying out
one of ours apps, for example, will see we have made a lot of
effort in adding services around a fairly basic savings

Verkerk is especially upbeat about
the strong customer satisfaction metrics that MoneYou is

“In Holland, we are one of the few
banks with a high net promoter score – we really do score strongly
on customer advocacy.

“We are very transparent in making
public what our customers think of us.”

Verkerk is quick to pay tribute to
Callatay & Wouters part in the bank’s launch into the German

“I was very happy with the speed of
the implementation. Callatay can be proud of the speed of this

“In these types of projects, there
is a need to set up integrated teams with the bank and the
technology partner working together on creating a very focused

“It was extra special really given
that this was the first project in Germany for Callatay.

“Direct banking is high on
Callatay’s management agenda and in a number of areas, we have the
same vision as them in developing new services.

“On a management and strategic
level, the fit between the bank and Callatay is quite close and
that has meant we have been able to help each other.”

In terms of segmentation, Verkerk
bristles at any attempt to segment the market in traditional terms
such as mass market or mass affluent.

“I would not discuss segments in
the way that you describe,” he said. “Yes, our market approach is a
mass retail approach but the target market audience is a sell
directed audience and that slices through mass market and mass

“We attract customers from the
perspective that these people make their decisions themselves. We
have a lot of customers who are wealthy and also attract customers
who have few transactions.”

MoneYou’s mobile banking channel
operates across the most popular platforms, Apple, Blackberry,
Windows and Android and has also been developed for the tablet.

“For the tablet, it all depends on
the platform so if it is Apple, you need to develop something
specifically for a tablet and we did so,” Verkerk said.

“We developed it in such a way that
everything that we offer online is offered on smartphones and on
the tablet.

“To my surprise customers use the
mobile and tablet devices to begin the customer relationship so in
the Netherlands, you can actually open a savings account with
MoneYou on the mobile phone.”


No to current

One area that MoneYou will not
expand its offering is into current accounts. It is does not offer
a current account and Verkerk is adamant that it has no need to do

“I am convinced that there are a
lot of possibilities in the way we look at the market,” he

“In the next 5 to 10 years – I am
convinced we can do without a current account.

“At end of the day I am convinced
MoneYou is much stronger in its offering when it does not offer
current accounts in their traditional form.

“Being a web-based bank – and after
more than three years’ experience we have accumulated a lot of
knowledge – I can see great potential without offering a current

Notable areas of product innovation
include an execution-only mortgage account in the Netherlands, a
novelty in the Netherlands.

In contrast to ABN AMRO’s
Dutch-based rivals ING and Rabobank making use of the parent brand
to promote direct banking subsidiaries ING Direct and RaboDirect,
Verkerk said it was an easy choice to depart from the parent brand
for MoneYou.

“The ABN AMRO brand has a lot to do
with branch and advice oriented services,” he said.

“If we did not use a different
brand, customers would get lost and people might think that we
offer advice and we do not. We operate in a different part of the
market and not using the ABN AMRO brand has proven to be the right

“We attract different customers to those of ABN AMRO.”


Callataÿ & Wouters
agrees deal with Sopra

On 16 February, Callataÿ
& Wouters signed an agreement with the banking software
business of France’s Sopra Group. The product offering of the new
group will consist of Callataÿ & Wouters’ flagship Thaler
solution, augmented with Sopra Group’s Evolan software

Callataÿ & Wouters CEO
Marc De Groote said: “The combined size, expertise, customer base
and know-how of the new company will allow us to achieve a
strategic leadership position in Europe.

“Our expanded scope,
including a workforce of 1,200 people and an aggregate reference
list of hundreds of customers worldwide, will also enable us to
serve our markets better.

“At the same time, we keep
all strengths that Callataÿ & Wouters already had, and are
determined to continue our 100% implementation track

De Groote added: “We will
base our integration especially on business opportunities where we
see the synergy between Thaler and Evolan.

“What is especially important
here is that Callataÿ & Wouters and Sopra Group banking
software business share a company culture in general, and have a
lot of values in common when it comes down to customer focus and
dedication in particular.”

De Groote will be one of the
principal directors of the new entity, while Callataÿ & Wouters
founders Didier de Callataÿ and Godefroid de Wouters will also be
part of the new board of directors.

Banks’ appetite to invest in
their direct banking channel has paid off for Callataÿ &
Wouters, with the vendor kicking off around half a dozen new direct
bank projects last year.

Among such projects, De
Groote was particularly enthusiastic about the deal with MoneYou,
its first such contract win in Germany.

De Groote, told RBI:
“The deal marks Germany as another strategic country in Europe
where Thaler is now adopted. But it is also an important reminder
that satisfied customers are the best guarantee for continued

“Without the successful foundation we laid with, might have turned out totally