Intesa Sanpaolo’s attempts to move thousands of customers to online banking only will be the subject of policing by Italy’s central bank, the country’s government announced yesterday (18 October).

Banca D’Italia has received complaints about the scheme that aims to prioritise Intesa’s in-store access for its high-value customers by moving up to four million customers who already only use its digital banking services to a new platform.

Isybank is a cloud-based mobile bank developed with British cloud banking company Thought Machine, and Intesa is betting big on the move. It reports that €650m ($686m) of the €5bn allocated to technology and growth between 2022 and 2025 has been allocated to the new project.

Banca D’Italia has contacted Intesa to ensure that adequate notice was given on the move and that it provided an opt-out should customers have wanted it.

The news continues the Meloni government’s antagonistic relationship with Italian banks following the shock announcement of a windfall tax on profits in August. Though the decision was later rowed back on, share prices remain depressed compared to the pre-announcement peak. Intesa is down 4.66% over the last six months at the time of writing.

Opinions are split in the European market about the value of digital-only banking. GlobalData’s 2021 Beyond the Hype: Insight into Digital Challenger Banks report found that 64% of Europeans prefer traditional banks for current and savings accounts, slightly higher than the global average of 59%. However, 43% believed that digital banks offer better rates than traditional offerings.

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Given that the Isybank move is for now aimed at users who are already only using digital banking services, though, it is likely that there is more support for digital banking among its target audience.

Digitalisation also remains a key concern of financial services providers, with GlobalData company filings database suggesting that four of the top ten most talked about themes in filings are focused on the topic. Digital banking was the eighth most talked about industry concern in 2022.

Our signals coverage is powered by GlobalData’s Disruptor data, which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors. These signals help us to uncover key innovation areas in the sector and the themes that drive them. They tell us about the topics on the minds of business leaders and investors and indicate where leading companies are focusing their investment, deal-making and R&D efforts.