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Designing accessibility

UniCredit takes initiatives to support banking for the elderly.

Photo of Tanvi Sinha
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In the fall of 2014, the CEO of UniCredit, an Italian banking and financial services institution, called upon the senior officials of the company to brainstorm over making their services more accessible and designing better products for the aging population. They were looking to understand the challenges faced by this naturally expanding market, and also consider them as a source of opportunity for better business.

They set up a special committee within the organization to see the ideas to fruition, and a couple of initiatives were taken in separate departments. The investment advisory business trained 2000 of its staff as home-visit relationship managers, which alleviated the need for the aged to physically visit a bank, or even use an app, which they might find complicated.

In the wealth management department, the staff was trained to focus on the extended families of their aged customers so that the chances that their children or grandchildren might become important clients, increases.

According to UN’s global population forecasts, the population over 65 is set to double in just 25 years. As the world’s average age shifts to the 50+ side slowly, there will be greater need to save more money for retirement, healthcare etc. The asset management industry will hence, expand to almost double by 2020, according to PwC.


What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Banking institutions adapting towards this natural shift not only benefits the elderly, but also the financial industry, as a whole.

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I'm pursuing Master's in Electrical Engineering at NYU's Tandon School of Engineering.

Specifically, please check all that apply:

  • I'm not currently involved in a credit union, but am curious to learn more!


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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Very interesting insight Tanvi. I like how UniCredit decided to go for high human touch for its older customers. I was also curious about your point about the focus on extended families. Can you explain more? You might want to add the link to the source where you found this information. Thanks! You might also want to check Hasan's post as it proposes other non-digital versions to increase accessibility. Feel free to connect your two posts. 

Photo of Tanvi Sinha

As per my interpretation, the wealth management staff was trained to build relationships with not only the core customer, but also explore financial services for the customer’s family members. This concept can be compared to a refer your friends program, but in a more tailored and personal way for the target customers. The success of this program is based on the premise that the children or grandchildren of the aged customer are engaged, or at the very least, interested in their financial planning. Since this example is from Italy, I am assuming that families may be more closely knit. It may not be uncommon for parents and children to be staying together, or at least be actively involved in personal goals of the family members. Keeping this cultural significance in mind, one can draw the inference that family ties and network might play a key role in recommending UniCredit’s financial services to the extended family.
From a business perspective, it makes sense to sell a bigger portfolio of solutions to the aged customer and the extended family. For instance, State Farm insurance would love to sell its customers car insurance, but also sell homeowners insurance to them. The intent is to cross-sell and build switching costs because of the concept of network effects.

Link to the article:

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Tanvi for this clarification. Interesting idea to think of the family as the unit rather than focusing on individual customers. 
As a side note, you can maybe update your post to insert the link so that everyone can easily access the article. 

Photo of Kate Rushton

Interestingly all of my family use the same cellphone network provider to ensure that we can all talk for free. I also deliberately bought my Mum the same cell phone as mine and on the same contract to ensure that I could always help her out with her queries. We also bank at the same bank. The list goes on, but it gives me 'piece of mind' to know we are using the same companies and technologies. 

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