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An unlikely banker applies an outsider’s perspective to digital

This article draws from one of the 15 interviews we conducted for our just-released report, “The Banking Heads of Digital Report: 15 Leaders on Priorities, Challenges, and Opportunities.”

The unlikely banker: Matt Turner, head of digital at HSBC UK, has “jumped industries many times,” holding leadership positions at both multinational companies and startups, many of them sitting in the marketing space—including stints at American Express, RetailMeNot (a retail coupon and savings service), and most recently, IWG (a global workspace company).

“I really don’t consider myself much of a banker,” he said. “I haven’t made my way up through the ranks.”

Those experiences, he said, have given him the “ability to recognize patterns and apply solutions faster and easier” than someone without an outsider’s perspective. After four-and-a-half years at HSBC, he’s still getting a solid grasp on banking. “I still feel like I have a lot to learn about the industry,” he said.

With HSBC’s mobile experience at par, Turner is looking ahead. He feels that HSBC’s mobile experience is finally on the same level as other high-street banks and fintechs—an area where he says it has been playing catch-up over the last several years.

Now the channel is “absolutely at the center of everything that we’re doing across the bank,” he says. Looking forward, he shared, the bank is “focusing quite a lot more on wealth [management] and insurance, and specifically how that manifests itself in the mobile experience.”

Personalization and embedded banking are top-of-mind for the future. Zooming out three to five years to long-term strategic priorities, Turner noted how “getting to a one-to-one level of personalization is definitely a focus for us.”

One step HSBC is taking to further this strategy, he says, is embedding its banking solutions in non-financial customer interactions to engage with customers where they prefer to spend their time—such as shopping or booking a holiday—to drive revenue and enrich interactions with the bank. That, he says, is “taking the legwork out—obviously, where we have permission to do so—of our customers’ day-to-day in how they bank.”